REVIEW: The Walking Dead S2

"It starts off slow but ends with a bang."

Rick and company seek help and refuge from Hershel Greene and his family who have somehow remained sheltered from the epidemic in their isolated country farmhouse.  Trust remains in short supply as both groups come with their own set of problems and secrets.

THE WALKING DEAD is a fantastic graphic novel series and being that zombies won't ever go out of style, I can truly dig and appreciate why AMC went for the jugular here.  I've read all of it to date and for the most part enjoyed everything thrown my way.  Many naysayers ramble on and on about how AMC changed things here and there, and to that, I only tip my hat.  Yes, a re-creation of the original work frame by frame would've also be cool, there's nothing wrong with playing around a bit just so long as you don't stray too far from the beaten path.  The first season nailed it.  There were only five episodes and fans (myself included) were begging for more.  The first half of the second season however, was a different story altogether.  I hated the way they dragged "the hunt for Sophia" over five episodes, it was uncalled for, daunting and gave off the distinct odour of added filler for the sake of stretching things out as far as they possibly could.  I'm not a fool, I see how much material they have to work with.  I know they're cashing in on this show in more ways than one.  Again, I'm not a hater who regarded the first five episodes as "boring" due to "lack of zombie action".  I get that character development is key and takes time to build, but don't insult my intelligence by having these characters run around in circles for half a season and think I won't acknowledge it for the ploy it is.

While we're on the topic of the first half of the season I would also like to point out another reason to ignore the haters.  This may be a series that revolves around a scientific outbreak causing the dead to walk around as zombies, but I think some fans are missing the point.  The zombie apocalypse is the catalyst but by no means the central focus.  What sets this series apart from others is the fact that it illustrates how we, humans, become monsters far more vicious and evil than any walker.  The emotional impact of this storyline stems from real people in a messed up situation trying to keep it together as society (and the world) fall apart around them.  If you want mindless zombie action go rent any of the RESIDENT EVIL films, DAWN OF THE DEAD or 28 DAYS LATER.  This series is trying desperately to give us more than that, and for the most part succeeds.

The cast is still well rounded with Andrew Lincoln leading the pack as Rick Grimes.  Rick's character changes dramatically over the course of the graphic novel series, and this season gives us a taste of that, especially with the last half of the season working up to the explosive finale.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume you've watched this entire season before I delve into a couple details/potential spoilers...so be warned if you still have some episodes to go.  Still with me, okay then.  The Rick and Shane deal was a powder keg just itching to explode, even the book virgins could easily see that coming.  The way it all went down was...different, but not altogether bad.  Carl's character becomes seriously dark in the books, and though we see a small piece of that, it's like a grain of sand by comparison.  I really hope they don't drop the ball with certain characters, Carl being one of them.  I didn't mind them inventing a handful of characters who admittedly add to the mix, but don't water down the badass peeps who shape the series into epic status.

THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 2 made for some good TV viewing (after the first five episodes more so), and after the balls to the walls finale I'm aching for more.  My favourite character is Michonne, and why the hell wouldn't she be as what story wouldn't improve with the addition of a sword wielding chick hacking off zombie heads left and right.  I exploded with glee as she appeared saving Andria's life, hooded and sporting her signature chained zombies.  Yes, I loved seeing the prison in the closing moments too, but Michonne is what I've been waiting for all season (I was rooting for TRUE BLOOD's Rutina Wesley to land the role of Michonne as she would have been perfect, but you can't win them all).  This story needed a strong badass Riddick-like anti hero and she's got that one covered in spades.  Add to that, a villain like the Governor and we could be in for one hell of a season 3.  Again, my only fear stems from the idea of these characters (and the ridiculously graphic chaos that comes with them) being watered down in fear of shocking or turning off fans of the TV series that didn't read the books.  In a world where ratings win wars, I'm sure AMC is and has been debating this very issue down to the very last letter, all I ask is that the decision be handled with proper care and good judgement.  At this point I'm still raging for more and that's definitely a good thing.  Here's hoping I'll feel the same way this time next year.

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