Apr 5, 2012

[TV] The Walking Dead: Season 2

I don't handle horror well, but for one reason or another the first season of this particular show just struck me and I had to admit that the finale left me pretty excited for what may com around the corner. And while a lot of the sequences had me on the edge of my seat (or suddenly standing behind it), I really enjoyed the storytelling involved.

I'm aware that the series is based on a comic book of the same name - and obviously it's one that I have yet to find the time to read. But given the strength of the first season, I'm also of a mind to continue that particular adventure and see for myself how the original story stacks up versus the TV adaptation.

But this second season didn't quite pan out as I had hoped and the end result was a tad disappointing. I guess the challenge here is how the pacing of the whole thing just slowed to a crawl, thus killing the momentum. Add to the fact that this was one of those shows that opted to go for a mix-season break didn't help the show's cause either. One can only hope that they figure out how to move forward by the time the third season comes along, and we know for sure that the show will survive at least that long.

The Walking Dead is a drama TV series (with zombies) adapted from the comic books created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. It was developed for television by Frank Darabont, who became one of the executive producers for the show for this season.

After the events at the Atlanta CDC, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his fellow survivors decide to try and make their way to Fort Benning in the hopes of finding other survivors or some semblance of civilization. They eventually stop on the I-85 given the abundance of stalled cars on the highway. They initially use this as a chance to loot the vehicles for supplies, but that's until a swarm of walkers arrives, forcing the crew to find places to hide and ride out the zombies. In the course of these events, young Sophia (Madizon Lintz) gets separated from the group and they later try to find her in the nearby woods.

During the search for Sophia, Ricks's son Carl (Chandler Riggs) gets into an accident, and this leads them to Hershel (Scott Wilson) and his family of sorts who have been surviving on their own on a farm. Hershel reluctantly tries to help save Carl while the rest of the group relocates to the farm and consider their options. The race is on to save Carl's life but at the same time Sophia remains at large, assuming she's still alive.

Hershel's Farm, at least for me, acted like a black hole that sucked the life out of this season. Almost all story lines slowed to a crawl once the farm was thrown into the mix and as much as it came with its share of drama, intrigues and even a little romance, the end result was a snorefest that had me and other friends wondering what the heck was going on. It probably didn't help that this season had been heralded buy the announcement that Frank Darabont had stepped down as showrunner. So naturally we were all comparing this season with how the previous one had panned out - and it wasn't pretty.

Norman Reedus
Norman Reedus (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)
The show felt a tad self-indulgent for what was perceived to be the fan-popular elements. Thus we got a heck of a lot more of Daryl (Norman Reedus), who probably represents the most popular redneck in fiction these days. And while there's a lot to like about Daryl and how he's become quite the kick ass character on the show, I'd like to think that we as fans can do better than a guy who built around a stereotype. And of course beyond that we had the efforts to build up Shane (Jon Bernthal) as more of a physically strong character as well - a transformation that reminded me more of movies like Commando or even the first Predator for some reason. Go figure.

The season also made other characters a heck of a lot more annoying, and the best example of this remains to be the mother and son team of Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Carl. Leave it to Carl to find a way to get shot in this season and beyond that he continues to be an idiot until the end. Lori is just a wreck who seems to have lost all sense and will once it becomes clear that she and Shane had a thing going on such that the baby inside her may not be Rick's. And she gets into a car accident on an empty road. This is why memes have been created in her name, people!

The slow pacing of this story, the weird character shifts, the nonsensical plot twists and the addition of the man with no apparent value T-Dog (IronE Singleton) really made this season hard to swallow. The few highlights would probably center around Andrea (Laurie Holden) becoming quite the crack markswoman and of course the fun of Glenn (Steven Yuen) falling in love and just being oddly adorkable with a definite Asian flair. But even those aspects weren't enough to help the show get past its weird meandering story line for the season - something we can only hope will get corrected now that the farm has become a thing of the past.

The Walking Dead Season 2 still has its moments, but it definitely felt like it had a lot less zombies and thus a lot less zombie killing for most of its run. And so I can only rate this season with 3.5 zombies stuck in muddy riverbanks out of a possible 5.

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