Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Verdict: The Walking Dead Season 2

A poster for the Walking Dead's second season

After watching the first season of AMC's The Walking Dead, I started to understand the why the show had gotten so hyped in Autumn 2010. Full of suspense, human drama and production value, The Walking Dead's first season easily justified the huge amount of buzz that surrounded it in my mind

With this in mind, I dived into the show's thirteen episode second season expecting some more quality high-tension, zombie-shuffling drama. Did the show continue to deliver? Well, read on...
Right from the off, the show plunges back into the post-apocalyptic world with tense season opener 'What Lies Ahead'. This first episode is seriously suspense-filled; after the first season pulled no punches in killing off characters, the fate of the cast is never certain. The scene where Andrea is cornered in the RV's toilet is terrifying to say the least.

The primary cast of the second season
The cliffhanger at the end of the very same episode proves exactly that; no-one is safe. Or are they? The show constantly keeps you hooked, so DVD junkies beware, this show has massive 'binge' potential. The majority of the episodes in this season end with a cliffhanger of some degree so some restraint may be required from those of you determined to find out what happens next. Before you know it, it is 4am and you've spent all night gorging on this show.

Whilst the season really kicks off at a gallop, things very quickly ease into a steady canter by the mid-point. It does begin to feel as though the plot has been strung too thin across the thirteen episodes. Whilst some may argue that this allows for the acting to really take centre stage rather than heart-pumping action pieces, it is hard to deny that this season spends an awful amount of time faffing about on farms.

After the first three episodes kick things off with some seriously high drama, things settle down into a more sedate stroll. I didn't mind having to stick with the more character driven episodes (like episode 4, 'Cherokee Rose' and episode 8 'Nebraska'), as more often than not, they were interesting and the source of some great performances from the great cast.

"Look a farm! Let's set up camp here
for twelve episodes"
Whilst we're on the topic of acting, I must say this; one of the biggest draws of this show is the top-notch acting talent. I like that the show has cast with little known actors who aren't bigger than the show itself. For me, the performance that consistently stands out from the rest of the ensemble is Jon Bernthal as Shane. We all love a good anti-hero (well, at least I do) and Shane is just that.

His character arc in this season really builds on from what the first season started, which is good. In fact, there are very few characters who aren't moved on sufficiently; The shows steady pacing just means that they take their sweet time about it. There are plenty of new plot developments to keep audiences hooked when the action dies down a little; Lori's (Sarah Wayne Collins) pregnancy and the friction between Rick and Hershel (Scott Wilson) stood out for me.

Two of my favourite characters in this second season where Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggine Greene (Lauren Cohan) as they inject a dose of levity and cheekiness to the show.

By the time the season comes to an end with the gripping and action-packed finale, 'Beside the Dying Fire' you feel as though each and every one of the characters has grown and developed in a meaningful way (either that or been killed off). Characters like Rick, Shane and Daryl or have to make some tough choices or face some difficult odds along the way and that is what makes this show such an addictive one to watch; I got really hooked on finding out where the characters would go next.

In terms of blood and gore, this second season keeps it flowing from the off. There are some seriously squelchy stomach-churning moments here. One scene sees Rick and Daryl cut open a walker in order to check out what it had for breakfast. If your squeamish and don't want to be seeing your breakfast again, I suggest you look away at this point. The action is still of a seriously high-standard for a television series; one episode where Rick and Shane are chased through a bus depot by walkers was fantastic.

On the whole, I can't wait for season 3 of The Walking Dead to be released on DVD over here in Australia. I haven't been able to watch any on TV so a catch-up is desperately needed! If you're a fan of the zombie genre then this is a must-watch but, even if your not and you are just looking for a gripping show with awesome acting and terrific production value, check out The Walking Dead.

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