After binge-reading all 193 issues of the comic series by Robert Kirkman, it was inevitable that I check out the live-action remake of ‘The Walking Dead’. Since season 10 has come out on Netflix today, I think a quick review of the previous 9 seasons would be an apt write-up.
Season one is only six episodes long and finishes off in a blink. While watching it on Netflix, I hadn’t even realized I was already on season two (perils of binge-watching). Right from the first episode, one can spot a lot of differences between the comics and the adaptation. But the differences work in a good way, because the surprise factor remains for those who’ve read the comics. In the first season, the protagonist Rick tries figuring out what the hell is happening and is introduced to rules to surviving the walking dead.
Season two introduces one of my favorite characters Glenn, who is a sweet young Korean-American man in charge of hunting down supplies for his camp. Steven Yeun is a total casting winner, because it’s hard to imagine anybody else as Glenn. He helps Rick fight his way through zombies and is reunited with his wife and son. Rest of the season is about differences in the camp and their efforts to get to a safer place. A bunch of new crucial characters are introduced, including Hershel the farmer’s family. The writers try to give more back-story to Rick’s best-friend Shane to justify their eventual fallout.
Another one of my favourite characters is introduced in Season three – the katana wielding Michonne. Unlike the comics, we see an unlikely friendship between Andrea and Michonne, shown as two lone women surviving by themselves through a cold-harsh winter in the land of the dead. This little new plot twist was pretty kick-ass. Rick and group on the other hand find refuge at a prison. While in the comics, a lot of slicing & dicing takes place, the action in the series was underwhelming. Despite being 18+, a lot of dark stuff, (the kind that will fuck with your head) does not find place in the series. One of the first major villains – the governor – comes on screen, but somehow, he is not as vicious as the one in the comics. Norman Reedus as the bowman Daryl really grows on the viewer and is perhaps the best new character that didn’t exist in the original story.
Things kind of slow down in season 4 – Rick’s group gets sort of comfortable at the prison, but they realize danger is never too far off. His wife Lorry is as bitchy and annoying as she was in the comics, got to give credit to the actor though. However, in a major departure from the comic series, there is a deadly flu that spreads through Rick’s group, making things hard and bloody for them. On the other hand, we get to see Governor losing his people and yet managing to get back on his feet and launching an all out attack on the prison. The latter episodes of this season focus on different members surviving after the fall of the prison. A lot of hallucinations and excessive focus on each character’s story drags the pace down.
Season five was also boring-ish, with some episodes being completely skippable, especially the one focussing on Maggie Rhee’s younger sister Beth. A few more episodes are wasted on the main characters trying to rescue her. It’s in this season that they finally find ‘Alexandria’, a relatively safe community that is open to offering refuge to people who are willing to earn their trust and keep. Season 6 is unnecessary long and focuses on the group getting used to their new life in Alexandria and making the community safer from not just the dead, but more importantly – the living. It’s in this season that they finally realize they are not the only lucky survivors and that there are several flourishing communities and they all might have a common enemy. There are a lot of zombies in this one.
Season 7 – We finally get to meet the most formidable villain in all his glory – Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan however makes the role slightly monotonous, with the same distinct style of dialogue delivery, as if he is on Broadway or something. The most brutal killings take place in this one, with a beloved character meeting a horrible end. Again, I feel like from season 5 onwards, things get very slow, and season 7 was no exception. A new community by the sea is discovered and Rick’s group is trying to gain as many friends they can get to unite against Negan’s manpower. We know that a war is brewing.
Season 8 is all about everybody trying to pool in efforts to find a way to defeat Negan and his men. A lot of differences crop up between people from the same community. Things are just slightly better here, but I expected a lot more kick-ass action. Instead there is too much drama and tension. You have no idea how much fast-forwarding I did on this season.
By season 9 I was just tired and irritated by the series. The fact that the makers create so many sub-plots and rivalry within the group gets on your nerves. It was super-disappointing that they didn’t just kill off Rick’s character completely, because by this time, you get really sick of him. Rick however is no longer in the season post episode 5, so 11 more episodes without him were a welcome change. Another major villain called Alpha who leads a savage band of men makes her appearance in this season. So there is more blood and gruesome deaths, however, the makers play it safe and do not kill any major characters. Too bad. The last episode of this season was so blah that it killed any interest for season 10. But considering what a loser I am, I am going to watch season 10 anyway.