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The Walking Dead By Andrew Lincoln To Download You copy please click here The most anticipated television event of the year returns for a second season. AMC's The Walking Dead is "breathtaking in its small moments" (Wall Street Journal) and "creepy from the first frame" (Variety). The end of civilization was just the beginning for Rick Grimes and the other survivors. As the fight to stay alive intensifies and personal rivalries continue to fuel, the group struggles to hold on to their humanity in a time where slim chances are all that is left. Based on Robert Kirkman's hugely successful and popular comic book series, AMC's original series, The Walking Dead is an epic, edge-of-your-seat drama where personal struggles are magnified against a backdrop of moment-to-moment crisis. A survivalist story at its core, the series explores how the living are changed by the overwhelming realization that those who survive can be far more dangerous than the mindless walkers roaming the earth. They themselves have become the walking dead.

ďƒ&#x;------------------------------------------------------ďƒ When former show runner Frank Darabont "left" THE WALKING DEAD before the start of the second season, I was extremely worried for its future. It seemed to be going in a very positive direction after only a few episodes in its first season, and much of that seemed to be Darabont's passion for the project as well as creator Robert Kirkman's desire to not slavishly adhere to his own source material. That was a surprising high point for the first season, since the comic itself is so amazingly good, and has several fans, that he would be more than willing to depart from his own material in order to keep audiences on their toes. It was even rumored that a major cast member was ready to walk off set since Darabont's leaving, but who it was was never confirmed, and it certainly didn't happen. But when the show came back for its first episode of the second season, it made a point of adhering to certain major plot points of the comic while keeping the relationships and characters fresh, and with Glen Mazzara as the new showrunner, it seemed like the show was going to keep going along with all of the forward momentum it had gained from the previous season. However, I had some concerns about the bonafides of Mazzara. He had been an Exec Producer on several disappointing TV series, like "Life", "Crash" and "HawthoRNe", but he was also an exec on one of the best cop shows ever, "The Shield". So, with any work on "The Shield" cancelling any of the poorer parts of his career out, it was looking like smooth scary sailing for this season. Now, it's worth pointing out that THE WALKING DEAD has easily become the most contentious piece of genre television since SyFy's reboot of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. If you look at the internet after an episode, it's aflutter with conversations proclaiming it either one of the worst shows ever or one of the best shows ever. It's also worth mentioning that neither side is right. When an episode of TWD is good, it ranks amongst some of the very best TV has to offer. Episodes like "Chupacabra" where Daryl is stranded in the wilderness, "Pretty Much Dead Already" when the group opens the barn, and "Better Angels" as Shane enacts some of his solutions to some of his problems are some of the best episodes of TV in recent memory. But further more, there is another group of viewers that sound off even more frequently than either other group: The "I'm Watching Because I Want It To Get Better" group. This is the group with the most complaints, and in my opinion, the ones with the most validity to their claims. They want the show to have tighter writing. They want the characters not to be glossed over. They don't want too many 'Red Shirts' on the show (referring of

course to the old "Star Trek" and how the nameless characters existed merely to get killed in an episode). They want the show to keep moving. There are moments that I agree with all of these statements, but I'm seeing what the show is doing (or trying to do) and am much more willing to forgive the show's occasional plot hole or deus ex machina or the "This Character is About to Do Something REALLY Stupid" moments in favor of the work being done by the cast, crew and creative staff. However, it's far from perfect when plot and characters start to get bogged down from overexpository moments to a particular episode. Characters like Lori, Dale, Carol and ESPECIALLY T-Dog are essentially lost in the character arc shuffle despite the major things happen (Carol and Sophia, Lori and The Surprise, Dale and his staunch sense of humanity, and T-Dog and his... well... he did have that arm injury... yes, I'm essentially calling T-Dog a useless character bordering on being the "Token Black Stereotype"). However, when there are moments of their arcs moving forward, they do so with tremendous momentum. But even with Rick struggling to lead the group as a paragon of virtue, Andrea overcoming her personal demons and becoming a strong element to the group's assault force, Carl spending formative moments in the midst of far too many moral grey areas for a child to have to experience, the new character of Herschel and his staunch religious and moral beliefs and then having those beliefs shattered, and Glenn and his discovery of his more masculine side with the help of new character Maggie... this season belonged to one character: Shane. If there is a character that we can identify with the most AND the least, it's Shane. Here's a man willing to do anything to keep himself safe as well as the woman and child he loves. He also is willing to commit to an almost morally bankrupt existence so that he can do those things. Jon Bernthal proves to be the most versatile cast member for this season, and his arc is the most compelling. If Bernthal doesn't get an Emmy nod for his work on this season, it honestly won't make sense. Speaking of the cast, there are several who shine: Jeffrey DeMunn as the ever-watchful everwise Dale, Laurie Holden as the struggling-to-find-her-place Andrea, Steven Yeun as the occasionally-wisecracking and romantically-challenged Glenn, Andrew Lincoln as the constantly-conflicted Rick, but the other two strongest performances besides Bernthal are Scott Wilson as Herschel and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon. Sadly, the weakest link to the cast is Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori. She didn't impress during her run on the show PRISON BREAK, and just seems too far out of her depth since most of her scenes are with other, better performances. Also sad are the criticisms of Chandler Riggs playing young Carl. He's actually not out of his depth here, and his character is that of a young boy who is trying to maintain some of his youthful nature despite the omnipresent death that looms around him in either physical or metaphysical form. He's reckless, impatient, irresponsible, and sometimes flat-out dumb. But surprisingly, most kids that age are like that, and I don't think that the character or the young actor deserves the criticism he gets. From a technical standpoint, the effects work on the show is flawless. Greg Nicotero, who also transitioned into directing during this season, has supervised all the VFX and makeup and has done so with an expert eye for detail, even if some of that detail is EXTREMELY gory. Other directors like Ernest Dickerson, who's directed several episodes of this show, as well as many other shows such as BURN NOTICE, DEXTER, TREME, and most especially THE WIRE (not arguably the greatest cop show ever to hit television), shows a great eye for striking visuals as well as being a very good actor's director, which was especially proven in his direction of the season finale, "Beside The Dying Fire". Other strong creative forces kept proving themselves time and again this season, such as writer/co-producer Evan Reilly, who came from another favorite show of mine, RESCUE ME, and Kirkman himself who did his share of heavy lifting in the writing and exec producing this season, despite being the writer of at least three monthly comic books as well. The only problem I have with the show consistently is the same problem I have with all action or genre-oriented entertainment: The unerring shootist or unlimited ammo UNLESS the

moment requires them to run out of ammo, or miss to create tension or suspense. You see, characters walk around this show like Wild Bill Hickok in a John Woo film. Sure, there were moments when Shane and Rick taught the members of the group how to shoot, but BELIEVE ME, you still can't shoot a zombie in the head hanging out of a moving car no matter how many months you might have been practicing, and you can't fire 20-odd rounds of a 7-round shotgun. The only time the people miss or run out of ammo is when the story requires it, like reloading with a Walker creeping up behind you, or just grazing the skull of a fellow group member when if it had been a Walker, it would be a completely perfect headshot. The most common complaint I hear about this show is the lack of Walkers. That is one of those complaints that I dismiss entirely out of hand. You want constant zombie presence and constant zombie killing, watch the RESIDENT EVIL films. THE WALKING DEAD is not just a zombie show, much in the same way that BATTLESTAR GALACTICA wasn't just a space-battle show. The characters have to interact and grow, especially in an environment such as this where society no longer exists other than in their own memories. Morality is something that appears to be the relic of a bygone era, and this is a land that seems to be ruled strictly by Darwinian principles. Concepts of good and evil have become luxuries, and the new law is survival. Some members of this group believe that very strongly, and some are shouting to the heavens that there must be a better way to live other than just survival. The argument could honestly be made either way, and more often than not, those are the moments when the show can either be at its best or it can wither away any momentum it had. The show is already great, but finding a balance between words and deeds will be how the show will live or die, but there are far too many smart and talented people behind this program for that to happen. The show has only had 19 episodes. Young shows will have growing pains, but when I rewatched the season finale, there were too many things that showed even more promise for the new season. To Download You copy please click here

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