In Defense & Praise of THE WALKING DEAD Season Two

In Defense & Praise of THE WALKING DEAD Season Two

For much of the second season of AMC's comic adapted Walking Dead, the most common criticism was that of the show's pacing being too slow. Many detractors also hated on the fact that the group of survivors acted in 'unrealistic ways'. There were also a ton of whimpers that due to Frank Darabont leaving the series that it was doomed to fail. Here is why you're ignorant, wrong and uninformed.

As the second and lengthier season of The Walking Dead reached it's third and fourth episodes, so called fans began to lash out over the show's pacing which they deemed incredibly slow and criticized the motives of our characters. Why are they standing around at a farm? Why are they taking half a season to look for a little girl? Why aren't they doing what Shane says because he's got the survival plan down? Why won't Dale shut up? Did I already ask why they are at a farm?

In defense of the pacing: Previous showrunner Frank Darabont is a film director. You can see how he crafted the first six-episode season to have one long story arc and the first half of season two also had one long story arc – the search for Sophia. Because of Darabont's vision, the episodes may have felt slower in pace and to some degree, I'll admit that they were. New showrunner Glen Mazzara has taken over the mantle since Darabont and AMC parted ways and you could see the difference in how The Walking Dead ceased being a lengthy made-for-TV movie and transformed into a TV series by episode eight.

Mazzara was a writer on The Shield, which is one of the best TV dramas in history and in my opinion right up there with The Sopranos. Needless to say he knows how to guide a TV series in the right direction by not only succeeding in long story arcs, but by exciting the viewers in the process by keeping the pacing up. Darabont wanted to have the second season premiere be a flashback focusing on the dead soldier (Sam Whitwer) that Rick encounters in the tank in season one. Great idea for webisodes, but it's not focused on driving this story forward. I'm glad it didn't happen and as great as Frank was for establishing this series, it's time to move on.

For those who were pissed at the survivors hanging out on a farm, take note that they will be headed to the new safe zone – a large prison for season three. In the comic, our group was at the farm for four issues. They were at the prison for 36. I'm fully prepared for trolls to begin calling the show OZmbies or Prison Break with undead cannibals. People who want more zombies will have to brace for quality over quantity in regards to the undead. I have a feeling that we will see less zombies and more crazy people posing the main threat for Rick and crew. That is, if the comic still holds weight in the writer's room, which by all accounts even with deviations still seems to be the case.

If you still didn't like the pacing of season two by episode seven, then don't bother watching season three because this show and comic for that matter don't interest you. Both the comic and the TV series are a character study of how people deal with a world in which rules no longer apply. This isn't Left 4 Dead on AMC, this is The Walking Dead and it's not an action film.

In defense of the writing and character's motives, is it so hard to grasp that Carl is just a child. Of course he's going to do stupid things, kids are dumbasses. Before people begin throwing rocks at Chandler Riggs on the street for luring walking death into the camp, remember that he's what – 10 or 12 years old? For those who can't handle the character flaws, not everybody has a zombie survival kit in their closets for when the sh!t goes down. Not everyone has an escape door and survival plan and not everybody can handle the pressure, so they begin to act indecisively. This is not a superhero show – Rick is not Captain America; he's a confused, angry and sad man who is struggling to survive. He will screw up. Shane may have appeared to be the GI Joe of the group, but in the end it was his own motives that fueled his actions and look where that got him.

The Walking Dead on AMC is a precise and accurate adaptation of the source material from Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. Even with its shocking deviations, the overall story arcs are playing out with the same emotional impact of the comic and that's a joy to see on the small screen. As a massive fan of the source material I couldn't be prouder of this TV series and I look forward to season three, even if dumbasses complain that they're just standing around in a prison all day. The Walking Dead season two was ten times better than it's predecessor and the perfect example of how to adapt source material for a wide audience while still keeping hardcore fans on their toes.
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Member Since 3/19/2012
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sikwon - 3/19/2012, 4:46 PM
awesome. i couldent agree with you more. some of the best storytelling (along with game of thrones) on tv. awesome.
ecksmanfan - 3/19/2012, 4:46 PM
Nice work man! Great article
whoelsebutkevin - 3/19/2012, 4:48 PM
Here, Here.
StrangeBlackPantherDoctor - 3/19/2012, 4:50 PM
Great article.
thetrojan - 3/19/2012, 4:51 PM
i agree,that was strong and well written.
oh and I agree with you,but i really do love it when zombies attack!
i cant explain it ,I demand more from other genres but not zombies.
marvel72 - 3/19/2012, 5:17 PM
season 2 was good overall,about four episodes stood out in particular.

when they found sophia & the last three.
JackJNapier - 3/19/2012, 5:21 PM
where are the boobs?
Mugwamp - 3/19/2012, 5:52 PM
Good editorial. I agree for the most part. I really enjoy the character development so for me that part of the show really helps frame out what is driving each character and helps to make sense of their actions.

I have had a few specific issues with characters etc, but I chalk that up to tv drama. Some choice seem unsound given the scenario but it builds drama.

Either way, this show has been a pleasure to watch and I eagerly await each new episode. Hats off to the writers/actors/zombies for a high quality, weekly show with some bite.
Lert - 3/19/2012, 6:08 PM
Good God!...OVERACTING at it's finest! Im suprised you dont see teardrops rolling down the actors faces with every overmodulation and soap opera facial expressions.. Rick and Shane (the worst)both look like they're on drugs when they act with emotions... cut that shit out and perhaps this show can move forward, @ZombieKevin!
LoudLon - 3/19/2012, 6:12 PM
Personally, I don't think there was a single weak episode throughout the entirety of this second season, and thought it was even better than the first. This show is more about the drama and conflict than the zombies; the walking dead are the backdrop, not the point, and that's what makes the show work so well.

I've never read the comics so I don't have the first clue about this Michonne character, but my concern is that to suddenly have this ninja looking chick with a katana and two chained up armless zombies seems a bit too fantastic for a show which has thus far grounded itself in "reality" more or less (though the word "reality" loses much of its meaning in a show about the dead returning to life to eat the flesh of the living). I hope this isn't a harbinger of a more fantastic/cartoonish bent, and that the show maintains its more darkly dramatic approach.
kevberg - 3/19/2012, 6:18 PM
The Show's great, has been and will need to defend. The ratings get higher every episode.

Fahk the haters.
Bodwulf - 3/19/2012, 6:37 PM
Spectacular show. Best Zombie mythology ever. If you don't like it . It would not matter what they made you would still be bitchin' .
Michonne, AMC gets it right!
siggisuperman - 3/19/2012, 6:40 PM
Love this show and it seems next season will be taking place in the prison which is sweeet
thisguy81 - 3/19/2012, 6:48 PM
IMHO, take everything that happens in the first half of season two, merge it down into four episodes and it's perfect. The pacing made the writing feel lazy, when in fact it was quite the opposite. There was a great story in there that lost suspense by stretching it out, and taking seven episodes to get there just didn't do the story justice.
NosferatuZodd - 3/19/2012, 7:24 PM
wish I had two more I can give this article 4 thumbs down!
Bandrews1 - 3/19/2012, 7:25 PM
Great article, I completely agree with everything you said.
brewtownpsych - 3/19/2012, 8:18 PM
WAY better show than comic. comic is meh.
Shadowelfz - 3/19/2012, 8:24 PM
I happen to agree with your analysis in everywhy but saying:

"Here is why you're ignorant, wrong and uninformed." a bit strong considering that its just your opinion, man.

brewtownpsych- Agreed. I thought the comic was pretty crappy so I was wary when this show came out. The show is amazing!
timepuzzler - 3/19/2012, 8:37 PM
eleven59 - 3/19/2012, 9:10 PM
It does show him with bullets if I remember correctly, so we just didn't see him reload a few times...

Out of all the differences each medium has, a tv show is the closest to a live action comic formula of being able to continue for a long time. This means if you found Sophia by the second episode and were off the farm by the fourth, then what??? Where do they go now? The prison for rest of the season? Then move again in season 3? They'd run out of places.

Unfortunately for people who have grown up with action movies and zombies by the thousands, a show like this is between a rock and hard place. Not enough zombies and criticized for being slow and boring... Ironically if what happened in the season finale happened ever episode, those same critics would say its predictable and boring as well!!

The key is finding a balance, and most shows don't usually find that perfect stride of writing until around season 3 ;)
AnimatedTdot - 3/19/2012, 9:27 PM
I am no a fan of zombies, but this show has made me appreciate them more mainly because like it was stated in the article quality over quantity. I like fleshed out characters, knowing why they had a reason to do what they do more often than not trumps seeing action on top of action.
MarsivNayr - 3/19/2012, 9:29 PM
I've got no complaints. NONE.
This adaptation of the comic is more than I'd hoped it'd be, even without Darabont (sadly).
I'd honestly take this show over anything else. (Though this is coming from a guy who watched every episode of Smallville…haha...)

I mean, yes, "everyone is entitled to their opinion", but look at the freakin numbers. The Walking Dead is breaking TV records; and it's not JUST because it's based off an amazing comic book.
MarsivNayr - 3/19/2012, 9:31 PM
…and well said ZombieKeven.
Dmon - 3/19/2012, 10:34 PM
Great Article I agree.
@timepuzzler LOL Love that pic.
Caedus137 - 3/20/2012, 1:36 AM
Well said mate. For me the show is a character study, a drama. The zombies are almost incidental, its about how normal people react to what is essentially the end of the world. Most of these people who want gunfights, explosions, zombie slaying and violence every single episode are quite clearly 12 year olds whose life revolves around Call Of Duty... In fact if the show WAS like that - zombie killing and gunfights every week - I'd have already stopped watching... Bring on Series 3!!!
CrowPirate1 - 3/20/2012, 5:45 AM

Good writing. I agree with most of what you said. It IS a character study. Starting with the biggest and first great ones Night of the Living Dead, it was all about the characters, stuck in a house, trying to deal with each other, and the evilness of man, and also the coming horde of the zombie killing machine.

My only complaint I had, which was addressed, was they were at the farm only 4 issues in the comic. It was a minor step towards their long stay somewhere else. Frank wanted his hunt for Sophia to trap them there, thus invoking the Night of the Living Dead sense of building tension, anger and horror while on the desperate search for a missing child.

I used my words there for a reason. I never saw or felt it being a "desperate" search, nor did I feel a building sense of tension. The pacing became so slow, the horror of the coming death machine seemed to disappear a lot. Lori showed more desperation in a few seconds of trying to find her son as they were leaving the farm than any of them did in looking for Sophia.

While the image of zombie Sophia is one of the best I ever seen... (I have it as my desktop.. her staggering out of the barn door.).. I LOVE the last few episodes now. AND I am looking forward finally to seeing more, not just tuning in. I WANT to see season 3 come as fast as it can. That's a big difference from my feelings during the middle of this season, where I just tuned in, because I needed to support one of my fav shows, whether it thrilled me.... or not.
ManThing - 3/20/2012, 6:02 AM
I do wish the show was a bit more like the books, but for what they are, I have enjoyed them pretty well.
MapleSt - 3/20/2012, 7:00 AM
As a fan of the comics I was worried about the show from day 1. Sunday nights quickly became "walking dead" night where me, friends and family would watch the show in the dark with the sound way up and discuss every episode at it's climax. I quickly saw that the show in many ways outshined the comics. The differences are pretty minor, mostly who dies or doesn't and when, and the major benefit of the show is that it gives more of a depth to all the characters. I often catch myself doing a double take, unsure if what I'm seeing is really on cable television. The violence is epic, the makeup is the best zombie work ever done...period. The cast is perfect. And the show is like a fine wine, it seems to get better with age. The last 3 episodes of season 2 are probably the best television I've ever seen. I actually cried when Dale died, and was shocked; I never realized I even liked his character. From my avatar you can tell what my favorite moment was. This show really reminds me of Night of the Living Dead.(original, of course) The zombies are really more of an after thought, background noise. The real threat to these survivors is themselves; their flawed mentalities. I can't wait for season 3.
IsaiahBradley - 3/20/2012, 7:00 AM
I enjoyed this season although as a comic reader, you scratch your head at some of the things they changed. I do agree that their reaction to Rick killing Shane was beyond stupid. His wife dam near begged him to do something about Shane. The only person that would have jumped for joy was Dale but they offed him which also shocked me. I wonder if Tyrese is going to be in season 3. I really think they dropped the ball by not introducing him and his daughter and the white kid that she *spoiler* committed suicide with. Tyrese and Michonne's relationship was a her introduction as well. Bring on the Governor. Can't wait.

MapleSt - 3/20/2012, 7:08 AM
Also..."Here is why you're ignorant, wrong and uninformed." Colorful words. I think there are only three reasons a person would not like this show: 1. they have never watched it. 2. they have only watched a few minutes of it. 3. they aren't a desensitized gore voyeur like the rest of us walking dead fans!
Z25306 - 3/20/2012, 7:12 AM
As soon as I read the line, "you're ignorant" I stopped reading. I am not going to read anything from anyone who calls someone names for disagreeing with them.
MapleSt - 3/20/2012, 7:14 AM
@IsaiahBradley Really you didn't like the melodrama that Rick killing Shane caused? It was one of the highlights, and reminded me of shakespeare. Lori did all but put the gun in Rick's hand and then acted like he was a monster after he did what she wanted. Such a clever character arch. This makes me view Lori in a whole new light, and maybe they will take her in a different direction than the comics. Instead of her just being pretty zombie-bate, she has more depth and potential; good or bad.
jugganautch - 3/20/2012, 8:18 AM
Calling your readers ignorant because they don't agree with your oh so high and mighty geek opinion?

Sorry, but season 2 DID suck and it WAS too slow.

But I guess if you sit around watching soap operas with your mom all day I guess you'd be down with it.
eisfresh - 3/20/2012, 8:53 AM
The pacing is actually the same as the comic. Sometimes it gives u a soap opera feel with the drama and love triangles. The main thing that hurts this show is that so many of the characters are not likeable.

Dale, Lori, Carl, Carole are just not likeable and annoying.
Ryguy88 - 3/20/2012, 10:12 AM
My favourite ep. of season 2 was when Rick, Hershel and the Asian boy encountered those people from another group in town. It wasn't the action but the inclusion some new characters that got me and made me realize what I didn't like the most(among other things) about the 1st half of season 2; the boring and dumb characters. Save for Rick and Shane everyone had one shtick that they rode in every situation; Hershel mentioned every 4 seconds that they were on his farm, Dale wanted everyone to know that Shane might be dangerous, Daryl just moped around all angry like, the blond chick desperately wanted to be a sharpshooter so she didn't have to do the dishes, Lori condescended people, Carl questioned people and got into stupid trouble to allow the plot to move slightly (so slightly) was just so boring how every conversation played out the same way every single time!

If there was a good plot though, like in the 2nd half, some lame supporting characters can be forgiven and if they have a solid direction to go in for season 3 than I'll be happy.

Also, I didn't like how the big climax of season 2 had nothing to do with a build up, it was just, "oh, Shane is dead...and the Zombies are coming!!" what the hell, why not at least try to get some tension going?
Ryguy88 - 3/20/2012, 10:38 AM
If you go back and recap season 2 you would get; they lose Sophia, they find the Farm, they find Zombie Sophia, they find an outsider, they debate the fate of the outsider, Rick kills Shane, some Zombies find the Farm and they have to move on. Boring!

And why the hell wouldn't they prep the shit out of that farm? It would be so easy to keep that place safe, they can see Zombies coming from 300 yards in every direction!

If anyone here watches Breaking Bad you will know that there was only one ep. that didn't move the plot along and that was 'Fly', The Walking Dead had at least 5 like that, all in one 13 episode season.

I don't hate this show, I watch it every week. I love the premise, I think most of the characters are annoying and useless and there is only enough of a plot for about 6 episodes.
Lert - 3/20/2012, 11:12 AM
Its no BREAKIN BAD!!!!
Z25306 - 3/20/2012, 12:47 PM
Has anyone noticed that Lori never, ever keeps an eye on Carl. She never notices him until he's been gone for a while then it's like, "oh yeah, where's Carl". Does she ever watch that kid??? I absolutely love this show and would have given it an A+ if they had only killed off Lori and Carl. I also hate Andrea but still wish Andrea would kick Lori's ass.

Can anyone tell me if Carl is this annoying in the comic book?
Ryguy88 - 3/20/2012, 9:24 PM
Azazel, I hate how they try to make Carl seem 'wise beyond his years' when he talks but when he acts he is just a little brat who gets into trouble so the show can slowly drag its way to a new plot point.

Actually, whenever the plot moves forward in season 2 it is entirely because of random, fluky events like stupid car accidents, throwing rocks and trapped zombies or a massive horde of zombies that happen to hear a gun shot (but only the gun shot that the writers want them to hear) when good shows, like Breaking Bad, use strong character development to naturally progress the plot.

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