Pretty Much Dead Already

I always have a lot to say about entertainment. I created this blog as an avenue to post reviews and few other fun tidbits. But I have some essays in mind that don’t really fit  the blog. I have set up a Blirt page for these essays (including my defense of Sons of Anarchy post). I’m not sure how I like Blirt but I am going to try it out. You never know, they may just end up living on this blog. So here’s my latest essay to ease you in. Now got to my Blirt page! LoL

Is The Walking Dead ready for its own spin off?

The Walking Dead is highly popular, besting ratings for a basic cable drama. TWD spans the age and gender gap brining in 12.4 million viewers for its Season 3 finale. The source material comes from a long running comic series by Robert Kirkman. Keeping some creative control, Kirkman has helped the show thrive. Now AMC wants to capture that same spirit again and create a spin off about a separate group of survivors with no link to the comic books.

As a fan of both the show and the comic, I think this is premature. Season 1 was a perfect example of using dramatic story telling themes and dressing them up with horror elements. While people complained Season 2 was slow, it stuck with the character developments and the theme that people are the most dangerous aspect of the apocalypse (a big theme from the comics). But Season 3 veers from this quite a bit. Adding more zombies and blood shed may have added more ratings, but it made the characters and story take the back burner thus decreasing the quality of the show. The other major issue with Season 3? The stories of the different groups became more and more segregated separating the prison from Woodbury and breaking up the character development flow and ease of storytelling.

Robert Kirkman
Robert Kirkman (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Besides, TWD has been rife with controversy and issues in its three seasons. Season 4 brings yet another shower runner, Scott Gimple whose past credits include being a staff writer. Frank Darabount was fired in the midst of Season 2 and Glenn Mazara took his place for the rest of the season as well as the next. The high rate of show runner turnover is bothersome and indicates that there is incredible tension between AMC and the cast and crew. Season 2 was haunted by rumors that actors wanted out of their contracts because of AMC’s actions. What will happen when current producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert take time to develop this new show? Will the staff be able to maintain a balance that does not injure either show?

Successful spin off have occurred while the current show is still on air. Buffy the Vampire Slayers did not suffer as Joss Wheadon and crew spent time on Angel. Both shows stayed true to the themes and thought provoking look at life Buffy viewers became accustomed to. While Buffy came of age at college, Angel headed down a darker path to redemption. This spin off allowed several of the Buffyverse characters to really expand and become utilized.  Wheadon worked with a trusted team and made the spin off a natural story line expansion for the world he set.

One the flip side, spin offs can go array and cause harm to the original show. One of the most current and notorious examples? Criminal Minds. CBS decided it was time to take Criminal Minds in the same direction of CSI and NCIS, creating another show focusing on another crew of profilers. In setting up the new show, the production company began looking at nonresistant issues and cost cutting efforts for the original show. They essentially fired the two female leads, and replaced them with a different, less costly actress.  Meanwhile, the amazing Kirsten Vangsness was playing double time, appearing in both shows. The story lines faltered as the writers tried to find reasonable ways to remove the current cast members and add the new girl in. These story lines were not in cannon (Seaver questioned Reid and played videogames with Rossi) and the crew purposely styled the new girl’s hair and clothing like that of one of the fired actresses. Fans revolted sending irate letters and refusing to tune in to the spin off. By Season 6’s end, the new girl was fire and the previously released women were brought back-with better pay. And the spin off died.

While The Walking Dead spin off could go either way, I believe the endeavor will take its toll on the original show. The show already suffers from mismanagement, and separating Kirkman, Hurt and Alpert, even for the short time, will quite possibly kill it. While I can’t even speculate on the quality of the spin off, I know it’s a screwdriver to the eye for TWD.

Thoughts on the New Season of The Walking Dead

This post contains two parts: the first a general review of the premier episode and contains no spoilers. The second part, after the photos, looks the episode in relation to the comic book. This CONTAINS spoilers.

Season 3 starts out with a very different group of survivors. While we know the faces, but the quite, their dedication to Rick’s word are new. The opening sequence is a silent crew taking out zombies in a house. They have to move on and not one word is spoken. It is the Rickatorship.

The changes don’t stop there. The opening title sequence is new reminding us who we’ve lost, and, who we gained. Even those familiar faces have changed some. After making it through the winter Carl looks as if he is becoming a young man, Lori is very, very pregnant, and Hershel has turned into Santa Clause.

The survivors happen upon a prison which they strive to make their home. Now the whole group is pulling their weight wilt Carl, Lori and Carol armed and ready. Meanwhile, Michonne and Andrea have survived the winter though Andrea isn’t doing so well. They are still separated from the group and not much was shown about their current location.

The episode shows Rick in his true comic form. If you thought Shane was aggressive, you ain’t seen nothing yet. On that note, Carol mentions that Shane would have never gotten this far. As a Team Shane member, I find this untrue and mean, especially coming from Carol. While the writers were trying to point out Shane’s death was the best option, coming from Carol it’s cruel because if it weren’t for Shane, she would still stuck on the road with an abusive husband.

While the violence quotient is high, some of the most interesting issues are personal relationship. Is there a budding romantic relationship between Carol and Daryl?  But moreover, what’s going on with Lori and Rick? Why won’t Rick have a conversation about the impending birth of his child? Is the Shane aspect affecting him worse than he ever let on?

Season 3 looks to keep up the zombie action fans are used to, as well as a quickened storyline. As always with TWD, it is the relationship between the survivors and their fight to keep their humanity that makes this show stand out as more than just a monster show. I look forward to seeing them making the prison their home and what becomes of fan favorite Michonne now that she is live on our TV screen.

Reflections on the Episode with the Comic Book in Mind

Contains spoilers

The latest season of The Walking Dead seems very much to mimic the comic than it has. The group has found the prison, emptying the zombies, but still taken by surprise, finding the convicts, and Rick is now the man to reckon with. Though there is a lot that can’t follow the comic (Dale is dead and it seems that Michonne and Andrea will encounter The Governor first), it seems to be a season that will be more faithful to the original material than some of the others.

Case in point: don’t get too attached the Hershel. His zombie bite and first aid puts him in the role of Alan and for those who know the comic book, also know his fate. This does take him from his original arc, but he makes me wonder if they are going to cut off somebody’s hand this season.

Things that I want to see that follows the comic: Lori dies, but I want the baby to live. Lori’s incarnation in the TV show is atrocious, week with bad parenting skills. She is not like the strong female presented in the comics.

I want Tyreese. You gave us Michonne now give me this character. Speaking of characters, I am very happy that they scaled down Hershel’s family because I won’t see two little girls slaughter. But what will this bring for a psychopathic convict?

While I am sure there are many surprises, I look forward to seeing certain themes and events transpire as I struggle to find a new favorite character.

The Walking Dead Drinking Game

The Walking Dead (season 2)

The Walking Dead (season 2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In celebration of Season 2’s release I have designed a game based on this latest installment. The game can be played two ways:

  1. With a      caffeinated drink to stay away while a season marathon
  2. With      adult beverages for those having a Walking Dead party

Instructions:

Drink from your chosen beverage anytime the following actions happen:

Shane is right (Team Shane)

Shane gets red faced and yells (those non Team Shane)

Rick is conflicted over a decision

Dale gets into someone else’s business

Lori whines

Carl is alone without a guardian

Andrea suggests leaving

Daryl kills something

Hershel talks about God and the Christian way even though he wants to do the non- Christian thing (throw them off the farm

Carol says “Sophia”

T-Dog gets a line

Maggie’s Southern drawl comes out

Glenn is manipulated