I don't know how many of you have been watching "The Walking Dead". It's broadcast on an obscure-to-Canadians channel called AMC, which used to stand for American Movie Classics, and today stands for... well, I'm not sure what it stands for. The movies they run are not usually classics.
AMC is the home channel for "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad". It was the home channel for this year's monotonous spy thriller, "Rubicon", canceled after one season. And, now, it's the home channel for "The Walking Dead".
The show is based on a comic book of the same name. It's been published for several years now. It's a book about a police officer who gets shot and wakes up in the hospital when something has happened and the dead have risen from their graves as zombies and hunt down the remaining humans as a food source.
There are people, lots of them, who adore the series. I spent more money last year than I should have to buy the first 10 volumes of the collected series, representing the first 60 issues of the comic. Bought 'em with the intention of reading 'em on vacation last year.
It's in black and white, which is something they did to save money. The artwork is... well, it's hard to describe. Everybody looks the same. It is hard to tell what's going on from panel to panel, page to page. I made it as far as volume 4 or so in 2009 before not picking up any of them. All 10 volumes are in my bedroom, in a drawer, awaiting reading. They can wait a while longer.
People love the series, but I don't. The idea of it is grand: Humans trying to survive in a world that has no power, little food, limited resources, trying to keep from being killed by zombies, and rising themselves. It has a "been there, done that" sense to it that is hard to overlook. The artwork leaves so much to be desired that it's pointless to wade through it. And, things like the dialogue need work. The book is a disappointment.
Which brings us to the tv show.
I heard about a year ago that this flawed series would become a tv show. I thought, "Great. Maybe they can draw upon the good parts of the book and ignore the rest." The fact that Frank Darabont would be on board to direct the first episode was all good.
The first episode debuted on October 31st, Hallowe'en night. It was terrific. Suspenseful. Well-acted. Gross. Even touching in the right places.
The second episode sucked. I don't want to talk about it.
The third episode was better than the second one. Which is not to say it was good. It was just better than episode 2.
The fourth one, which I just finished watching, was pretty good. I'm at the point where it's hard to remember what happened in those early issues. The people who died in the book are dying on the tv show, and the gore level is at a point that's hard to dismiss.
The tv show has a comic book feel to it that I am not fond of. Once again, the dialogue is often trite and tiresome. I don't know much more about the characters now than I did 3 weeks ago. There is a female character who cheated on her husband with his best friend, because she feared her husband dead. Read it in the book; it's on tv show. And it doesn't ring true. Other characters do stupid things, in mere service to the plot.
There are 2 more episodes left in this short season. I'm looking forward to seeing them. I still want to see where they take these characters.
But I don't think I'll be back for season 2.