This weekend, I need to get my wife caught up with The Walking Dead so that perhaps we can watch the season finale together, but I don't have my hopes up. Robert Kirkman said that the show would be making divergences from the comic in order to keep fans of the comic guessing, but I have to ask the same question I ask whenever I see an adaptation diverge from its source material: For the love of God, why?
If a story is good enough to warrant translation from one form into another, the ONLY changes one should make ought to be demanded by the transition. Maybe you can't accomplish a certain panel in a comic book on film because the audience simply can't perceive the level of detail in a shot, even a long, static shot, that an artist can draw into a splash page, so you change things a little to use the tools film gives us to try and accomplish the same aim as the splash page.
But what's this with the CDC? I can't imagine they are going to explain the plague...so why this interlude? Would it have been possible to move Rick and crew out of Atlanta by Episode 3 such that we could have had the events at the gated community in Issues 7 and 8, I think it was, in Episode 4 of the television series? TWD the comic is constructed in six-issue narrative arcs, but if television has to stretch six episodes with plodding pace and narrative tedium in order to stick to the same structure and produce six episodes, THAT is the kind of change one can justify making to the original story!
But why the hospital? Why the CDC? Why Merl and his brother? Who gives a damn whether the comic book audience knows what's going to happen or not...is this series really for them, or for them AND the people who don't read comics but who might respond to the story presented in a different form? So just give them the same story, altered only as much as the form requires...and I can't explain some of these changes as requirements of television.
I was more than a little disappointed when Rick Grimes, this character who in the comics has turned into this rugged survivor and leader of men, sounded like a desperate, whining adolescent at the end of the Episode 5 when he is begging to be let into the CDC building. That was decidedly NOT the Rick Grimes I've come to know in the pages of The Walking Dead.
The most frustrating thing about this only being a six-episode season is that there's only one chance for the series to show me why it made the choices it made, to wrap up this arc and make me realize that I was being too harsh in my judgments, that maybe I should trust the show and the changes it's making...which means now my expectations of Episode 6 are getting very high. I hope I'm not setting myself up for a fall.
I am back from vacation, having spent most of the time sick with one of the worst colds I've had in a while, and not being able to properly rest on account of being with my wife and parents who wanted to go to Universal Studios and Disneyworld. I was lucky to get five hours of uninterrupted sleep per evening, didn't have much to do in the time that I was awake, made an ass of myself trying to interact with my professional game journos Google group on an iPhone while on cold medicines and apparently unable to think clearly. Good times.
I had to order up episode 2 of The Walking Dead, "Guts," on iTunes due to the lackluster cable channel selection at the first timeshare we stayed at. I honestly don't mind watching video on that small screen, though I've got a piece of dust in between the glass and the screen itself which is all I can see now, but I don't feel like paying the outrageous prices I'm reading about online to have it cleaned out.
I enjoyed "Guts," but episode 3 last night, "Tell It To The Frogs," has me a little concerned for the future of the series. The pacing is slow. Dead slow, no pun intended, and I'm beginning to wonder whether it's a matter of adaptation that I'm noticing. As a comic book, The Walking Dead keeps me hungry for more because the narrative arcs and character development are so dense. There's a lot going on in each issue. The comic also isn't saddled with transitions. Sometimes two weeks will go by within an issue with the flip of a page, and it works.
The television show, on the other hand, can't dispense with all of those transitions, and they're beginning to bog the episodes down. It's not that I expect the show to be action packed, because the comic book isn't, either; but I often find that what I get 20 minutes into an episode of The Walking Dead is what I wanted 5 minutes into the episode. I feel like we're mired in exposition all the time. Either people have bought in, or they haven't. AMC re-runs the earlier episodes. Let people get caught up then. We only get six episodes this season, so let's pack them full of juicy content!
I had no idea what the hell anyone was getting so up in arms about when this Scott Pilgrim movie hit the news at San Diego Comic-Con. I guess if you're a harder-core comic book fan than I that you knew the scoop, and were looking forward to this film adaptation, but my comic book reading tends to be limited to The Walking Dead and pretty much anything by Warren Ellis nowadays.
The reviews of this movie, however, led to a very interesting piece on NPR which my wife point out for me, and which led to this response by yours truly on Bitmob.
There are two ways I can look at this book: just as a book, and as zombie fiction.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with video games, but it's geek culture and I had to post this onto IMDB today because I loved the original V miniseries and my disgust with the new offering has reached critical mass. This is spoiler-laden, so proceed appropriately.
The new V television show is suffering from an attempt not to give away that which everyone already knows, no recognizable social commentary, and a complete lack of action. On all three counts it is extremely inferior to the original series, even if we consider for how poorly the special effects have held up over time.
The original V miniseries was predicated on a single moment - when Donovan (Marc Singer) is standing on board one of the Visitor Motherships in a huge storage facility lined with alien storage pods containing human beings...which turns out to be food storage for the aliens. Surprise! They're here to eat us all. This fantastic reveal took place towards the end of a three-and-a-half hour miniseries. Prior to this we had seen the alien Visitors eating live food whole (the infamous gerbil-swallowing scene), and a Visitor with their human mask entirely removed.
The new V series has almost 10 hours of aired footage by comparison, and the most we've gotten is a reptile eye, a little exposed lizard flesh, and an ultrasound of a human/Visitor hybrid with a tail. What is this remake waiting for? Do the producers really think they have any surprises in store for the audience? It's as if they are completely ignorant of the cult following behind the original series which ostensibly is the reason why a remake felt like a potentially profitable enterprise in the first place.