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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