Rocked with budget woes, internal strife and the untimely departure of Frank Darabont, “The Walking Dead” took a helluva blow during its second season. Speculation about the future quality of the series ran rampant while many fans complained that it had already fizzled out due to the shift from apocalyptic mayhem to slow-burn character drama.
I personally think most of the criticism was the stuff of ADD-riddled internet hyperbole, but there’s no denying that the pace hit a few snags while certain characters (*cough*Lori*cough*) could have functioned better in the overall story.
As if directly responding to complaints of the show’s talky nature, Season Three opens without speaking a word as Rick Grimes and crew silently take out a house full of walkers. It’s pretty clear right off the bat that the “Ricktatorship” has put an end to the days of bickering: This rag-tag group of survivors has evolved into a cohesive well-oiled killing unit. Several months have passed, hunger has ravaged the group and Lori’s baby bump is about to burst, which makes their situation more desperate than ever. But when the gang stumbles upon a zombie-infested prison, they see safety behind bars and immediately hatch a plan to make it their new home.
For fans of Robert Kirkman’s comic, the prison arc is the high point of “The Walking Dead” universe and what we’ve been waiting for ever since the show was first announced. The big question was how it would hold up on television. Well, if the season premiere is any indication, showrunner Glenn Mazzara and the dream team of Gale Anne Hurd and Greg Nicotero have already knocked the new season out of the park. And as much as I miss Frank Darabont, his absence hasn’t hurt the quality in the slightest (in fact, these episodes are the series’ strongest since the pilot).
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Right from the start, Season Three doesn’t waste a moment and seems very conscious in addressing every complaint from the fanbase: The pace is fast and urgent, life and death stakes are at an all-time high (poor Herschel), and the zombie action has been completely ramped up with a ridiculous amount of KNB gags. If you wanted less chatter and more splatter, by God you have it now.
Unless everything goes to shit in the next few episodes, it appears that “The Walking Dead” (which is not available on Dish according to AMC for the 500,256th time) has finally hit its stride. Whether you’re a devoted junkie or a disillusioned fan, I’m sure everyone is in agreement that the show has come back firing on all cylinders. Prepare for the best season yet.
Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics, “The Walking Dead” stars Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Iron E. Singleton, Melissa McBride, David Morrissey, and Danai Gurira. The series is executive produced by showruner Glen Mazzara, Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, and David Alpert with Greg Nicotero, Denise Huth, and Evan Reilly as co-executive producers.
The 16-episode Season 3 of “The Walking Dead” will air in two parts with the first eight hours kicking off October 14th and returning in February, 2013 with the final eight episodes. In the highly anticipated new season, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his fellow survivors continue to seek refuge in a desolate and post-apocalyptic world and soon discover that there are greater forces to fear than just the walking dead. The struggle to survive has never been so perilous. Season 3 also introduces new characters, including the Governor (David Morrissey) and fan favorite Michonne (Danai Gurira), along with her zombie pets.
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