Tag Archives: The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Season 2 (so far)


The second season of AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead is taking a break until February 2011 (most likely coinciding with the return of Mad Men) and for the first time since the very first two episodes I’m excited. It only took seven or more episodes for The Walking Dead to actually get decent again, especially after the horribly embarrassing season one finale. I’m willing to suspend my belief and go along for a fantastic ride on most occasions (after all, we’re dealing with corpses rising and eating the living here) but believing the CDC is a time sensitive, thermonuclear device is ludicrous. Please, prove me wrong.
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The Road: A Second Evaluation


A coworker hired me to help her son with English – literature in particular. The kid is 15 and seems more interested in video games and slacking than learning anything from books so I have an upward battle ahead of me. We started with Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (I’ve had him read the first four graphic novels) and after each one I ask him a few simple questions. I know he’s entering the 10th grade and questions about critical theory are out but I’m still trying to make him understand simile, metaphor, allusion, and other terms any good American high school student should grasp. I did and I wasn’t even a good student until college.

I started the boy off on comic books because I figured he’d respond to these (and learn something in the process). Now I’m moving him up to literature and his first novel in this venture is Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I figured it would be a good read for a teenager – it’s bleak, interesting, like a zombie story (without the zombies), and a quick read. I read it again, to come up with questions, in about 12 hours. He still hasn’t answered any of those questions yet. However, last night I watched The Road again (it’s the third time now) and I still feel it’s a good adaptation of McCarthy’s Pulizter Prize winning novel.
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The Book of Eli


I’m uncertain whether it’s a penchant for witnessing humanity’s worst in action or seeing a portrait of our lot at its best but I’ve always had a soft spot for post-apocalyptic films. Watching the society I rely upon for my sustenance crumbled always makes for a good tale and over and over again I keep revisiting old post-apocalyptic films and searching out for new ones. Today I watched The Hughes Brothers film The Book of Eli – a post-apocalyptic film about the Bible. Although I didn’t think The Book of Eli was excellent I did enjoy it and felt the commentary about religion was powerful. After the 2009 release of The Road, adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s Pultizer Prize winning novel, it’s difficult to look at the genre without a sharp dose of criticism for anything that doesn’t compare. Unfortunately, The Book of Eli doesn’t come close to The Road but it’s still a decent piece of film and isn’t without merit.
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Authenticity in Post-Apocalyptic Visions: The Road and The Walking Dead

Man: “How would you know you’re the last man alive?”

Eli: “I guess you wouldn’t know it, you’d just be it.”

I’m watching The Road again. I saw it in the theater and was devastated; it’s a very grim movie, bleak in every way. In contrast to last night’s Walking Dead finale, The Road is great. Where Frank Darabont’s post-apocalyptic zombie series falls short, The Road is truly terrifying. Every moment is horrendous, imparting a gamut of emotions instantaneously. After last night’s disappointing Walking Dead episode, watching this film again reminds me of how powerful the post-apocalyptic genre can be.
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The Walking Dead episode 5

Episode 5: Wildfire

So I’m going to start my essay about episode 5 with a minor rant. I hope this doesn’t detract my piece, but, as a reader of the Walking Dead comics, I feel it necessary. The show is riffing along a different tangent at this point, taking elements from the comics, shaping them into a different beast altogether. This isn’t a bad thing. For a devoted reader it gives suspense. Nothing is predestined at this point and anything’s possible. Am I one of those people who dislike when liberties are taken with a quality text? Yes. Do I condone and even enjoy when liberties are taken? Yes. It’s not how unfaithful an adaptation is, it’s when the integrity of feeling of the original source disappears, like Robocop 2 or 3 being devoid of Paul Verhoeven’s dark brand of social comedy. A faithful representation isn’t important; it’s capturing what the original manuscript imparts. Any adaptation demonstrating this sentiment seems valid.
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The Walking Dead episode 4

Episode 4: “Vatos.”

At least I can say The Walking Dead series celebrates cultural diversity, even if a diverse racial medley embraces American stereotypes. This episode, called Vatos, features a Latino group holing up in a warehouse. When Rick, Glen, T-Dog, and Darryl trek back into Atlanta looking for Merle and a bag of guns, a run-in with the “vatos,” leads to a hostage situation and a stand-off. Instead of the situation culminating in bloodshed, Robert Kirkman’s teleplay reveals another humane survivor group – the “vatos” are maintaining an abandoned nursing home, looking after the elderly and indigent. Their tough exterior gives way, Rick donates some weapons, and a kidnapped Glen is released.  Here Kirkman’s episode demonstrates a positive outlook towards humanity; unfortunately it’s the last moment of stability the episode delivers.
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Further ruminations on The Walking Dead episode three

I really like Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. I wasn’t sure if I would at first, but three episodes in I’m quite satisfied. It has a cinematic feel, the acting is pretty good, and the casting isn’t all that bad (except Andrea, who looks about 35 instead of around 25 like in the comics). Last night’s episode, “Tell it to the Frogs,” was by far the least action packed episode yet, but it was still good. As I sat at my laptop with the replay running in the background I had a few complaints that I brought up in my first post, primarily involving Rick’s reunion with his family. I felt the scene was over the top, melodramatic, and the score was cheap and contrived – bringing to mind the sounds of a Hallmark commercial. The only thing missing was a singing card congratulating Rick and company on surviving the zombie apocalypse. This overtly saccharine moment, albeit necessary, is clichéd – lowering the standards set in the first two episodes and appealing to the lowest common denominator. Rick’s emotional outburst and Morgan’s tearful reluctance in the pilot episode were about as sappy, yet the score (reminding me of Apollo era Brian Eno) bridged together Morgan and Rick’s scene; it was the glue holding together a histrionic moment and plucking it out of the mundane. The reunion from last night’s episode missed the mark due to inept scoring, which can sometimes make or break a scene. In this instance it didn’t work.
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The Walking Dead episode 3

Episode three: “Tell it to the Frogs.”

“You take that stupid hat and go back to On Golden Pond.”

The episode begins on the department store roof from the second episode. From above the camera focuses in on Merle (Michael Rooker), handcuffed to a pipe. Merle has a problem: the keys fell down a drainpipe on the previous episode and the only thing separating him from a horde of zombies is a door barricaded with a lock and chain. Merle relates a story to himself, about punching somebody’s teeth out, the time he served for it; a look of genuine satisfaction on his face. This quickly turns sour, as Merle pleads to Jesus; acknowledging his past behavior but still begging for forgiveness. Merle’s going through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief originally discussed in the book On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Following Merle’s bargaining, depression sets in and finally leads to acceptance. This is where Merle’s survival instinct kicks in and he uses his belt, attempting to reach a saw left behind by T-Dog (IronE Singleton).

Unlike the prelude from the first two episodes, this episode doesn’t feature gratuitous sex or violence. That doesn’t negate how frightening the scene is, since Merle’s actions (wonderfully executed by Rooker) are quite honest; I’m sure the best of us would react similarly in the same spot. Seeing another person at their most vulnerable is awful, displaying how Frank Darabont’s rendition of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is a multi-faceted television series. It’s cinematic, explores many features of fear and terror, and investigates social issues. Instead of relying on non-stop action The Walking Dead is primarily a character piece, exploring character traits, morality, and the human experience. Of course an army of the living dead is an excellent catalyst for watching the show in the first place, but I’ve always found the people in zombie stories more fascinating than the gore itself. This week’s episode gives you just that. It’s a character piece, furthering the protagonist and surrounding players. The episode still features a good deal of violence, but it takes a back seat.
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The Walking Dead episode 2

Episode Two: “Guts”

“We need more guts.”

Although AMC’s The Walking Dead is thus far deviating from comics’ storyline, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The second episode starts out with a gratuitous sex scene between Lori, Rick’s wife, and Shane, Rick’s law enforcement partner and close friend. After Mad Men’s licentious oral sex scene from this past season, the graphic sexuality starting out this episode isn’t surprising; AMC is really pushing the envelope in regards to sex and violence, trying to imitate HBO. Amazingly, it’s working since most of AMC’s original shows are captivating and clever.
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The Walking Dead episode 1

I just finished watching the pilot episode of AMC’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic book series The Walking Dead and I’m impressed. The previews, played ad nauseam, looked good and even though the series is in color (where the book is black and white) and I had reservations regarding the show being on a basic cable network (due to the graphic violence in the comics), I was not disappointed. Directed by series producer Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile), the pilot episode generally follows the first few issues of Kirkman’s seminal comic book series. Creative liberties were taken with the episode, but the general plotline was kept.
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