I’ve enjoyed The Walking Dead since it began in 2010. I will admit, though, that it took a while to find its groove. Season one was met with a mixed reaction from fans. A lot of people, mainly those that were merely familiar with the comic’s existence, yet haven’t cracked a book yet, were okay(oblivious) to the changes that were made to the story, and some of the characters, while some purists decided then and there that they weren’t even going to give it a chance. Just know, that if we run into one another in a discussion, and you’re trash talking the show, I will not take you seriously if you tell me you either haven’t watched past the first season, or in some cases, haven’t watched more than a few episodes of the first season. You are entitled to your poorly informed opinions, just as I am entitled to think you’re annoying. The show didn’t really hit its stride until the latter half of the second season. I know that a lot of people got sick of the location of the second season, but I really don’t think there’s any denying that, when compared to season one, the show had drastically increased in quality. Starting in that season, though, since the first season was only six episodes, versus the new sixteen episode structure, we had to deal with a long break in between the first eight episodes, and the last eight episodes. In my opinion, once the second season returned from break, the show had transformed into a legitimate TV drama contender.
Major Spoilers From Seasons One And Two Will Follow! Season Three Spoilers will be kept to an absolute minimum.
In season 3 of the show, rather than picking up directly where the last season ended, a time period of around eight months has passed. The group has spent the entire winter on the road, rummaging from house to house, finding enough food and supplies to get them to the next stop. We never really see any flashbacks to this period of time, save for a couple of seconds worth that center around Andrea, and the newly introduced character of Michonne. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about how much they’ve changed the characters, and how different the characters deaths have been on the show, versus how they were in the comic, but having gotten caught up with the comic recently, I can state that there really wasn’t a choice in that matter, From the jump, entirely new characters were added to the show, such as Daryl and Merle Dixon. We’re also introduced to Tyresse during this season. In the comics, Tyresse has been Rick’s right-hand-man for a long time. Most of the things that Daryl has helped the group with since stepping up to the plate, were things that were handled by Tyresse in the comics.
So, it’s not really that the characters die differently in the show. It’s a bit deeper than that. It wouldn’t have nearly the same impact when compared. For example, when Shane dies on the show, it is a big production, or a major plot point, if you will. In the comics, it doesn’t even emphasize his death. It just sort of happens, and very early on in the story. I think it’s a good thing that they aren’t just recreating the comics frame for frame. And honestly, I think most of you that claim otherwise do too. I really think that even the most hardcore purist that claims to be upset about how different the show is as compared to the comic, would be complaining even more if they had adhered to it strictly. This is a TV drama that was “Based on the hit comic created by Kirkman”. It is NOT “Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: The Series.
So much of the content within the comic is a little more risque than you generally see on even M rated shows. I don’t know if you’ve forgotten, but there was a lot of humping happening between characters in the books. Sexual taboos such as polyamory and actual instances of rape, rather than implied sexual assault are harder to get away with when you already have as much violence and gore in your show as any R rated horror film. What I’m trying to say is that the sexual maturity level of the books is a little steeper than it is on the show. But it’s not just that. There is a much thicker sexual tone to the books. You can get away with a lot, especially now that they’ve ditched the TV-14 nonsense, and have started giving us the M rated episodes, but you have to rely on implied sexuality, rather than depicting sexual situations explicitly. And, while there are definitely an emphasis on relationships in the TV show, and yes, characters do have sex, it feels less sleazy, and more endearing.
I actually think, that the show has done some things that have played out a little better than they did in the books, 20/20 hindsight, and all. But I also think some things were handled better in the books. I’d say I enjoy both of them equally. It’s nice to see some similar situations being recreated for the screen, even if they take a different approach. Season three implements a lot of what made the prison section of the books great, as well as building its own tension and character arcs. If you’re one of the people I mentioned before that didn’t bother watching past the first season, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. Is it as great of a show as something like Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy? Not entirely, but I genuinely think it’s getting there. Season three was the best season, in my opinion. Each season has been greater than the last, and I see no evidence that that pattern will be broken any time soon. Surprisingly, there are more special features on this set than almost any of Anchor Bay’s recent film releases. There are featurettes, commentaries and deleted scenes for a number of specific episodes. The real reason to buy this Blu-Ray though, is the phenomenal video and audio quality. You may think it looks good broadcast in HD, but you haven’t seen(or heard) anything yet. The picture quality is absolutely gorgeous, and the audio quality is some of the best I’ve ever heard. Disgusting mashing and gnawing noises will fill up every corner of your media room, and the many exchanges of gunfire will probably wake your neighbors.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season is now available on DVD & Blu-Ray from Starz/Anchor Bay. Season four of The Walking Dead will begin on October 13th(plenty of time to get current).