Well, AMC has done it again. The season premier of The Walking Dead received more than 5 million viewers, and the season finale received 6 million viewers. The show, which is based on comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, is my new favorite show on TV. Actually, it’s a lot of people’s new favorite show.
However, the short, six-episode first season already has me craving more zombie killing and post-apocalyptic surviving. Apparently, I’ll have to wait until next October according to many Internet sources. So in the meantime, here are some things I would like to see in season two.
Also, THERE ARE SPOILERS!
More Characters From the Comic
Fans of the comic know that the TV series diverges significantly from it. Not that that’s always a bad thing. The series was developed by Frank Darabont who directed The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. He also doctored Saving Private Ryan‘s script. The dude knows how to tell a story.
That being said, I have some gripes. There are several characters in the show that are not in the comic. In theory, I don’t have a problem with that because a TV series and a comic book are two inherently different mediums. I never expected the show to be a panel-for-panel recreation of the comic, but I feel like some of the added characters were superfluous.
I’m mostly talking about Morales, his family and Jacqui. In fact, I didn’t even know Jacqui’s name was Jacqui for most of the first season. I didn’t connect with them, and they didn’t develop enough over the course of the season. That made it hard for me to get invested in Jacqui’s difficult decision in the season finale, even though I wanted to care. I’m fine with adding original characters but don’t just add them to be different from the comic.
The season ended with the group leaving the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, so there will be plenty of opportunities to introduce new characters. There are three from the comic that I would particularly like to see: Tyrese, Michonne and the Governor.
Somewhere on the road outside of Atlanta would be a good place to introduce Tyrese, and possibly his daughter and her boyfriend. Tyrese is a former NFL football player and all-around badass. In the comic, he becomes an essential part of the group, especially when there are zombies that need dispatching with extreme prejudice. He also butts heads with Rick later on, making for some serious tension. Coby Bell, who plays Jesse on Burn Notice, would be good for the role. He has an athletic build, and he’s already used to kicking ass on TV, as well as butting heads with another alpha male.
Michonne shows up later when the group gets to the prison (more on that in a second). Oh yeah, she shows up wielding a samurai sword and leading two trained zombies (who she executes on the spot in exchange for Asylum). She’s deadly with her sword, decapitating zombies left and right, and she’s just generally tough as nails.Think Sarah Connors, but with a samurai sidearm.
Various forums online have been calling for Tracie Thoms from Rent and Deathproof to play Michonne. That would be a good choice, but I would like to see Naomie Harris play Michonne. She’s already honed her on-screen zombie killing in Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, and she was good as Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest.
I doubt Darabont would introduce the Governor in the second season, judging by the pace of the first, but I can dream. The Governor is the psychotic dictator of a small group of survivors in the “town” of Woodbury. I won’t reveal anymore, but I’ll just say that he and Rick have an interesting first meeting. There’s only one person I want to play the Governor: Danny Trejo. He’s always great when he plays a psychotic, violent criminal, which is most of time. And that’s probably because he used to be a psychotic, violent criminal.
Leaving the CDC also opens the door to introduce locations from the comic.
One possibility is the gated subdivision that they stumble upon after leaving Atlanta. They’re starving and winter is encroaching, so it seems like a godsend. But they quickly realize it’s still inhabited…by its undead former residents, and the group has to hightail it.
Then there’s Hershel’s farm, which has a similar story arch to the last two episodes of the season. In short, the group learns more about the outbreak and tempers flair. Eventually, they’re forced to leave the farm, just like the CDC. But after they leave Hershel’s farm they come across a prison, which offers a chance for some permanent shelter.
Despite the much-needed shelter, Rick (and a couple other people) start to lose their figurative marbles. I think it’s the point in the story when everyone realizes that they’re on their own, and no one is coming to save them. It’s a turning point in the characterization for many in the group, so it shouldn’t be ignored. The Shawshank Redemption had a similar theme and Darabont handled it well; I would like to see how he plays the arch from the comic.
Plot Lines From the Comic
So far the show has dealt with most of the plot lines and story arches from the early parts of the comic, albeit in different manners from the source material. There are a few plot lines that should be addressed in season two, though.
Shane is the most obvious one. Tension between him, Laurie and Rick built during the first season, but the whole CDC blowing up kind of got in the way of any sort of resolution. In the comic Shane gets his comeuppance before the group even leaves their camp. His fate is decided in a surprising, and equally shocking, manner. It unfolds that way mostly because it is dealt by an unlikely hand. Because of that, it should play out similarly to how it did in the comic.
Shane isn’t the only one with unresolved issues. Laurie is without Rick at the start of the show, so Shane becomes a surrogate husband and father, which is explored in the first couple episodes. There’s also a gratuitous scene of her cuckoldry (I guess that’s debatable because she thought Rick was dead, but whatever). In the comic, Laurie is noticeably pregnant when they leave the camp, and there is a little Maury “you are/you are not the father” going on between Rick and Shane.
I actually think this will be addressed in season two (read: it better damn well be addressed). When the group got to the CDC Dr. Jenner made them submit to a blood test. Later, he discreetly whispers something to Rick. Possibly the results of an impromptu pregnancy test? I don’t know, but I hope so because I love Maury. Speaking of Rick…
His role as leader of the group becomes increasingly difficult and starts to wear on him. By the time they get to the prison, he basically loses his shit. Rick starts spouting some vaguely, 1930s-era-Kremlin “for the good of the group” rhetoric. As one would expect, a coupe happens. And that’s cool (don’t get me wrong, I love a good coupe), but it’s the dynamics leading up to it that are really engrossing.
Lastly, more zombie killing. A lot of people complained about the drama and demanded more zombie deadifying. I don’t want to see the drama go away, that’s an essential part of the story. There should just be a better balance.
I don’t know about you, but I want to see Rick do work with his hatchet. Ditto for Tyrese and his hammer and Michonne and her sword.