The Walking Dead: Whats next? A review by Mr. J (@Dear_Ole_UncleJ)
That is a fair question. As we are 7-8 days away from the premiere of AMC’s The Walking dead, we need to ask ourselves, how much steam is left in this glorified money train? I will break things down into categories and then we can talk about everything in specific limelights. But first thing is first, how much longer can Kirkman keep this story alive. If the last 2 issues of [The Walking Dead](series:201193) The Walking Dead comic is not an indication of trouble brewing in the Kirkman camp, I don't know what is.
Lets be fair, when I started watching The Walking Dead, it did not impress me. The first season was borderline painful to sit through. But I had relatable characters that I have seen in other shows/movies like Michael Rooker(Merle who does not exist in the comic, personal favorite who starred in Mallrats/Cliffhanger/Guardians of the Galaxy), Norman Reedus (Daryl who does not exist in the comic, personal favorite from BoonDock Saints), and Lennie James (Morgan who was in another tv show called Jericho and the movie Snatch). If these 3 elements were not in the fold, I would never have made it season 2 or even the first half of season 2 for that matter.
I recall the horrible reviews from when this show aired. Things such as and I quote “The Walking dead is Lord of Rings with zombies. All about walking,” “ This show is boring and has no creativity, is not unique,” and “AMC will just make anything.” The last one upset me because at the time I was also into Madmen and Breaking Bad which both have proven to carry their own and do not need the insane amount of funding that networks like HBO provide. Would The Walking Dead survive on HBO? Maybe. But it would have a lot of sex scenes and large amounts of swearing. But let us break down the journey of The Walking Dead.
Overview of the Seasons (Yes, there is things left out, but if you watch the show, you should have an idea what is going on.. Right?
Season: 1 - 6 Episodes
The series begins with sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes being wounded in a shootout with armed criminals. He awakens weeks later from a coma in an abandoned and badly damaged hospital. Upon leaving, Rick discovers a post-apocalyptic world overrun with zombies. He eventually meets with his wife Lori and Carl in a camp outside Atlanta. However this reunion is short lived and they head to the CDC for shelter and answers. Surviving the odds and the trip to the CDC, Rick learns how people turn from a scientist at his wits end named Jenner. In the end the group escapes as Jenner sacrifices himself.
It felt like they were trying to stay as true to the comic book but it was very dry. There was moments where it did pick up but then left hanging. As this was a short season, a lot of questions were left unanswered
Season 2: 13 Episodes
The infamous Hershel farm. The group is currently living day by day on and off of the deserted highway until they stumble across a farm that seemed to be able to sustain the post apocalyptic life. However, during the travel Carol’s daughter sophia goes missing after a herd of walkers overrun their camp on the highway. Sophia is later found in the barn of the Hershel farm and Rick questions Hershel’s intentions as he was housing a barn full of walkers. Believing he could cure them. In the end, the massacre the walkers which causes tensions in the group. Also Shane, madly in love with Lori, plots to kill Rick. In the end, Rick kills him and then Carl kills zombie Shane. The farm is over run, people are eaten and everyone flees as the season ends.
The first half of the this season, simply put, was painful. Understanding we were adding 3 more characters into the fold(Hershel/Maggie/Beth) and wrapping up Shane’s story arc. But, it honestly felt like the story had no idea where it was going in the first half. It was not till the mid season break(Mid season breaks started because of this show I think) when business began to pick up. We got to see Carl not stay in the house, Daryl go from a walk on character to having an important role and Rick becoming a true leader of the group. The second half is where I can honestly say I became a fan of the show.
Season 3: 16 Episodes
It has been several months since the Hershel farm was burnt to the ground and the group finally finds solitude in a prison. Of course after clearing it out. We are introduced to a few more characters. Lori is now pregnant/gives birth to the questionable baby known as Judith (aka little ass kicker) and now the infamous Michonne. The quiet, vicious, sword wielding, zombie killer that everyone idolizes to be during a ZA(Zombie Apocalypse). However, Michonne stumbles into Andrea at the end of Season 2 and has built a friendship with her. However the group believed Andrea perished during the Farm attack. But, in this storyline arc with Michonne/Andrea you meet the most terrifying villain in the show thus far, The Governor(David Morrissey and my favorite villain). He had established a peaceful and zombie free community called Woodbury. But it wasn't what it seemed. In the end, Merle(who works for the Governor) returns to the show and kidnaps Glen/Maggie who were out on a supply run. The Group hears of the kidnapping by Michonne and war begins. Ultimately, by the end of the season, Woodbury is shown what kind of man The Governor truly is as he massacres the townsfolk who helped him lay siege to the prison but failed. At the end of the season the Governor escapes and the townsfolk agree to live in the prison with Rick’s group. We are now introduced to Tyrese and Sasha as new main characters, but due to the Governor's madness, he kills Merle and Andrea was bitten by zombie which she took her own life in the end.
It is honestly tough to say what was the better season. As stated, the Governor was a huge character for me and David Morrissey portrayal of this character blew me away. You seen Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus become such huge pieces of the puzzle. Not to get to far off topic, but the Dixon’s do not exist in the comic book franchise, but are everyone’s favorite characters not including Michonne who is in the comic. The season had you questioning yourself as a person. What would you do in a ZA if need be. Would you sacrifice yourself or others and etc. I think this was the season that truly got everyone’s attention and truly started ZombieMania. Brotha.
Season 4: 16 Episodes
This season’s first half revolves around seeing The Governor truly as an emotional person and the hardships of not having First World luxuries such as medicine. The Prison is overrun with a strain of influenza which in turn causes a zombie attack within the prison and the Governor is slowly amassing a new army to seek vengeance for the fall of woodbury. However an unexpected turn for Carol’s character as she was the once quit church mouse character, now a vicious “Only the strong will survive,” outlook. She makes a decision that starts an onslaught of issues within the camp and is told to leave by Rick she admits she murdered 2 people in the light of stopping the Zombie infection which it did not. Also this season touches on the emotional trauma of what a ZA could do to a child as we watch an innocent child named Lizzie, stop showing scenes of sadistic behavior and kills her own sister. But the biggest turn of events which threw the internet into an uproar was the death of Hershel by the hands of the Governor in the episode prior to the midseason break. Rick and the group escape barely by the Governor's final attempt of taking of the prison but at a price of losing people of their group, Hershel’s life and the group divided into multiple pieces. The second half of the season shows Carl, trying to be more an active role in the show and now showing defiance to his father that he can handle things on his own. Ultimately the 3 groups(Tyrese/Carol, Rick/Michonne/Carl/Daryl, and Glen/Maggie/Bob/Sasha) of survivors all head into the direction of a place called “Terminus.” Which states it is a Zombie free zone. Along the way, we meet 3 pivotal characters. Eugene, Rosalie and the long awaited and fan favorite from the comics, Sgt Abraham. However upon their arrival to terminus is not what it seems… They are f*cking with the wrong people.
Season 4 spent more time building around people’s emotions of how they would survive the zombie apocalypse. Which was a breathe of fresh air. And well deserved may I add. We finally got to know more about everyone’s back story which includes The Governor(which was awesome) and how he learned no matter if he changed or not, he could never escape his fate. Michonne explains her child and origins which was a very intense story. Carl gets chocolate pudding. You get the picture. Season 4 was borderline a perfect Season of any show. Only one show could rival this show, would be Dexter’s Season 4 of the Trinity Killer. It was the right equation so everyone got what they needed from the show and built up perfectly for Season 5.
TV Show vs The Comic Book
Let us get something out of the way before I start this mini rant. I did not read a single Walking Dead Comic until Season 4. Yes, I should have crucified over this, but in my defense it was not until late last year when I started collecting comic books. But I binge read the first 100 issues over 2 days.
There is significant differences from the comic book vs the TV show. Some are extremely positive and some are extremely negative. For example, Morgan’s character whom you met for a short period of time in Season 1 and for 1 episode of Season 3, has a bigger role in the comic. He had a love interest with Michonne prior to turning. I think not using this character more in the show is a negative. He had a bigger impact than people gave him credit for. According to Wikipedia (Thats reliable) it claims he will have an a brief appearance in season 5. That will be a wait and see for me. However, a huge positive was not using the Governor to the extremity that he is in the comic book. In the comic he beaten and raped Michonne multiple times and how Michonne exacted her revenge was quite.. Brutal.
I think having such a level of brutality which would taken the show away from the formula of success it has. Also, Hershel had a billion kids in the comic. I dont even want to keep track of how many or how they were killed by a child molester. But one thing I was always on the fence about was that Hershel died. Sure, in the comic he died fairly early, but his death in the show is what happened to Tyrese in the comic. The infamous line that we kick around on our show is “ we need to divorce ourselves,” from the comic’s and such. However, it is hard to. Especially when you know that could have made a world of difference. Kirkman is up to issue 131 in the comic’s and if that is any indication of what season 5 will look like, we are in for a fun ride in Season 5.
Is Negan the Next Big Thing?
*insert intimidating Heavy Metal intro*
Here Comes The Pain.
Rumor has it that Negan will be in Season 5. Now that is terrifying. In what capacity? If AMC is smart, it will be the lead in for Season 6. Who is Negan? In my opinion the most terrifying, fowl mouth, vicious, cold hearted, sociopathic bastard to ever exist in the Land of The Walking Dead.
Negan carries a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire he named Lucille. Yet his behavior in certain situations might not always be construed as evil: while he can, of course, be unmerciful and relentless when it comes to getting a point across, at the same time he is (at least on the surface) understanding of others and willing to spare those he sees as potentially useful.
He is also shown to be quite reasonable when people attempt to negotiate with him, and has a genuine disgust for the act of rape. Interestingly, this stands in contrast to his need for a harem made up of other men's wives. Negan has a penchant for provocation and power games. The stronger the resistance to his will, the more he seems to enjoy the test of wills. With insight rarely associated to violent antagonists, Negan appears to both observe and appreciate the concerns and intentions of his opposite numbers. This gives him a serious psychological advantage in most contest of wills, as he is able to anticipate and has no problem ruining any of his enemy's plans. However, he kills Glenn in the comic book. Terrified yet? Change your underwear because he is coming. Whether you like it or not.
TellTale’s The Walking Dead Storyline
If you follow our page, you know that myself, Rainer, and now recently The Mountain Man are avid fans of TellTale’s The Walking Dead. But this can be incorporated into the show. In the first season, we do in fact cross paths with Glenn and at one point end up at the Hershel farm prior to Rick and the group. We met so many unique characters Kenny, and of course Clementine. Could this be worked into the TV show? It is a stretch and have video games adapted into TV shows rarely, if never happens. However, the storyline for this video game and beautiful written. Honestly, why not? Take a risk.
The Walking Dead gets a Spinoff
Are you surprised? I have been saying since Season 3 that it is only inevitable. When you have a show that averages 5.5 million viewers in Season 1 to having 14 million an episode, it would be foolheartedly not to. But nothing is set into stone of what/who/where this will take place. Rumor mill says it will be a completely different group with absolutely no ties to the original. But, I have also heard that a main character from this show will go over and help launch the new show. If that is true, Ladies, don't worry, Daryl is not leaving the man show. I did also hear they may have finalized the actors but that can always change. If I had to be a betting man, it would be Carol or even Tyrese that would leave. Their characters are quite strong and there is very little more they can even do on the main show. Lets be honest. The show is kinda crowded with all the storyline arcs they have going all at the same time. That would be my only complaint from Season 4. I digress.
This would be my wishlist for the new show:
- Completely new cast
- Completely new location
- A walk on with a cast member from the original show but cannot be Daryl
- Start on Day 1(The outbreak)
- Explain more about how/why the outbreak occurred
- Follow the perfect writing formula that Season 4 provided
- I know. Already asking for too much but why not? We can dream.
- What do we expect from Season 5?
We have multiple storyline arcs that need to be addressed. First off, we have Tyrese/Carol with baby Judith behind the rest of the pack at Terminus. Beth was kidnapped by the preacher. O ya, you didnt know that. You do now! And now we have the original group and the Newcomers lead by Abraham locked in a train car. O, let us not forget the cannibals. It has not been fully touched on yet, plus there is more to Eugene than people know. But if you read the comic book, you would know what is happening next. first half of the season, it will be escaping Terminus. There will be a death of a main character which is clearly evident, but who? To be honest, I am leaning towards Bob the alcoholic medic. He was provided a little origins story in Season 4, but his character could never take the role of Hershel or have the importance of Daryl. I think we will see the “Ricktatorship” in full swing but it will clash with the “Carolution.” We know tyrese/Carol will find the guys hidden outside of Terminus and will save the day. but at what cost?
The second half will revolve around getting to Washington. Eugene claims to have figured out a cure for the ZA and getting him to washington will be pivotal. But not everything goes their way. If we follow the comic book, upon their travels to Washington, they will meet up with another community like woodbury, but truly peaceful. But, this community lives in fear from the almighty Negan. Alot of questions to be answered. I honestly hope that this season keeps the pace that Season 4 set.
In closing the final thread I want to discuss was a comment made by Executive Producer David Alpert, “the original comics has given us enough ideas for Rick Grimes and company over the next seven years. I happen to love working from source material, specifically because we have a pretty good idea of what Season 10 is gonna be," Alpert said. "We know where seasons 11 and 12 will be... we have benchmarks and milestones for those seasons if we're lucky enough to get there.
This is a massive stretch. I will use Dexter/True Blood as a benchmark of WHAT not to do. When your show has lost steam, it is time to wrap it up. Dexter became stagnant after season 6, the ratings dropped. And now Dexter as one of the top 3 worst endings to happen to such a hit show(Soprano’s still being the worst). True Blood’s Final Season 7 had literally no substance at all. It was boring predictable and even the performances by the actors was poor at best. And my last example would be ER. The show was a powerhouse for the first 8 seasons. Once Doctor Green died, that was it. Even bringing in upcoming actors and even John Stamos return to TV did not save this show. The 6 seasons they made thereafter were just meeting the bare minimum standards. The point I am making is that they ran out of idea’s and they were trying to keep the show running for money. 12 seasons of the The Walking Dead? Now that’s bold. Short of the Simpsons, there is really no show that lasted anything greater than 10 seasons. Yet again, a poor decision. But hey, as long as Norman Reedus t-shirts are selling, why not?
If the TV show starts following the comic, I will tell you now, issue 130 forward is now introducing elements that were turn people away from the show.
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