-this is a plea to the writers of a great show, begging them to not let it die a more horrible death than the zombies pictured within. It is spoiler-heavy and should be read with caution or probably avoided if that is a problem for you.
I attended the 2010 NYCC and I can tell you the excitement for The Walking Dead becoming a weekly TV show was more than intense. The line for the advance panel probably presented a fire hazard from the amount of people waiting. For fans of the comic, if you remember the herd from issue 59, there were more of us on that line. And the excitement was met with a fantastic premiere episode; I still shed a tear when I think about that horse. But then the unthinkable happened: the show started to get boring. The show deviated from the original story which was not a terrible thing, but the core story element, survival, was replaced with interpersonal drama. The second season was half wasted looking for a dead girl. Yes, it was a poignant moment when zombie Sophia walked out of the barn, but it was also a big WTF moment as fans realized that the first half of season two was a load of overly dramatic bullshit whose payoff smelled even more foul. Now I want the show to succeed, especially now that I see glimpses of hope in the previews. However, I still think there are some elements needed to “keep ‘Dead' alive.”
LET THE BODIES HIT THE FLOOR Jay-Z said “We don't believe you, you need more people,” and more is exactly what the show needs. Nine episodes into the second season and we have only seen zombies go in on two unlucky bastards. Rick blasting the two guys in the bar was awesome, but the show is based upon a zombie apocalypse; give us more zombie-related deaths, preferably gruesome ones. The problem lies in the casting, or lack of. There simply are not enough people on the show to get rid of. I perfectly understand that the writers are not ready to get rid of core cast members (yet), but the show feels like it needs some “red shirts” to spice things up a bit. At present, there are a good chunk of people on the show that I am pretty sure no one gives a crap about. Prime example, while I am all about black guys surviving a zombie apocalypse, no one is really going to care if T-Dog dies. The same goes for Carol and Beth; can somebody please eat them soon?
MICHONNE No, I am not doing a Michael Jackson impression, I am speaking of a pivotal character in the series named Michonne. Rumors have it that she will be appearing soon, but that raises additional issues. First, who would play her? Michonne has a muscular build and still looks good in a dress. We would need a dark-skinned actress in above average shape that looks good naked. We would also need a few more black men on the show because while she does not seem to have issue with cream in her coffee, she definitely likes her chocolate. Aside from the visual, we also need someone who can do a good Gollum impression. Michonne was alone for a long time and I think she probably started talking to her “pets” and answering back for them. She survived on her own for over a year by walking around with her dead boyfriend and his best friend, whose mandibles and arms she had removed. Her pets apparently threw off her live scent as she would walk past scores of the undead. That visual and scenes of her talking to herself would be great material for several episodes. I am pretty sure her part has been cast already; rumor was that True Blood cast member Rutina Wesley would play the role, but it seems that was shot down. Whoever they get, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that this pivotal character is done right..
THE GOVERNOR It would literally be programming suicide to leave this guy out of the story. The Walking Dead is a horror story and most people think it is about undead monsters. Zombies are the least of the survivors’ worries when they meet this individual. The Governor is the single most monstrous thing to hit the pages of this story to date and he will single handedly bring in many new viewers. He literally changes the game, providing one of the two major “cannot be unseen” moments of the story. There would be at least half a season worth of episodes based upon the hospitality he shows to Glen, Michonne and Rick. There could even be a miniseries side story based off the book “The Rise of The Governor.” I have seen pictures online where people have suggested that Danny Trejo play his character. I could definitely see him in the role, but I think I would prefer someone that looks a bit scummier.
CARL The transition of young Carl Grimes from page to screen thus far has been pretty decent. The issue is that he has been pushed into the background somewhat by the writers. Carl should not come to the forefront only when he is hurt or scared. He truly is his father's son and they have to show that this “child” can and does handle business just as, if not more directly than Rick. When Lori said “he is becoming cold” on the show, that foreshadows a lot of the things he has done in the book. I have a feeling we may get a glimpse of that within the net two episodes though.
STOP LETTIN' THE FLIES OUT Rick shooting the two guys in the bar was the first jaw-drop moment for the season and it had better not be the last one. The pep talk that Lori gave Rick at the end of the “Triggerfinger” episode is a lead up to one of these moments and the casual fans will be blown away if it plays out the way it is supposed to from the books. If anyone is interested, check out issue 6 of the comic series, page 20. There are also the aforementioned moments that cannot be unseen. As much as I want the creators to stick to the original plot, I don’t know if they could put these moments on TV. Again, if you are interested, issue 48, page 10 is the first one and that was pretty awful. The second comes much later in issue 83, a splash image that covers pages 18-19. That picture literally messed me up for a while. The tone of the show however calls for moments like this and it is very easy to produce different ones as we saw at the end of “Nebraska.” Probably the most powerful aspect of that scene was the look in Rick’s eyes. It is just like the look he has when Lori tells him about Shane. “Protecting what is his” is a driving force behind the Rick Grimes that comic fans love and both he and others are going to need to shock the hell out of viewers to keep the story going.
I had a love/hate relationship with this comic series. They put this group through all kinds of insane shit. At certain points, things got so depressing that I did not want to read the book anymore. The problem there was twofold. The book comics are written so well that you can’t stop, even if you want to. You just have to know what happens next. On that same note, you figure that things have to get better because they cannot get worse, but you would be wrong. I was serious when I said that the governor was the single worst thing to happen to the group. But when you reach the pinnacle in quality, you top it with quantity. The prison will be both the best and the worst for the group and done well, it can be the majority of, if not the entire season 3. But don’t think for a minute that they are ever going to get to truly relax. In fact, pray they don’t because that would mean the end of the show.