Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Top 10 Tuesdays - Why The Walking Dead TV Show Was Great

The first season of The Walking Dead is over. It’s been emotional, that’s for sure. It’s also been one of the best works of comic adaptation to the screen ever. I’ll stand by that statement. This show is well made (direction, scripting, acting, effects, etc) and it’s been a pleasure to watch every week. But the first season is only 6 episodes so it’s a quick little tour of this zombie world. Let’s look at the top ten reasons why this show is such a success, and so much fun to watch.

1 - Andrew Lincoln

The story, both comic and TV, is an ensemble landscape. It’s all about everyone and yet at its core it’s all about Rick Grimes. If you’ve read the comic you’ll know he goes through Hell, and worse, over much time. It’s a gruelling role and casting it was always going to be the most important part. You need to hook people with this man, this hero, this icon. There was early talk about many actors getting the role. I heard mention of Mark Pellegrino (Jacob on LOST) and I really liked that idea. I was let down they didn’t go with him but I was also just as excited and sure that the hiring of Andrew Lincoln was a brilliant idea. The guy is likeable and a good actor. I’ve said it before but Teachers was one hell of a show. Lincoln is an actor that just owns the screen and watching him play American has been a solid showing.

This guy is going to carry the show, I have no doubt about that. He has the range to do everything needed of him and he’ll become a much bigger success due to this show. It’s nice to see a pairing of actor and character work so well on the screen.

2 - Shane

In the comic, Shane doesn’t get the sort of treatment he’s receiving in the show. Shane, as brought to life by Jon Bernthal, is someone I’m actually starting to like and feel for. Shane is a real man with true motivations and you can see things working against him and it’s not completely his fault. He did try his best to do what was right and it’s just crumbled around him. Such a shame but such great drama. This show is so much richer and stranger because of the development put into Shane. It’s a smart choice and one that’s working well on every level.

3 - KNB effects

A show about zombies was always going to need to look good. This show looks very damn good and that’s in large part due to the KNB Effects group. They’ve historically shown they’ve got the goods to make any gory situation look quality and they don’t hold back here. I am really glad that Darabont made the decision to go with what might just be the best in the industry right now (certainly at the top with the masters). They make the violence feel real and they make the zombies look like good old fun and that’s a very fun thing to see. You’re never taken out of the story by a goofy looking walker, it’s just always quality.

4 - Rooker

How can you go wrong with Michael Rooker? The guy has more street cred than he knows what to do with and here he uses it to play a character he can really sink his teeth into. He’s an idiot fool and a man who is put into a seriously messy situation. Rooker gets to ham it up to the point where he’s turned himself into fine and delicate bacon. He is the role and you just want to see more. The show leaves Rooker in a great place and I wonder when/if he’ll ever return. I’ll cast my bet now that he’ll return as the Governor. That’s a long shot but one worth well considering. Just imagine it.

5 - Tangents

The show is beholden to the comic, in most places, but sometimes it takes liberties and makes changes or adds in more. It’s the sort of thing that might anger some fans but on the whole it’s made the show live its own life on the screen. All of the new characters might just feel like fodder to be set up, and surely some of them are, but some are really bringing something extra with them. The entire Morgan scene in the first episode was the perfect opportunity to show that adding more can be completely effective. Daryl and Merle are great ideas that can be played for some time. Shane has been changed and very much for the better. The whole CDC trip almost lost me but then it showed that the show can tangent off into something new and different but it can also end up right back on the same track as the comic. It’s world building that works completely and that’s a very good thing. I’m happy for the show to give a little something more because I don’t feel the show needs to be a literal translation of the comic panel for panel. It’s going to be something slightly different and maybe even better…

6 - Character Actors

It’s a smart move to pepper the cast with true character actors. None of these actors are true A-list superstars and so they’re able to better inhabit the roles they have been assigned. Lincoln, Bernthal, and Rooker I have discussed but the likes of Norman Reedus and Laurie Holden really bring a quality and immersion to the show that is needed. You must sell the concept and that is really happening here. You also need to look at someone like Jeffrey DeMunn who obviously completely trusts Frank Darabont and so he’s bringing class and quality to his role as Dale. Everyone brings something to the screen and that’s something you absolutely must have in a good show.

7 - Zombies On TV

Come on, stop and think for a second, can you believe we have a zombie show on TV? It’s just insane and awesome on a pure level somewhere in the back of your brain. A genre that’s usually confined to the back of the rental store and hidden behind terrible covers and here it is in a massively successful show that’s busting ratings and critical ceilings. It’s amazing and about bloody time. I love zombies, love them, but the quality zombie movies are few and far between. As a whole, there’s definitely more crud out there than the good stuff. But now that’s all changed because I just got 6 weeks’ worth of very high quality zombie fare. And I’m going to get more next year and it’s sating my urges for the walking undead gore. I love that there’s zombies on TV, I just hope no one else tries to cash in with their zombie addition. This is not a cash cow, people.

8 - Robert Kirkman

He’s the brains behind the comic. He thought it up, he wrote it, and now he gets to work on the show. It was a smart move to bring Kirkman in to make the adaptation a more pure process. It’s also interesting then to note that Kirkman penned an episode and it might have been the weakest entry in the season. And it’s still a pretty good episode. But mostly, you just feel like this whole endeavour is a labour of love. Kirkman gets to have a say, he gets to guide, and it can only be stronger for that input. No one really knows this story, these characters, like Kirkman. It is very smart to keep him around.

9 - AMC Is Not Afraid

I love that AMC just is not afraid. They’ll show whatever the hell they feel on the small screen. They’ll kill whatever characters they want. They’ll dwell on the zombie killing with blood and screaming and it all feels like something that isn’t a TV show because generally this stuff doesn’t come across on the tube. Especially not in prime time and with such fanfare. I get the feeling that this show will do whatever it wants, and this is one of the strengths of the comic. No one is safe and that feeling has transferred perfectly to TV>

10 - The Comic Still Exists

It’s awesome, have you checked it out? I can only hope that if someone likes this show then they’ll give the comic a chance. The comic is so damn good and there’s so much of it available. If I had come across this show and not the comic then I would want to get the comic. I would absolutely want to know what would be coming down the line. You race years ahead of the show and then get to see how well it is adapted. But I’m also the kind of guy who loves to read the novel before the film.

But in general, the comic is one of the best comics being published today. It has retained a sense of quality and abandon that makes it a thrill to read in every issue and trade. If you love the show then you are almost guaranteed to love the comic. So go buy it, now.


There’s plenty more reasons why this show is awesome but I’m sure we can at least agree that it is awesome. It’s a fanlad delight and I’m hooked completely. Why did you like this show? Or possibly more interesting, did you not like this show, and if not why? Hit up the comments below to let me know.

Related Posts


Andrenn said...

A very cool list, Ryan. I watched the first Season of Walking Dead and to sum up my thoughts: it was good. It had some great moments but I don't think it was the best or one of the best comic adaptations out there. It was good and had a lot of really good moments but I had some complaints that kept me from loving it as much as most people.

Probably my biggest complaint is the affair. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen Season 1 or read the comics so I'll keep hush hush but the way its done is really annoying. In the comics the affair is played more as a desperate heat of the moment, whereas in the show its more flashy and sexy. More like the typical Hollywood affairs we see in movies.

I disliked the abusive Husband character. Mostly because he's one of those oh-so annoying characters that purely exists to get killed off. He's an abusive husband, he dies, no one cares or remembers him afterwards.

But even with my complaints I have to agree with a lot of your praise. Its great that the show isn't holding itself back strictly by what the comics did. That's something that could have really hurt it. I like a lot of the actors and their performances, especially Dale who was my favorite character from the comic.

I like what they did with Shane, it adds a new wild card to Season 2 where we have no idea what's going to happen with him. I can't wait to see where they take the character.

I loved the effects of the show. The zombie designs were spectacularly detailed and creepy. That's what zombies should look like. Decayed, rotting, limbs missing and big chunks of their heads missing. Awesome stuff.

Having a Zombie TV show like this is incredibly great. I love Zombie movies like the classic Romero dead films but never in a million years did I think we'd get a show like this, that's this gore filled and brutal. Its great seeing that AMC isn't holding the series back.

So I really do like the show, not as much as you and most people but for 6 episodes the 1st season was a strong start and I'm excited to see where Season 2 goes. Now I just need to order Book 3...

max "nekron" power said...

@andrenn:In the comics the affair is played more as a desperate heat of the moment, whereas in the show its more flashy and sexy

i agree with you in that, because here, lori looks like a whore, in the comic was just one mistake and you get to understand it, i also dislike some zombie scenes, when they're in the mall and one zombie uses a rock to break the glass or when they climb, come on, i like dumb zombies not smart ones

brandon said...

Huge fan of the comic and thought the tv show was ok. Not terrible but not great either.

The main reasons I wasn't that into the show were:

1) I never felt like any of the characters were in danger. It felt like a camping trip. Sure, the camp got invaded but that had plenty of cars and supplies and weapons to escape or defend themselves. The danger was because they weren't paying attention not because of the apocalypse.

2) The plot holes drove me nuts. They defend the camp constantly.....except at night while sitting around the camp fire? Rick has a grenade but doesnt chuck it off the building to attract the zombies so they could escape? It goes on and ON.

3) The nursing home episode was just dreadful. I'm all for bringing in new characters and new scenes but this entire episode was laughable. So Glenn is held at gun point about to be thrown off the building roof and the next scene he is untied and caring for the people his captors are protecting? I guess this more of a plot hole but it helped sink the episode.

4) The affair mentioned above. It made Lori an unlikeable characters.

5) Super zombies as mentioned above.

The only two episodes I thought were great was the first one and the last one. I am hoping next season will stay more along those lines.

I am glad so many folks like it though. I have seen a bunch of new readers picking up the trades in my LCS based on the show. It's a good thing for sure.

Anonymous said...

Robert Kirkman has said that Michael Rooker will NOT be the Governor.

Tim said...

Amen on #6 and #7. AMC really pulled out the big guns here.

I like the balance between story and gore. Where else do you watch a character kiss their zombie sibling and then blow their brains out?

Anonymous said...

the acting was horrible, the rest of it was okay.

oakleyses said...

prada handbags, christian louboutin shoes, kate spade, kate spade outlet, tiffany and co, replica watches, longchamp outlet, tory burch outlet, tiffany jewelry, coach outlet store online, nike air max, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses wholesale, ray ban sunglasses, prada outlet, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin, michael kors outlet, burberry handbags, polo outlet, gucci handbags, coach outlet, nike outlet, burberry outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, coach outlet, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin outlet, michael kors outlet online, jordan shoes, chanel handbags, nike air max, michael kors outlet store, nike free, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet online, christian louboutin uk, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online

oakleyses said...

hollister uk, true religion jeans, louboutin pas cher, new balance, north face, guess pas cher, nike air max, converse pas cher, michael kors, air max, michael kors pas cher, ray ban uk, ray ban pas cher, true religion outlet, polo lacoste, sac vanessa bruno, true religion outlet, longchamp pas cher, nike tn, hollister pas cher, north face uk, sac hermes, ralph lauren uk, nike roshe, coach purses, true religion outlet, timberland pas cher, michael kors outlet, burberry pas cher, nike free run, lululemon canada, jordan pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, oakley pas cher, vans pas cher, hogan outlet, mulberry uk, nike air force, polo ralph lauren, nike blazer pas cher

oakleyses said...

ferragamo shoes, north face outlet, instyler, nike air max uk, nfl jerseys, nike roshe run uk, asics running shoes, new balance shoes, mont blanc pens, abercrombie and fitch uk, mcm handbags, bottega veneta, p90x workout, soccer shoes, chi flat iron, nike trainers uk, wedding dresses, abercrombie and fitch, mac cosmetics, jimmy choo outlet, nike huaraches, nike free uk, reebok outlet, north face outlet, babyliss, hermes belt, soccer jerseys, nike air max uk, beats by dre, ghd hair, hollister, nike roshe run, giuseppe zanotti outlet, vans outlet, valentino shoes, insanity workout, longchamp uk, lululemon, herve leger, celine handbags

oakleyses said...

iphone 6 cases, juicy couture outlet, oakley, gucci, timberland boots, marc jacobs, pandora charms, karen millen uk, swarovski, converse, nike air max, pandora uk, baseball bats, swarovski crystal, coach outlet, ralph lauren, links of london, ray ban, hollister, montre pas cher, lancel, toms shoes, louboutin, vans, hollister, nike air max, pandora jewelry, juicy couture outlet, replica watches, wedding dresses, converse outlet, supra shoes, thomas sabo, hollister clothing

Post a Comment

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Crisis - Comic Book Review Blog. Comments are always appreciated. You can sign in and comment with any Google, Wordpress, Live Journal, AIM, OpenID or TypePad account.