The 101: The Walking Dead

Jake Cochran, Assistant A&E Editor
October 9, 2012
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Every issue, A&E Editor Bill Thomas and Assistant A&E Editor Jake Cochran indulge their vanity and give a thoroughly biased crash-course in whatever madness happens to be dwelling in their warped minds. Their views do not reflect those of The Beacon, its staff or Wilkes University. Blah blah blah. This week, Jake Cochran is dissecting the gray matter of…

“The Walking Dead”

For the first time in God knows how long, it is almost cool and socially acceptable to be reading comic books that aren’t about guys in tights fighting other guys in tights with bad mustaches. These comics are about a zombie plague and are known as “The Walking Dead,” and they have received an enormous boost in readership recently with the AMC TV series adaptation.

It’s a rare occasion when something that gets brought to the masses and has both the hardcore fans and the casual fans agree that the producers did a good job with it. This is one of those occasions.

With the first season of “The Walking Dead,” AMC made waves in the ratings every Sunday night it aired and, in the second season, the program was a juggernaut. The season finale brought in more than nine million viewers, breaking viewership records.

If there was one gripe about the series, it was that toward the first-quarter mark in the second season, the series was pretty slow. It featured an arc that followed the group of survivors looking for lost girl, Sophia Peletier, in the woods, and another arc with the other child in the series, Carl Grimes, son of the show’s main protagonist, being injured from a gunshot. These weren’t exactly the most exciting arcs that the series had, but they were necessary.

Once those story arcs finished their runs, viewers and hardcore comic fans alike were shaking their heads in disbelief as well. Both groups were shocked by the results of those arcs, which it’s safe to say were a completely unexpected result. These results ripped the brakes off the train, so to speak, and the series gained tons of momentum with which it carried on to the season finale. Now, with season three set to debut on Oct. 14 at 9 p.m., the fan anticipation is building towards an infectious level (terrible pun).

Season three will introduce tons of new characters and locations that comic fans have been dreaming about for a long, long time. The introduction of the prison setting in the comics should bring tons of bloodshed and destruction for hero Rick Grimes and the group of survivors he runs with. Pairing that with the introduction of The Governor and the crazy ass-backwards town of Woodbury under his control, it looks like there’s a very good chance the dead aren’t going to be the biggest threat this season.

If you consider yourself the type to cry about spoilers, then just stop reading now.

Also, in the town of Woodbury the show will finally have the return of everyone’s favorite social pariah, Merle Dixon. This season, Merle is coming back with a vengeance. The new season’s teaser trailer showed him sporting some serious new hardware this season; the emaciated Merle Dixon is going to be equipped with a prosthetic switchblade apparatus attached to the hand that he previously had to amputate after being left handcuffed to a roof in season one.

Now, fans of the comic book know that Rick Grimes himself becomes an amputee after a run in with The Governor, wherein said gubernatorial villain chops Rick’s hand off with a meat cleaver. If one has any inferring ability whatsoever, this doesn’t look good for TV Rick with The Governor and Merle in the same town, both of those men will probably adapt Hammurabi’s Code and go eye for eye, or, in this case, hand for hand.

If you want to hear more about this wonderful topic from this very writer be sure to check the Beacon Blogs section of TheWilkesBeacon.com and read “The Graveyard Shtick” for weekly updates on everything Walking Dead, from character comparisons to predictions to event analysis.

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So now you know what to expect from the new season of “The Walking Dead.” Want to get to know the cast of characters a little better? Then give this line-up a gander and consider yourself schooled, son…

Survivor Group

These are the people the show has focused for the entire first two seasons, with the addition of the Greene Family in the second season. The group stayed at the Greene’s farm after Carl was accidentally shot by Otis. Later, in the Season Two finale the Greene Family was overrun by a heard so the group had to leave the farm in search of a new home.

Rick Grimes

Rick has been the leader of the group and main character of the TV series. With the death of former best-friend turned thorn-in-the-side Shane Walsh, he is now the unquestioned leader in his “Ricktatorship.”

Carl Grimes

Carl is the “actual” main character of the comic book, according to series creator Robert Kirkman. In the TV series, he’s only a shade of his comic-book self. Hopefully he becomes his “future serial killer self” in the TV series this season.

Lori Grimes

The newest thorn in the side of her husband Rick Grimes, TV Lori is much different than her ever loyal and supportive comic-book counterpart. However, she is still pregnant with the child of Shane Walsh, Rick’s former best friend. This season, we’ll see how that plays out.

Daryl Dixon

Basically a redneck version of Boba Fett, Daryl is always ready and completely prepared to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, armed with a crossbow and incredible survival skills. But with the return of his white-trash Nazi brother Merle this season, we will see a man divided between a group that respects and loves him and a man that disrespects and belittles him but has that annoying family factor.

Glenn Rhee

Glenn is the everyman of the series who all the nerds of the world unite behind. He doesn’t have an incredibly outstanding skill-set other than his heart, which is currently held by farmer’s daughter Maggie Greene.

Maggie Greene

Speaking of Maggie Green, this “farmer’s daughter,” will apparently be putting on her badass pants this season, judging from the screen caps released of her swinging around melee weapons like Thor wields Mjölnir.

Hershel Greene

The farmer father to Maggie and Beth Greene, Hershel is a former alcoholic and a former veterinarian. This unique skill-set has made him very well adapted for the apocalypse. Except, that is, for his need to cling to religion, which has caused him some trouble, such as when he tried to quarantine a barn full of the living dead in the hopes they were only sick and just, uh, decaying for no real reason.

Beth Greene

Beth is the second youngest member in the survivor group, at an awkward 16 years old. She deals with all her troubles the way any normal 16 year old girl would deal with the fact her stepmom and brother became zombies, by being suicidal. Luckily, at the end of Season Two she pulled herself out of her slump by trying to kill herself unsuccessfully. Now her life is turned around.

Carol Peletier

One of the characters with the biggest difference between her comic-book self and portrayal on television, Carol is a somewhat non-factor, yet still a solid beacon of strength in the TV show. Meanwhile, in the comic, she’s a ridiculous, bi-curious, suicidal security problem.

T-Dog

T-Dog actually isn’t in the comic (and despite what some people think, he is not just the TV version of Tyrell). And, really, he’s barely in TV show, other than dropping some sarcastic one-liners every three episodes.

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