EDITOR’S NOTE: AMC’s zombie series returns for season two tonight, already more powerful than the long-running comic it’s based on. This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
By Simon Abrams
Press Play Contributor
Continuity is a double-edged sword in “The Walking Dead.” According to Robert Kirkman, the writer and co-creator of the comic book that AMC’s acclaimed show is based on, the intent of his series was to follow a single character, Rick Grimes, as he survives the Zombie Apocalypse. This has made the comic a consummately ambitious experiment in long-form narrative storytelling — and it creates challenges for the TV version, which begins its second season tonight. Eighty-nine issues into its seemingly indomitable run, Kirkman’s comic is messy, sprawling and often poorly realized. And a big reason why is that we know that Rick can’t die. That’s the series’ hook — and its biggest problem.
This wouldn’t create such a dilemma for the show’s writers if Rick were likable. Unfortunately, he’s not. As originally conceived in Kirkman’s comics, Rick is a fundamentally desperate and needy character. He inserts himself into situations and tries to control events where he is in over his head. He sees himself romantically as a benevolent savior — and he almost always gets his way. After Rick gets his bearings in the show’s pilot, “Days Gone Bye,” he finds a horse, saddles up and rides into a zombie-infested Atlanta with a bag full of guns slung over his shoulder. He has no idea how ill-prepared he is for what awaits him in the city.
You can read the rest of Simon’s recap here at Salon.
Simon Abrams is a New York-based freelance arts critic. His film reviews and features have been featured in the Village Voice, Time Out New York, Slant Magazine, The L Magazine, New York Press and Time Out Chicago. He currently writes TV criticism for The Onion AV Club and is a contributing writer at the Comics Journal. His writings on film are collected at the blog, The Extended Cut.