Now that it has been officially confirmed that the companion series to the hit AMC zombie apocalyptic phenomenon, The Walking Dead, is going into production later this year, a director has been selected to helm the pilot episode, Academy Award winner Adam Davidson.
His Oscar win came way back in 1991 in the "Best Live Action Short Film" category for The Lunch Date. What makes him even more qualified for this incredible opportunity is that he has also directed numerous episodes for some of the best TV shows ever made, including Dexter, Lost and True Blood. All of his experience on television will surely help him get the companion series off to a great start.
No other details have been released just yet about the pilot. At this point, there is no clue as to what the episode might be about, where it will be located and who will be starring in it.
Now, I did a bit of research on Davidson's previous work. Specifically, I looked up the episodes he has directed for the following three shows, Intelligence, Lost and Dexter, since I have actually seen all three in their entirety. To be even more specific, what I was looking for in particular was some sort of pattern that could indicate the kinds of episodes that interest him. Then, I figured that I could probably make an educated guess as to what he might have in store for the pilot episode of the 'TWD' companion series.
He are the episodes he has directed for the aforementioned three TV series:
Intelligence - Episode 1.06: "Patient Zero"
Unfortunately, this show, which aired on CBS, was cancelled after just one season, due to disappointing ratings. Personally, I really liked the main idea behind the show - a high-tech intelligence operative enhanced with a super-computer microchip in his brain. The chip allows him to basically enter the globalized information grid in his mind, allowing him to access very important, but highly classified, documents and data that help the C.I.A. capture dangerous criminals.
The episode in question contained the following synopsis:
Gabriel and the CyberCom are tasked to investigate the outbreak of a deadly virus in Texas caused by a man (Ronnie Gene Blevins) who was thought to be executed for killing two police officers. In the process they discover a conspiracy involving the Defense Intelligence Agency's research chief (Bill Smitrovich) into bioweapons.
This particular episode sees the task force investigating one situation, and then having another situation intrude on their attempt to solve the first case. This was usually the case on the show, but some episodes portrayed these scenarios more clearly and understandably than others. In fact, "Patient Zero" was one of my favorite episodes because it did that very well. The point is, though, that this episode was all about having problems compound on themselves, making it difficult for the characters to get anything done right.
This theme of problems mounting on an initial problem is very prevalent in the following two episodes as well.
Lost - Episode 2.06: "Abandoned"
As you probably know, Josh Holloway also starred in this ultra-popular ABC series. But in this particular episode, the spotlight was placed on two other characters - Shannon and Sayid (portrayed by Naveen Andrews). The two had been showing signs of love for one another before this episode, but unfortunately, their relationship was short-lived as Shannon was... (SPOILER ALERT!!!) ... shot and killed by Ana Lucía (portrayed by Michelle Rodríguez).
Here is a brief rundown of 'Abandoned'. For those of you who have yet to watch this show up to this point, and/or will watch it, I will hide it behind a handy-dandy spoiler veil:
Basically, a boy named Walt (Malcolm David Kelley) mysteriously appears to Shannon, only that it was not really Walt, but an apparition of him. That was unbeknownst to Shannon, though. She tried to explain to Sayid what she had seen, but he did not believe her. However, her curiosity motivated her to follow the apparition of Walt, with or without Sayid's help, as she was desperately trying to find out why he had appeared to her, all of a sudden. Sayid's love for her compelled him to join her, despite what he thought. But, coming in the opposite direction was a group headed by Ana Lucía, also unbeknownst to both Shannon and Sayid. As the apparition of Walt started to sprint in that direction, Shannon chased after him, but was then shot and killed by Ana Lucía. It became clear later that Ana did not mean to shoot Shannon; it was a terrible accident. She only fired because she thought it was one of the "Others" approaching her and her group; the "Others" consisted of a large group of residents to the island whom initially treated those who became stranded on it with hostility. But, when Ana recognized that she would have to face a distraught, but dangerous man in Sayid, she thought she was done for - either Sayid would kill her as vengeance, or the group that Shannon and Sayid were a part of would capture her and torment her endlessly.
As you can see, this episode also has a few characters try to solve one case, only to have another case derail them along the way. Shannon was trying to figure out one mystery that led to a huge problem for the group she was with. It was an episode that closed one case in tragedy, but opened a few more that would be dealt with in later episodes, much like in Intelligence.
Dexter - Episode 1.09 "Father Knows Best"
I'm sure this show needs no introduction, as it was one of the most critically acclaimed, vastly successful shows Showtime has ever aired. Dexter Morgan, the main character, acts like a mild-mannered forensics expert by day, but by night, he shows his true persona - a serial killer that only hunts down other serial killers.
Here is a rundown of this episode. Again, I will shield it for those of you do not want to be spoiled:
In this episode, Dexter finds out that his biological father, Joe Driscoll, has recently died, after believing beforehand that he had died long ago. Dexter also finds out that Driscoll had left him all of his belongings, including his home. However, Dexter, being Dexter, thinks that Driscoll was murdered, and so he goes to the house to investigate. Once there, Dexter is accompanied by his brother Rudy, a serial killer himself, though unbeknownst to Dexter at the time. By the episode's conclusion, we find out that Rudy was the person who killed Joe, thanks to an elderly woman who lived across the street from Joe's house. The woman had recognized Rudy as a cable repairman, who happened to be Joe's last visitor before his death. We then see Rudy return to the elderly woman's house, presumably to silence her permanently.
Continuing the theme of one problem leading to another compounding one (or several other compounding ones), this episode has Dexter try to investigate one thing, only to be impeded by someone who was quickly becoming a problem that Dexter would have to confront later, and in more ways than one. In fact, that "someone" becomes so detrimental to Dexter's lifestyle that it leaves him questioning what kind of man he needs to be, and how he should go about doing what he does.
So, all of the aforementioned three episodes that Adam Davidson has directed deal with problems compounding an initial case, and characters being left with more questions unanswered. Taking this into consideration, I believe that the pilot episode of the Walking Dead companion series could revolve around the origins of the zombie apocalypse. It could be that we find out what actually caused the undead outbreak in the first place, and what people did thereafter once they recognized the danger approaching them.
The initial problem would be certain amount of people becoming infected with the virus. Then, the immediate compounding problem would be those infected people affecting the non-infected, knowingly or unknowingly. If done maliciously, then the following conflict that arises is the same one we see on The Walking Dead - desperate people doing desperate things to survive; survival of the fittest in its most extreme and violent form.
After that, as the virus becomes more and more pervasive everywhere, people are forced to abandon their previous lifestyles and adopt new ones. They start changing who they are, especially mentally and psychologically, and how they will go about tackling the outbreak. Being forced against their will to fight to stay alive, their true personas will be revealed. So basically, I believe the pilot might serve as a prequel, or it could be that the whole show (or at least one season of it) is created as a prequel.
As for a possible setting, the show will most likely hail from the U.S., or at least somewhere in North America. Personally, I hope it is somewhere else, perhaps in Europe or South America. I firmly believe that it would give us a better perspective on how different groups of people from different cultures reacted to the outbreak. It would become very interesting to compare the actions and mindsets of those characters to the ones already living in the zombie apocalypse from AMC's The Walking Dead.
Oh, and surely the undead will continue to be referred to as "walkers," right?
To conclude, this is all mere speculation, stemming from my willingness to opine on what we might see once the pilot debuts. I could be wrong on all of it, of course. We clearly have a long way to go, so any details or hints that arise soon might gradually give us a better idea of what's to come with this companion series. In the meantime, don't forget to tune in to AMC on Sunday nights for season five of The Walking Dead!
What do you think the main purpose of the pilot episode will be?
In the comments section below, please elaborate on your respective answers to the poll question. It would make for interesting conversations. Be opinionated, be speculative, be imaginative, be thoughtful, be thought-provoking, but most importantly, be very respectful. Oh, and please, please, please NO 'TWD' comic book spoilers!
[Source: ComingSoon, Wikipedia]