What is in store for the future of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead?’
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 00:10
With AMC’s mega-hit “The Walking Dead” back on the air, in its fourth season, I would like to take a moment to examine the show, the comic and the video game.
The show constantly breaks records in viewership; it is the most watched drama on cable TV at the moment. The show seems to be on a parallel with the comic, sharing many of the same characters and a very similar plot. The comic features some great characters that, for some reason, didn’t translate well to the silver screen. Is it the responsibility of the show runners to create a faithful adaptation of the comic, or should they be trying to make these existing characters their own?
Take the character of Andrea, for instance. In the comic, she is a strong, opinionated zombie-killing machine. She is one of the comic’s strongest and most-liked characters. So when her on-screen character becomes an annoying, frustrating plot device, one can’t help but think about the comparisons between the two. How did the powers-that-be screw up this character so badly, that her on-screen death was met by cheers? And is it the purpose of the show-runners to keep the character the same, or should they try and set out on their own path?
In the case of “The Walking Dead,” the show would have benefited from either one of two options. Option one would be to create a show that tries to follow the story laid out by the comic as faithfully as possible.
Sure, there will be budget constraints that hinder the show from creating the same events from the comic. And, sure, there is no way to ensure that fans of the comic will ever be happy with the show, no matter how accurate it is, but this would eliminate much of the frustration fans of both the comic and the TV show have.
“Game of Thrones” is an example of a TV show that takes the source material, translates it to the screen, changes only a few aspects here and there, but for the most part, remains faithful to George R.R. Martin’s saga.
The other option for the show would be to create a series that contains none of the established characters from the comic. This removes any preconceived notions of the audience as to the plot, characters, etc., and only keeps the world of the events the same. This is why projects such as “The Walking Dead: The Game” a video game from developer Telltale Games, was so successful.
In the game, you play as Lee Everett, a convicted felon on his way to jail. You take control of Lee as soon as the zombie plague hits, and you soon find yourself protecting a young girl named Clementine. “The Walking Dead: The Game” asks you to make split second decisions that have game altering consequences or rewards.
The gameplay is truly unique and fantastic, but part of the reason for the game’s success is due to the fact that the core cast of characters is original. Lee and company cross paths with characters like Glen, and end up on Hershel’s farm for a while, but they never linger, and they serve as a bridge between the established world of “The Walking Dead” and this new game.
As a player, we cannot have any expectations for these new characters, because we have never seen them before. Their story is unique to the game, and we must wait to learn what the future holds for these characters.
It seems that AMC has realized the potential of a new story as a spin-off series of “The Walking Dead” is currently in the works. The possibilities for this show are indeed endless and I am looking forward to the fresh take on the series.
When you create a series based on an established franchise, there will always be people who can never be satisfied with the adaptation that is presented. To some degree, a show that takes characters that fans love and makes them their own should stay faithful to the series. Judging by the first two episodes of season four the show seems to be moving further away from the established world of the comic. Season four is off to a strong start and hopefully it continues to learn from its past mistakes to create something great.