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Walking With The Dead Again!
The Walking Dead - Season 2 (DVD)
Member Name: Jojoborne
The Walking Dead - Season 2 (DVD)
Advantages: Even better than the first season. Great acting performances. Good storyline.
Disadvantages: None for me but the gore may put some people off
The Walking Dead Season Two
In my review for The Walking Dead season one I said I'd had it for over a year and had only just gotten around to watching it due to the huge backlog of other shows I have been watching. Well I then went on to watch the thirteen episodes of season two over two nights and boy am I glad I did. I love this show and it is turning into one of my all-time favourites.
For the purpose of this review I have used some of my own season one review to cover background and history of the show.
The show originally aired in 2010 on the American channel AMC. It has gained a huge cult following and is now currently airing the third season.
Season one was like a pilot that was stretched into a whole mini-series of six episodes. Seasons two and three have since moved to the usual thirteen episode format so prominent since the writer's strikes.
I have always been a fan of zombie movies but in particular the George A Romero offerings as they at least contained a storyline and plot instead of just zombie bashing gore like some of the older titles; 'Zombie Flesh eaters' springs to mind.
The Walking Dead does contain a lot of gore and zombie bashing but it is built on necessity to aiding the plot rather than gratuitous, violent purpose.
The idea is taken from the original graphic novels and comics of the same name and is directed by Frank Darabont. I'm a Darabont fan as he has bought to film a number of Stephen King books and King is one of my favourite authors. Darabont directed the huge cult hit 'Shawshank Redemption' and 'The Green Mile'; both King books. He also directed 'The Mist', which was atrocious or at least it was in my eyes. So when I heard he was directing the Walking Dead I was pleased but also a little wary and really hoped it would be more Shawshank than Mist.
I wasn't to be disappointed. The series is as classy and atmospheric as the brilliant comic series. I'll talk about the direction and look of the series in a little while, but first let's take a look at the premise.
Rick Grimes, played by the impressive Andrew Lincoln, is a small town sheriff's deputy who was shot on the job. He wakes up in the local hospital to find the place is empty and full of dead bodies. He staggers around until he comes to a door with a crudely made sign attached to it. The sign reads 'Do Not Open, Dead Inside'. The door is padlocked and a wooden beam has been placed across it. The door begins to move and zombie like hands try to force it open. Rick manages to find his way home and discovers that his wife and son are gone. He is encouraged by the fact that the family photo albums and all their clothes are gone and he feels sure they have made it out safely. He encounters a man called Morgan and his son Duane. They tell him about 'The Walkers', which are basically the walking dead. They also tell him about a place called the 'CDC', which Morgan says is a safe haven, run by the army and the government. He says the CDC is working on a cure. Rick tells Morgan that he has to find his wife and child. Meanwhile, Ricks wife and child are holed up in camp with a group of survivors, including Rick's best friend Shane, played by Jon Bernthal, who is now romantically involved with Rick's wife Lori, played by Sarah Wayne Callies from Prison Break fame. One of the group, a young Korean named Glenn, helps Rick in the city and he meets up with a scout group from the camp.
Without giving away any plot spoilers, season two begins were season one left off and our group holes up in a farm house with a farmer and what is left of his family. They want to use this as a base but the farmer is reluctant and wants them to move on. This series has everything. A child gets shot, a child goes missing, a love story begins, a love story ends, a character falls pregnant and two main characters die; one of them a major character. We see a special guest star from 'True Blood' pop in for an episode as well as a major new character at the end in readiness for season three.
The Walking Dead is a brilliant TV series and as I said in the review for season one I am glad to say that it takes the subject seriously. This could so easily have ended up a 'Zombieland' or tried to become a cult hit by being funny and too over-the -top. As I said it does take it seriously and the result is a great story that is involving and interesting to follow. If you think you've seen every angle on the zombie story then think again. OK, admittedly it does have the outbreak story and the end of the world as we know it plot, but it is a lot more than that in that it strips down the layers of each character and delves into their psyche. This gives us a much more personal involvement in the storyline and makes it easier to follow it or be sucked in. Season two takes the character development to a whole new level and you really begin to empathise with the characters. The best thing about this show for me personally is the fact that even though it is a far out storyline of the walking dead taking over the world it is so believable because each and every one of the characters acts exactly how I think a person would act if it was real. In a lot of shows you feel cheated because a person does something so far removed from reality that it can't be taken seriously, but the Walking Dead characters are so true to life and leave you thinking 'yes that is probably what I would have done'.
I think Andrew Lincoln is superb as Rick. He's an English actor but you wouldn't know it from his American accent as it doesn't seem put on in the slightest. He has that Viggo Mortensen look about him and you want him to succeed. He becomes even more prominent as the lead in season two. Sarah Wayne Callies is instantly recognisable as Sara Tancredi from Prison Break and plays another brilliant role as Rick's wife Lori. She has that ability to appear vulnerable and steely-strong at the same time. Jon Bernthal plays the over-zealous Shane Walsh who is laden with guilt but still wants to lead and protect the group. Bernthal plays a brilliant part as Shane in season two, so expect fireworks, especially between him and Rick.
There are a lot of unknown actors in this series but they all perform extremely well and when you watch it you will find that it is some of the lower profile characters that you will like best. I particularly like Glenn, who is played by Steven Yeun and brings that normality to the group in the fact that he doesn't hide his fear or his misgivings. In season two Glenn draws you to him even more than he did in season one.
One of the surprises of season one for me was the Daryl Dixon character played by Norman Reedus. He is one of those characters that you love to hate and even if you hate him you know he is needed by the group. He plays the brother of Merl, who is played terrifically in episode one and two by Michael Rooker. They are a couple of redneck, racist white trash hicks that get up everyone's nose but I really began to like Daryl by the end of season one. In season two he grew on me even more and underneath all that angst and trailer-trash façade is a good man and someone who you would want beside you above anyone else if you were being attacked by dead people.
Darabont's direction is really cool throughout and he manages to bring the comic's and graphic novels art to life. The make-up on the zombies is superb and there is not an abundance of CGI. Most of the blood and gore is done by special effects artists and they are superb. From the opening credits you know that is going to be stylish. It has that sepia type look that works really well with the empty streets and deserted towns. When the story moves to the city of Atlanta, the greys and graininess of the photography really helps give it that empty and scary edge. The farmhouse in season two is filmed on the set in Atlanta but it looks so real and the attention to detail is superb.
The music throughout the series is also pretty cool and not just thrown in for the sake of it.
I was a fan of Charles Adlard due to him working on the X-Files comic as an artist and even more so on the Walking Dead series so it was great to see the comic made into a TV series. The comic has recently reached one hundred issues and they celebrated by doing eight variant covers, including one by Adlard. The comics have been around for almost ten years now and can go for quite a bit of money for the original first print on eBay. The TV series has created even more interest in the comics so bidders are going all out to get their hands on them. The creator Chris Kirkland must be so proud that it has reached such a cult status and so he should be.
I can't wait for season three to come out on October fourteenth this year. It looks like it is going to be brilliant. David Morrissey is on board as well as the new character mentioned earlier.
The DVD box set contains a 'Making of Documentary', behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew. It can be purchased for around fifteen pounds now on Amazon or eBay and if you're lucky you can get it even cheaper.
All in all I would recommend The Walking Dead as a show with a difference. If you have previously thought of not watching it because the zombie theme put you off, then I would seriously consider because it is a well-made show that gets you involved and keeps you interested. I absolutely love this show and season two got me even more into it and I will be watching as long as they keep on making them, which I hope is for many more seasons to come.
Five stars out of five for me.
Summary: The Walking Dead season two is a must for fans of the first series and just gets better and better.