Friday, April 26, 2013

How does The Walking Dead series measure up to the books?

THE WALKING DEAD - By Michael Moloney
Introduction (by contributor Jonathan Alexandratos):  I've been working with Michael Moloney for a number of months now.  Michael is 17, and hasn't had the typical U.S. high school experience (he grew up in Canada, educated outside of their standard system).  Perhaps because of this, Michael has an immense amount of knowledge, and can eloquently translate his passions into fantastic, college-level essays.  He is passionate about THE WALKING DEAD, and produced the below piece which analyzes both the comic book and the TV series according to three of Robert Kirkman's criteria for a good zombie narrative, which he lays out in Volume 1 of the trades.  As you read this essay, you'll see that Michael has obtained and harnessed a great talent for writing, at a very young age.  I also think you'll find his points about the comic and the show both sophisticated and intriguing.  Here's Michael's work:
THE WALKING DEAD by Michael Moloney
The Walking Dead is a unique series, as it deals with people pushed to the limits of themselves just to survive against hordes of the walking dead. I prefer the comic to the show, but that's mostly because of the “television changes.” What I mean by this is TV shows will often have to change the vision from the original. In other words they have to up the drama and character bonding to attract a wider viewer base. The comic however is much more streamlined with the horror aspect as well as the drama and character development. For instance, there will often be minor problems in the comic that are resolved easily, whereas in the show it takes 2 issues in the comic for 2 seasons (like the Lori and Shane storyline). But at least they kept the ending to that issue the same, where Carl shoots Shane thru the neck to protect his father (this is the first and last time I liked Carl in the show).The three criteria that Robert Kirkman, the writer of the comic, put in place to make his story as good as it is (as set forth in Vol. 1 of the trade collections) are: dealing with extreme situations, Rick changing throughout the series, and having a realistic Zombie Apocalypse.

The characters barely ever get a breather as something almost always goes wrong as quickly as it goes right. That is definitely one of the series’ selling points that there’s rarely a dull moment. The way most of the instances are delivered is brilliant as well as realistic to a degree. So here's how our survivors’ luck holds out: they start off in a camp just outside of Atlanta, which soon gets overrun by zombies, who, in turn, eat a good chunk of the group (depending on medium). They then make their way to a farm where Karl gets shot, which I rather enjoyed. Could you say why this plot point was a favorite? They stay at farm until it gets overrun by zombies. Currently they are in a prison but given the pattern that's going on, I have a feeling I know where that's going.

The main character, Rick, starts off as a small town cop put in a coma after being shot, only to find, when he wakes up, all hell's broken loose, literally. This is my favorite way to begin a zombie story because of the sense of being completely unprepared, as well it eliminates one of the make or break points: how the outbreak started. Rick changes through out the series as things get more and more hopeless (best friend sleeping with wife, who then tries to kill him, wife dies, lose home after home, friends constantly dying around him, and now he has a tyrannical Governor beating down their door), to the point were he goes a little mad, but we all go a little mad sometimes.

This series is a shining example of what the zombie  apocalypse would be like. It's gritty, dark, hopeless, and best of all there are insane morality choices the characters are forced to make just to survive. Not to mention that zombies aren't the only thing trying to kill them, but humans as well. Then there's the zombies, who look absolutely putrid, which is a good thing believe me. The make-up team is the best at making disgusting, scary, yet plausible zombie make up.

In conclusion. The Walking Dead is a great well rounded series. Unfortunately I don't see them doing well in the long term. Because people will lose interest since the show has a pretty noticeable pattern going on. With that said they could save it if they recycled the story with a new group of survivors. But other than that even the crowds' love of Daryl can't save it from its impeding extinction.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Wakling Dead - Hope you can wait until October!

“Welcome to the Tombs”

So this is it, y’all.  Does anyone else feel like this entire season has been building to this episode?  There were a couple of excellent stand-alone types, but all of it lead to what happened last night.

The episode opens with an extreme close-up of an eye ball and I’m creeped out.  It’s the Governor’s remaining eye and we’re seeing him from the perspective of the person he’s dragging down a hallway.  It’s Milty the science guy being dragged and the Governor stops to fill him in on what it’s been like being Governor recently.  Milty evokes the memory of Penny and it doesn’t work because the Governor is loooong gone.  Milty is now with Andrea in the torture chamber and the Governor wants Milty to kill her.  Instead Milty goes for the Governor who deftly disarms him and stabs Milty in the gut.  Before he leaves them to die, the Governor says, “In this life now, you kill or you die.  Or you die and you kill.”  Heavy.

At the prison, Carl is looking at the family photo and then packs it up.  In fact everyone is packing.  Carl doesn’t want to talk to Rick and is kind of proving that kids not only need to be kids but need a home and some stability.  Stupid zombie apocalypse.  Michonne understands Rick and his struggles as to whether or not he was going to hand her over to the Governor.  In fact she seems really cool about it but probably because he chose to not sacrifice her.  They kind of have a moment together, a total understanding of each other, and it’s kind of nice. 

In Woodbury, the Governor is giving his best St. Crispin’s Day speech to get the townsfolk ready to do some killin’ but Tyrese and Sasha aren’t biting.  They’re all for killing walkers but refuse to kill the living.  Instead they offer to stay behind and protect the women, children, and old folk.  The Governor isn’t thrilled but doesn’t waste time arguing.  They arrive at the prison, shoot up the place and find an empty cell block.  They hear some noises down a hall, go to investigate and wander right into a trap full of shooting and walkers.  The Woodbury folk flee and one kid presumably gets left behind and wanders up to a hiding-in-the-woods Carl, Hershel and Beth.  He’s about to surrender his large gun but Carl just shoots him anyway.  Whoa.  Hershel and Beth are rightly horrified as am I.  Hershel tells Rick who can’t and won’t understand why Carl would do such a thing but he knows Hershel wouldn’t exaggerate such things.

Back in Woodbury, Milty is slowing dying while Andrea is slowly trying to free herself by getting a pair of pliers off the ground with her feet.  She finally gets them but Milty is now undead. 

On the way back to Woodbury, the Governor stops the caravan and starts yelling at people to go back and finish the job.  They start bitching and moaning so she just slaughters all of them.  Allen is included even though he was all for avenging his son. 

Rick tries to talk to Carl and help him understand what surrender looks like but Carl is too busy thinking Rick isn’t killing enough people.  If he was a bit more lethal folks like Lori, Merle and a few others might still be alive.  Ouch.  So Rick, Michonne, and Daryl head off to kill the Governor once and for all and find the slaughtered Woodbury folk.  They also find the one woman the Governor missed.  She goes back to Woodbury with them, helps convince Tyrese and Sasha about their intentions and how the Governor has snapped.  Well she came in handy.  Rick then figures that Andrea might still be in Woodbury somewhere and miraculously guesses she would be where they had kept Glenn and Maggie.  She’s there and still barely alive after a tussle with Milty.  Oh happy day!  Nope, wait, Milty bit her.  Damn.  And it’s in the neck so there’s no cutting off of an appendage to save her.  Double damn.  Michonne cries.  Rick comforts. And Andrea does the valiant thing by ending her troubles on her own terms.  At least she left this crappy life knowing she really tried to keep everyone alive.  Rick leaves her in the room with Michonne and a revolver.  He, Tyrese and Daryl stand there waiting and we hear a single shot and I swear I heard a little gasp from Michonne.

It’s the next morning and a different caravan pulls up to the prison.  Rick’s brought back lots of supplies and a bus full of people who were too young or too old to be soldiers in the Governor’s little army.  Rick, thanks to Andrea, knows you can’t go through this life alone so he’s decided to try and give his son a community.  Maybe Carl will have a chance to do some kid-type things for once.  Rick looks up to find his Lori hallucination but she’s gone.  I’m guessing he thinks he’s doing the right thing for once and doesn’t need her anymore. 

Also, the Governor lives.  Damn.