It’s been a little while since I did an in-depth look at the differences between The Walking Dead and the comic book it is based on. As we near the end of season six, I thought it would be a good time to check in on the ways in which the TV show differs from its source material. Obviously, this article contains spoilers for past episodes of the show and the comic book.
This is the show we’re watching now. The writers are told to stretch 30 pages of a comic book into ten hours of television. There’s not enough story to go around so entire episodes are stitched together out of filler. It’s like biting into a sausage filled with sawdust. Some episodes, like this one, are not allowed to advance any storylines in any significant way. So instead, characters make speeches. I didn’t want to see it before. It’s not that I couldn’t see it. I could. I didn’t want to. Because seeing it would mean admitting that the writers of The Walking Dead are just jerking viewers along. And nobody wants to admit to being jerked around. But my fellow citizens of Viewershipia, we have been jerked.
I don’t know about you, but I get very wary any time The Walking Dead runs more than sixty minutes. The typical episode is heavily padded to meet the usual runtime. So any time the show runs long, you know you’re facing a lot of filler. Here’s Not Here gives the audience an hour and a half of Morgan’s backstory. In theory, this should be interesting. Morgan is a fan favorite character. But in execution, the show delivered ninety minutes with absolutely no new story. Everything that was revealed about Morgan’s transformation from crazy dude to Jedi knight, we pretty much knew already.
Thank You is one of those episodes of The Walking Dead that seems to be designed to work up a frenzy on social media. Perhaps the show runners anticipated that their ratings would be in a slump and this was an effort to give the series a bump? (Just to clarify, I’m kidding. But the timing of the stunt seems to be good considering the show’s ratings have been on the decline.) If you haven’t seen the episode and you haven’t already been spoiled by your FB friends, turn back. Spoilers follow.
Last week’s extra-long season premiere focused on Rick’s efforts to herd thousands of zombies past the Alexandria settlement to… well, he never really said. But presumable somewhere else where they can be someone else’s problem. Rick’s scheme was beyond risky. It was stupid. Any sane person would have found a way to kill all the zombies while they were contained. The hubris of Rick’s zombie herding plan was exposed when something as simple as a honking horn turned the now-freed zombies directly where Rick didn’t want them to go. Ooops.
My assumption at the time was that the Wolves, a mysterious group of villains, had been monitoring Rick’s activity and intentionally sounded the horn in an attempt to sabotage him. In this episode, we find out that the real explanation is far more mundane. And stupid. Like just about everything else that happened. There was a lot of stupid to go around.
Coming off of the six week slog that was Fear the Walking Dead, the bar was set pretty low for last night’s season premiere of the parent show. A little zombie action goes a long way on a zombie show. And First Time Again featured more zombies than ever. But it turns out that there isn’t a direct correlation between zombies on the screen and audience excitement. Because despite the presence of thousands of zombies, the episode was a bit of a snoozer.
Here we are at the end of another mid-season finale of The Walking Dead. I stopped doing my weekly recaps of the show early in this (the show’s fourth) season. But I figured the mid-season finale was a good place to check back in and take stock of where things stand with The Walking Dead‘s TV incarnation.
Lots of spoilers follow. I’m going to talk about the show as well as the comic book it is based on. So, be warned.
Last week, I gave the season premiere of The Walking Dead a bit of a hard time. Partially, I was being silly. But I was also legitimately criticizing the show for its lack of subtlety. This week’s episode still made its points with a sledge-hammer. But as I watching I came to a realization. This show ain’t Mad Men. But it’s not supposed to be. Maybe it’s okay that a show about zombies is about as subtle as a zombie apocalypse.
The first episode of the fourth season of The Walking Dead asks the question “Do you get to come back?” If you have done terrible things to survive, can you ever get back to living a normal life? It’s a question worth exploring on a show about survival. It’s also a question fans are probably asking about The Walking Dead. After last season’s dreadful finale, can the show redeem itself? Can it come back from the Season of Andrea? Is Scott Gimple the guy who will finally make The Walking Dead a TV show that lives up to its wasted potential?
Based on the first episode, the answer to that last question is definitely “no”. 30 Days Without an Accident (a title which makes me think of potty training) is no more coherent than anything from last season. But it was pretty entertaining all the same.
Previously, I wrote about some of the differences between The Walking Dead TV show and the comic book it is based on. I covered everything up through the mid-season finale of the third season. Now that the season is over (and has ended with a whimper) I will look at all of the storylines the show dropped from the comic book series.
Spoilers for the early issues of the comic book follow. It is possible some of these story lines could be repurposed for the fourth season of the show, but even if they do they will probably be unrecognizable given all the changes the show has made to the source material so far.
The season three finale of The Walking Dead was unbelievably anti-climactic. The show stretched three hours worth of plot into 16 hours of TV all building up to a showdown between the group in the prison and the citizens of Woodbury. And then when it finally came to pass, it was a complete non-event. The battle scene from the mid-season premiere (which was obscured by smoke most of the time) was far more impressive.
This episode needed to deliver the goods in order to redeem a season that spent most of its screen time running in pace. It should have given us a hail of bullets, a griping final showdown and a cathartic takedown of the season’s villain. Instead, it gave us an hour of head-scratchers that seemed completely disconnected from the 15 hours that lead up to it. Read the rest of this entry
Merle’s a tricky character. He made a memorable first impression during one episode in the show’s first season. He was a violent racist with no apparent redeeming values. After that one episode, Merle remained offscreen for the rest of the first season and most of the second. His one appearance was as a figment of his brother’s imagination. So fans were understandably excited when Merle returned to the spotlight in season three.
Since Merle’s return, he’s been difficult to pin down. He’s still an unrepentent racist. He has committed unsavory acts including torturing Glenn and handing Maggie over to the Governor. He also gave killing Michonne a pretty good try. And yet, the Merle of season three seems like a different character. He’s much more sympathetic and often charming. He does bad things, but gosh darn it he’s just misunderstood.