The first half of The Walking Dead Season 2 has come to an end, its taking a breather until February where we get the back seven episodes. The show was already plagued with controversy after showrunner Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, The Mist) left due to conflicts/concerns with the AMC network. Many wondered if this would negatively affect the show and my answer to that is ” boy has it ever”.
The problems with the Walking Dead go beyond whose at its helm. This show about a zombie apocalypse is actually adapted from a far superior graphic novel of the same name. The Walking Dead comics are expertly written with believable human characters in the midst of a horrible and horrifying world, all the show had to do was follow the blue prints of the book and it would be smooth sailing all the way to the Emmys. At first it seemed like those involved with the show understood how to properly translate its source material. The tense pilot episode where our hero, deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a comma into a world gone mad hit every note perfectly; we rooted for Rick to be reunited with his wife Lori and son Carl. Rick’s introduction into this world as well as his perilous yet highly engaging journey back to his family was ripped from the pages of writer Robert Kirkman’s work. Then Rick finally met up with his family and their camp and it all went to hell. Some characters were turned into weak shallow versions of themselves while the more intriguing ones were not even bothered to be translated.
The worst of these offenses is the character of Shane, Ricks best friend and partner played horribly over the top by Jon Bernthal. In the original story, Shane has an affair with Rick’s wife (after the zombie apocalypse hits and they think Rick is a goner of course) which also happens in the series. Graphic novel Shane is a jealous cold, calculating son of a bitch who tries to kill Rick after he and Lori are reunited, Shane is in turn murdered and Rick takes his place as the leader of the camp. In the TV series, none of this occured; Shane is free to walk around being a complete dick and creating new and unnecessary changes to the carefully orchestrated plot of the graphic novels. Shane and the actor who portrays him represent everything wrong with this version of the story, the acting is piss poor and the writing for him and every other character is even worse, and like a true zombie infection its poisoned every element of this show, from the pacing, the narrative, this seasons story arc to just about anything else you can name.
By deviating and not staying true to the story beat for beat, we get drawn out character development scenes that go on forever with no end in sight and feel nothing but false. Case in point, the season 2 premiere had two different characters praying to a Christ statue basically saying the same things, while another pair of characters get into an argument over one letting the other commit suicide, all of this going on in a world that is supposed to be festering with the undead.
Our time was literally wasted about a missing little girl who is never supposed to get lost in the first place and the groups interaction with a secluded farm and its inhabitants, which actually does happen in the books yet doesn’t really survive the page to screen translation amidst all these new, say it with me folks, UNNECESSARY CHANGES. Too many of these 6 episodes were dedicated to Shane, a character who shouldn’t even exist and is therefore ruining the entire show by taking all of the shows focus away from the main character Rick and any of the other supporting characters who are meant to be around and have their crucial moments.
Instead of the breakneck and exciting pace of the first two volumes of the comic, we get episodes and storylines that do nothing but drag out the plot. The first half of this story as well as this entire second season should be all about the conflict of them on the run from the undead and the constant dangers involved in that, to the point where the audience needs a break from the mayhem, we are not there yet at all. Instead, episodes went by that had me questioning why bother having zombies in a show with pregnancy tests, existential angst, red neck samurais and people arguing over whether they should be carrying guns in a world that is supposedley filled with vicious cannibalistic undead monsters. Seriously, they invented a conflict between Shane and Dale (an awesome character in the books who is just a mere shell of himself on this poor excuse for a series) where Dale hid the guns away from everyone and then Shane has to track him down. Any rational person can see that Shane is actually right in this situation and Dale is being a jackass. However, since Shane is playing it so over the top and we’re supposed to be rooting for Dale we do a switch on logic and side with the guy trying to hide guns from the people who seriously need them because the guy he’s up against is a malicious douchebag who has no right to be alive. Even the big reveal at the end of the finale was predictable and it wasn’t even a part of the story that is supposed to happen.
I have no idea if this show can be saved. Killing off Shane and moving on to the next location would be a start, but after seeing the trailers for Februarys episodes and seeing Bernthals ugly menacing mug still on my flat screen gives me no hope. I know that book to screen adaptations are not easy and somethings usually end up changed or lost in the shuffel but the Walking Dead is less than even a shadow of its former self. I honestly do not recognize any of the characters who propelled me to read 11 volumes of their story. They have all been replaced with these dead eyed or over acting meat bags for whom I could care less about.
0/5 hot wings