As much as I love zombies (and I do love them), I must express my disappointment in the Season Two premiere episode of The Walking Dead. This show based on a graphic novel was off to a terrific start last season with (what I consider to be) an accurate portrayal of what a post-zombie attack world might be like. Characters learned by trial and deadly error what did and didn’t work as they adapted to living in a world over run by the undead.
The much anticipated sophomore season began Sunday and I was hesitant to watch the 90-minute premiere for fear it would be a letdown. I read about behind-the-scenes issues with Frank Darabont who developed the show, fearing the “authenticity” he brought to the show would be lost. That combined with limitations of graphic violence on television and endless commercial interruptions left behind the shell of a show. The characters are more caricatures, which entirely misses the point of sharing any post-apocalyptic story that ought to explore the psychological challenges of adjusting to an unreal reality.
To make up for this disappointment I may just play 28 Days Later on a loop this weekend. One of my all-time favorite movies, this story captures the complete experience of living in a world dominated by zombies - the horrifying type that run. A film can show more gore, which is by definition necessary in a zombie flick, but it is also uninterrupted so you can grow anxious with the characters and invest in their plight, which just does not happen on television.
I have not given up on The Walking Dead. It is worth watching for the incredible, Emmy-winning prosthetic make-up. The show certainly looks like what I imagine the world after the zombie war will look like, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the least. But gnarled teeth, bared bones and gooey entrails alone do not make a successful television show, despite what the ratings may suggest. I’ll give TWD another four episodes to right itself. Good luck in the battle for DVR survival Deputy Grimes.