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Friday, January 15, 2010

What Am I Most Looking Forward to in 2010?

Yours truly was called upon by Iloz Zoc, fearless leader of the League of Tana Tea-Drinkers, to participate in the latest LoTT-D "Pick-a-Post" blog carnival. The question: What are you most looking forward to in 2010? Well, I thought long and hard about it, and lo and behold, it turns out that the one thing in horror I'm most looking forward to is not a movie, but a TV show. See, although there are some solid releases coming out in theaters this year, there isn't one single film I'm looking forward to more than the Walking Dead television series.

When it was announced some months ago that AMC had picked up the property to be developed into a series, it was literally like a fanboy dream come true for me. I've had my issues with the original Image comic book by Robert Kirkman, but I had always wanted to see it on the small screen in series format. And I wasn't the only one--lots of fans of the book always liked to speculate as to how it would play out on TV. And now, after all the fantasizing, it's finally going to be a reality.

The zombie craze has been with us for some years now on the big screen, and now, at long last, those undead bastids are poised to invade our living rooms. How the hell did it take so long to happen? And while I'm sure there will be copycats galore--MTV is already developing a Dawn of the Dead TV series (*douche chills*)--I have no doubt the Walking Dead project will trump all.

This is for a few reasons. One is that AMC is developing it. Now, I had always felt The Walking Dead would be tailor-made for HBO, and I still feel that premium cable is really the ideal place for this material. But AMC has proven itself to be serious about good television, what with Mad Men and Breaking Bad. While the gore quotient will probably suffer a little bit compared to what it could've been on HBO, I don't have much problem with that--partly because the quality of the show is what's most important, and partly because the gore was never a huge part of the original book to begin with.

As I said, I've had issues with Kirkman's series, and i actually no longer read it. Haven't in years. But I was there at the very beginning, back in the summer of 2005, when the book debuted, and I continued reading it for the first three years. I was eventually driven away thanks to sub-par artwork (which is a non-issue for the TV show), as well as by Kirkman's meandering, often-dull and remarkably zombie-less narrative.

But those early years were often quite good, and I'm hoping that's what the TV show will be drawing on. Once Kirkman got so pretentiously caught up in the day-to-day soap opera turmoil of his human characters, I lost interest. He seemed to be killing time with each issue; filling space. And while some have told me the story plays out better when read in collected form, I couldn't help but be driven away by a terrific premise that seemed to be eventually squandered.

But I don't see this happening with the show. In fact, I see the show exceeding the comic book. We have the brilliant Frank Darabont on board as producer, bringing his keen eye for genre entertainment and compelling drama to bear. We also have one hell of a great concept. So great, it's amazing it's never been done before--a weekly ongoing series following human survivors as they make their way through the zombie apocalypse. Think of every zombie movie you ever saw in which the story just ends and we never find out what happens to our remaining surviving protagonists. Well this time, the story will continue--we will get to see how they get by, how they live their lives in the midst of hell on earth.

There hasn't been much talk of casting, although I have heard fans clamoring for Josh Holloway (a.k.a. Sawyer from Lost) to play the lead part of police officer Rick Grimes, and I have to say he would indeed be a fine choice.

The Walking Dead TV series was, until a few months ago, the subject of fan fantasy, the ultimate wish of hardcore zombie-heads. It always seemed to make perfect sense to do it, but for some reason, no one seemed interested. That's now changed. And I'll be anxiously waiting for Rick and the zombies to join Don Draper and the gang at Sterling Cooper in giving me reasons to tune in to AMC in 2010.


Grim said...

Noooooooooo!!! I don't have AMC! But damn, am I still looking forward to this. Thanks for the post!

Big Daddy D-Bone said...

Yeah, it definitely has potential to be awesome. I too fell in and out of love with the comic until I could no longer read the damn thing. But with Darabont on board (I've heard to write and Direct as well as produce), I'm sure he'll do what he did with the Mist, and make it his own.

The good thing about it being on AMC, in my opinion, is that they'll have to tell a better story because they can't rely on just gore to get the horror audience to tune in. If they tell a good story, it'll probably help lure in a more casual audience.

jmcozzoli said...

Damn, I'd almost forgotten about this! Thanks. I'm psyched. This series really deserves the TV treatment.

Chris H said...

I always thought this would be a great animated series.

I am still into the comic.

Christopher Zenga said...

I;m re-reading my Walking Dead trades for the 3rd time! I'm not sure who will brodcast this in Canada but I can NOT wait!

Later days,


B-Sol said...

Oh wow, an animated series, what an intriguing concept! But yeah, the book kind of lost my interest, but I think Darabont will indeed make it his own and turn a great essential concept into a great ongoing drama.

Glass Devaney said...

Can't wait for this!

BTW, zombies have been on the small screen, just not in America.


Dead Set was one of my favorite horror experiences ever, in any medium. :)

Unknown said...

I'm looking forward to this as well. The first few trades are amazing (though only the art in the first one is anything to write home about)and the growing sense that any character at any time could be the next to go made each issue a must read.

I gave up at the Governor storyline as it got 1)too hokey and super-villianish compared to the tone of the rest of the series and 2) the graphic rapes of one of the characters completely turned me off.

As a series, this has potential up the wazoo, especially if they go their own way with the storylines.

B-Sol said...

Tony Moore was a brilliant artist for the first six issues. Then he was replaced with Charlie Adlard, and no matter how Kirkman tried to rationalize it, it was a HUGE drop-off in quality.

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