Friday, April 20, 2012

The Walking Dead

Season 2 (2011-12)
Following their escape from the CDC, the group is back on the road as things become bleaker and bleaker in the face of the seemingly hopeless zombie apocalypse. A near tragic accident soon places them in the hands of a Southern landowner and his spacious farm, as the camp begins to split into two factions and more secrets regarding their situation come to the forefront. The sophomore season of "The Walking Dead" retains many of the elements that made the first season so engaging such as strong tension and great location shooting. However, the acting largely remains grating and amateurish and the plot continually goes in circles, with intriguing developments few and far between. Again, I found much of the season to be effective but based on the strength of the remaining cast and the circular and now tiresome nature of the plot, I fear the show has little where else it can go. 
** 1/2

Season 1 (2010)
Zombies have had a staying power in the movies for awhile now, and I never understood why. So when I checked out The Walking Dead only because of AMC's recently formed reputation for original programming, I was pleasantly surprised. The story takes place in a town outside of Atlanta, where police officer Rick Grimes has just been shot in a shootout. When he awakens, he finds dead bodies strewn along the hospital corridor and no sign of the townspeople anywhere. Instead, they have been replaced by fleshed eating zombies. With help given by a father and son who have stayed, and hope kept alive by signs that his own wife and son are still alive, Officer Rick sets out to Atlanta on a quest to find his family. In addition to battling the hoards of undead who have seemingly overrun the country, Rick and the other survivors he encounters must also battle themselves. The Walking Dead  was developed from a graphic novel by Frank Darabont, the filmmaker who made a career out of adapting Stephen King's work. Here his greatest strengths are the plot developments and the action sequences, which are well realized and exciting. Where he falls short is the human stories, which ranges from mushy to overly dramatic, and they are carried out by mostly poor actors. The fact that this is amateur hour in the acting department should have taken a bigger toll on how I responded, but I was so drawn into the action that I almost didn't mind.