Some may argue that the zombie is the spirit animal of our generation. The zombie craze spread through pop culture quicker than the zombie infection spreads from a bite to the rest of the body. Spearheading this epidemic is AMC’s hit thriller, The Walking Dead. But what some people might not realize is, like many popular shows and movies today, The Walking Dead started as a comic series, and like all comic book adaptations there are plenty of things for nerds like me to bitch about. Shall we begin?
MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE NOT UP TO DATE WITH THE COMIC AND THE SHOW!
I’m going to kick things off on a positive note: Most plot changes the show has made I actually agree with. Some of them would actually have been good changes to the book too. Shane being left alive longer is a great example of one of these positive changes. Writer of the comic, Robert Kirkman, has said himself that he rushed the death of Shane in the book because he feared the series wouldn’t take off, and Shane being alive longer was important because there was plenty of “you fucked my wife” tension between Rick and him that needed to be played out.
The lab episode was another great addition. It ended the first season explaining to both the characters and the audience just how utterly screwed the human race is. It let Rick know for a fact that everyone is infected, although they took out my favorite line, “We ARE the walking dead.” We learned what kind of drunks these people are (Shane gets a tad rapey). And it trimmed the fat by getting rid of the least developed character in all of television history.
Season 2 = The Low Point
I’m not saying they should’ve gotten off the farm before the end of the Season 2. The farm being overrun by Walkers was actually a great season finale to a less than great season. I’m just saying that the majority of time spent on the farm dragged on slower than tortoise sex. Let’s face it, a lot of the people on this show aren’t GREAT actors, and the dialogue is typically average. So watching them crappily bat around the same three conversation topics every episode got old. That being said, Season 2 did have its redeeming moments. Shane getting shot and coming back as a Walker; The Governor’s group being hinted at through that random kid they captured; and Sophia being in the barn the whole time. Like I said, most plot changes I liked.
Season 3 = The Best Shit So Far
Season 3 was that shinning beacon of hope that made me love this show again. I spent a good portion of Season 2 watching for the soul purpose of yelling at the television in a fit of disappointment. But Season 3 made up for all those mistakes and then some. They introduced Michonne, who is spot fucking on and is tied into the plot much more elegantly than in the book by having her be friends with Andria (In the book, she literally just walks over to the prison, just out of the fucking blue). Then they tied in Woodbury much more nicely by having Andria and Michonne end up there. And then they meet The Governor. Honestly, they could not have done a better casting job with this one. But that’s not all Season 3 did so very right.
The Return of Merle!
Merle is one of my favorite characters in this show, and Daryl and him are the best added characters that were not in the comic. I’ve honestly gotten to the point where I’m rooting for them to live more than Rick.
Speaking of characters that weren’t in the book, the absolute worst added character in this series is T-Dog. For more than two seasons I was convinced he was a sad attempt at Tyrese, one of the book’s best characters. Thinking he was there instead of Tyrese made me HATE T-Dog, not that T-Dog did a lot to merit me liking him. There were entire episodes in Season 2 that I’m pretty sure he spent feeding chickens behind the barn or some shit. There were even several occasions when all the men, even Hershel (who’s old), went to go do something important and left T-Dog with the women and children. Then it finally happened. The day I had been hoping for. T-Dog died, and like the mighty phoenix, Tyrese rose from his ashes, wielding his hammer.
Yeah, Season 3 was going great. It was everything a hit thriller should be, like thrilling. Then we hit Lori’s big childbirth scene. Unlike the comic, Lori dies in childbirth, leaving Carl to shoot her in the head when she starts to turn. The scene was great! Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori) and Lauren Cohen (Maggie) both gave performances that put a sad pit in my stomach. And Chandler Riggs (Carl) stepped it up and removed all of my original doubts that he has what it takes to be Carl. In the book, Carl eventually becomes one dark, disturbed little badass; everything you would expect from a kid trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.
But Then it All Went to Shit!
Since the beginning, Andrew Lincoln (Rick) has been one of the worst parts of this show, and he’s the main character. Every time he needed to step up to the plate and derail from his monotone sternness he struck out, but never like this. I have never been so dramatically thrown out of such a serious scene than when I started laughing hysterically at this performance. He fell to the ground trying to act devastated and I fell to the ground trying to catch my breathe from laughter. When he first said “no” to Carl, I genuinely thought he was being sarcastic; then I realized he was just being a terrible actor. The worst part is, that had to be the best take they got. And the look of broken spirit and rage on Chandler Riggs’s face towards forces beyond his control is not him acting, it’s how he truly felt towards Andrew Lincoln for most likely making them reshoot the same scene for an entire day.
But, as pissed as I am at Lincoln for his acting, I’m more pissed at AMC for making us wait until Sunday, Febuary 10, to see the next episode of Season 3. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned from Breaking Bad‘s year long intermission, it’s that AMC doesn’t love us.