Where I’ve Been and What’s Next

In my last post, I promised an update on why I’ve been absent and information on some of the changes coming to Blogging Dead, so here I am.

Where I’ve Been

In the year or so when I put the blog on hold, I was pursuing my master’s degree part-time and working full-time, which left me very little room for my hobbies. On top of those two things, I was still continuing to review movies on my podcast Spoilerpiece Theatre too. Because one of my co-hosts was going to have a child and knew his free time would be limited after the baby was born, I took over recording and editing the podcast as well. All of these concurrent items just made keeping up with this blog impractical, especially since I was also trying to date during this period.

One fortunate thing that happened to me during this downtime is that I met the love of my life. Thankfully she’s also a Walking Dead super-fan so when we got engaged this year, I was thrilled that she wanted to zombify our engagement photo with AMC’s Dead Yourself app. What a woman. I’m so lucky to have her!

My zombie engagement photo created with AMC's Dead Yourself App.

My zombie engagement photo created with AMC’s Dead Yourself App.

Now that I’ve graduated and I’m more adjusted to my podcasting schedule, I have the time to pick this blog back up and give it the dedication it needs again. Ideally I’d like to get at least one new post up per week, depending on what’s going on with the Walking Dead and zombies in general.

What’s Next

A new look. First, you’ll probably notice that I changed the look of the blog a little bit. I went with a lighter color scheme so that the blog is easier to read. If you like the new color scheme, please leave me a quick comment in support. Or if you’re not a fan and you’d like the old black and red back, feel free to let me know via comment as well.

Recaps are going to be different as well. Instead of going with longform analysis like other sites, I want to make my recaps of episodes and the comics more digestible. I will still include a brief plot summary at the top of my posts, but the remainder will be more list-based, calling out out the best line, the best shot (or comic page), the best zombie kill, the best zombie-related theme, and the best non-zombie related theme present. I might adapt this format to include more or less as I get the hang of it.

That’s all I have for now. I recently downloaded the Walking Dead – No Man’s Land, AMC’s official Walking Dead mobile game, so look out for a post on that soon.

Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16: Last Day on Earth

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here. I had a number of big things going on which made it difficult to maintain this site on top of my film writing and my podcast, so I had to step away for a while. Now that everything has calmed down a bit though, I’ve decided to resurrect Blogging Dead. Plus, after I saw the explosive and divisive Walking Dead Season 6 finale, there was no way I could just sit back without saying anything.

Big changes are coming to the site (mainly in how recaps are structured), but I’ll catch you up on those and tell you more about what I’ve been doing in an upcoming post. For now, let’s just talk about the Season 6 finale.

As usual there are spoilers ahead, so don’t read on unless you’ve already seen it.

The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16: Last Day on Earth

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16

In the entire time I’ve been a fan of the show, I’ve never been as on edge about a character’s fate as I was after the previous episode “East.” Seeing Daryl get shot in the final moment of the episode was so nerve-wracking that I had to rewind it at least three times to make sure he wasn’t dead. So going into the finale I was already anxious about that. I became even more frightened though due to a wild theory I developed that Rick might die. This theory was mainly based on an interview with Andrew Lincoln where he mentioned staying up all night after reading the finale’s script, a fuzzy screenshot featuring Negan’s baseball bat Lucille with a person wearing a white t-shirt in the background, and Rick’s new romance with Michonne. Killing him off would be daring and really change the show’s dynamic.

On top of those worries, the finale itself was an exercise in tension. Between the situation happening with Carol, and the one with Rick and his crew, I was scared for everyone. I spent the entire time clutching my fiancée’s hand tightly, ready to pee my pants long before Negan uttered his famous line about doing so, thanks to Greg Nicotero’s masterful direction. When Negan finally made his debut in the episode’s final minutes, he was amazing. Jeffrey Dean Morgan knocked his big scene out of the park, to use a baseball metaphor. One thing Scott M. Gimple and his writing team did not knock out of the park though, was the episode’s ending.

After building up tension to a volcanic peak, the season ended on a bullshit note with a first person shot of an unknown character getting their brains bashed in by Negan. On Talking Dead, Gimple said his reason for doing so was because this character’s death marked the end of one arc and the beginning of another one next season, but that’s not only baloney, it’s just unfair to do to your audience following that level of build up. Sure he cited other television shows that have done cliffhanger finales, although those situations pale in comparison to this one. Showing who died would have just as much impact, if not more because you’d be left wondering how things could continue.

Now that I’ve properly vented, let’s talk theories about who died. I’ve heard a few like, Glenn because that’s how it goes down in the comics, Eugene because he was finally starting to find his way, Sacha because Abraham would lose it, or Rosita because it would be a blow to the Alexandrian army she has been training. I plan to rewatch the finale again to come up with a rock solid theory, but here are the two most promising ones I’ve heard.

Abraham

The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

“Last Day on Earth” was a big episode for Abraham. He expressed the desire to have a child with Sacha, he made up with Eugene, and he refused to be intimidated by Negan, sitting up straight to look at him. When Negan swings Lucille and declares that whoever it is took it like a champ, Abraham might be the only one who could take a beating like that without dying on the first blow.

Daryl

The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The episode’s other first person shots were of Daryl or someone else in the van covered in a hood. Also, Norman Reedus now has a motorcycle show on AMC which would probably conflict with shooting the Walking Dead. Plus, he’s the only cast member who has said publicly that he knows who died and it’s “gut wrenching.” Finally, Daryl is one of the only characters not in the comic so killing him on the show would be a game changer.

Until I re-review the episode, my money is on Abraham, because I just don’t see how they could kill Daryl without a fan revolt.

Who do you think died in The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 16? Take the poll below or leave a comment with your thoughts and theories.

FilmInk’s Walking Dead Spread and Season 4 Episode Photos

FilmInk Magazine's Walking Dead Cover

FilmInk Magazine’s Walking Dead Cover

Not even Down Under is safe from Walking Dead mania. The undead have invaded there too in Australia’s famous FilmInk magazine, which currently has a Walking Dead cover story AND fold out posters. When I found out about this issue, I knew I had to get my hands on it, so I rushed over to eBay to order a copy. Until I get to devour the meaty content and see what the posters look like though, I’ll just have to marvel at their cover.

With the three most badass characters in the show in one shot, I’m surprised the the camera lenses captured them together without exploding from awesomeness. If I was living in the zombie apocalypse, I would definitely want them on my side, especially Daryl and Michonne. I’d feel pretty safe with them around. What about you? Who would you want in your group?

Also this week AMC’s Dead Alert newsletter released a series of photos from Season 4 in another small attempt to whet fan appetite for the rapidly approaching new episodes. Most of them are actually pretty boring, but the one that has Daryl and Carol together is cute and Tyreese looks amusingly stoic in the image with his shotgun slung over his shoulder. There is a photo that cracked me up: Beth is laying on her bed obviously writing in a journal, however it seems like she’s doing homework (not sure what assignments there would be during the zombie apocalypse) and it appears that one of her room’s decorations is a yard gnome. That’s an odd thing to have hanging around right?

Anyway, I’m ready for Season 4 to start. How about you? What are you looking forward to most about this season? Click here and leave me your thoughts.

A Walking Dead Spinoff?!

Season 3 photo of the cast of The Walking Dead

Image credit: AMC Networks

Holy crap! AMC is creating a Walking Dead spinoff?! It may be old news for you, considering it was revealed last week. Still, I’m in shock because I just found out. It’s unbelievable that such a huge Walking Dead development flew completely under my radar. Normally I watch Facebook, Twitter, and EW.com like a hawk for any information about the show. I thought it was an early April Fools joke when I first saw articles publishing the news like this one in the Los Angeles Times.

The announcements are no prank though. They are very real. Since The Walking Dead is such a cash cow for AMC, right? It’s not surprising that AMC execs are trying to milk the series for all it’s worth. However the idea of a spinoff seems bizarre at this point, considering the current show is still on the air with no signs of cancellation in sight.

This concept is kind of scary because spinoffs are a mixed bag. Some like The Tortellis totally suck, while others like Frasier go on to have almost as much success as their original show. Hopefully this Walking Dead spinoff will be more akin to the latter than the former seeing that AMC president Charlie Collier says it will include “an entirely new story and cast of characters.”

The silver lining about this revelation is that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman will anchor the project as a producer, and that he’s excited about it. According to the Los Angeles Times, Kirkman said “I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of ‘The Walking Dead’ universe. The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing.” I’m encouraged by Kirkman’s enthusiasm and excellent leadership on the current show to-date. Maybe this spinoff will provide him the creative energy he needs to tell another gripping saga.

How do you feel about the idea of a Walking Dead spinoff? Click here and leave me your thoughts.

Robert Kirkman’s ‘Cribs’ and A Preview of The Walking Dead Season 4

Thankfully Robert Kirkman isn’t reviving MTV’s gaudy television show Cribs. The Walking Dead‘s creator only borrows the program’s cheesy format for his recent behind-the-scenes video from AMC’s weekly Dead Alert newsletter. Instead of visiting someone’s extravagant mansion like Cribs does, Kirkman takes you for a stroll around his Walking Dead Season 4 prison set.

This season picks up several months after Season 3. Kirkman shows us what the prison dwellers constructed to make this inhospitable space more homey. Kirkman’s jokes are terrible, but his tour is still exciting for two reasons. First, it piques your curiosity about how the characters will use these new tools in The Walking Dead Season 4. Second, if you’re into Kirkman’s comics, it suddenly makes a two-dimensional world become three-dimensional. The prison grounds that you imagined while reading the comics, become a tangible place that you can visually explore, which gives the story fresh depth and believability.

FYI: Ditching plausibility for a minute, my favorite part of this video is the arsenal of zombie-killing weapons that Kirkman displays. What’s yours?

AMC released via Dead Alert released another video to drum up fan fervor about the upcoming season. From a preview perspective, ‘A Look at Season 4: The Walking Dead,’ doesn’t offer much footage you haven’t already seen in other Season 4 trailers and promos. However, the show’s producers throw you a bone by dropping hints about what’s to come for your favorite characters.

The most insightful morsel comes from producer, occasional director, and special effects guru Greg Nicotero, “What would you be willing to do? And can you come back from the things you’ve done to survive?” These questions cut straight to the core of what makes the show and the comics so addictive. The true thrill isn’t seeing zombies maul people. It’s observing how people struggle to remain human in a world where inhuman choices are required for survival. That’s why I’m captivated by the show and the comics. What about it captivates you? And more importantly, do you think showrunner Scott Gimple is right when he says, “There might not be any hope?”

Click here and share your thoughts.

Thoughts on AMC’s Interview with Gale Anne Hurd

Gale Anne Hurd

Photo by Gene Page Copyright TWD Productions LLC. All rights reserved

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, which has been partly due to my busy schedule and partly because of the slowdown in Walking Dead news. To give you something new, I thought I’d share my quick thoughts AMC’s interview with Gale Anne Hurd, Executive Producer of The Walking Dead. The piece comes from this week’s Dead Alert newsletter and gives you a tiny glimpse behind the scenes of Season 4.

I think it’s pretty funny that they do a zombie school every season. That’s an educational institution that I’d love to attend. I’d be super nervous auditioning for a special effects guru like Greg Nicotero though. I also like the bit that Hurd reveals about the zombies being more ravenous in Season 4. I’d imagine food supplies are starting to dwindle with more and more humans joining the ranks of the undead. Less food creates problems for living people too, and forces them to get creative about what they use for food. Anyone who’s read The Walking Dead comics, will know what I’m talking about.

From the interview with Gale Anne Hurd, it sounds like they deal with some nasty weather on set with terrible extremes. It’s crazy to think that a tree falling down could halt production in an area. I’m sure those hot sticky Southern days are a bear too.  I think she has a smart philosophy about keeping people well-fed to make sure they stay happy. I know it would be a lot easier dealing with all the elements knowing that I could have gourmet mac and cheese at lunch.

My favorite questions during the interview with Gale Anne Hurd are the last two. She gained a lot of respect in my book after sharing her mantra: Good enough, isn’t. As a meticulous person myself, I appreciate people who like to do things right and care a lot about doing careful, quality work. And then the final question about which character on the show would make a good producer was fun. I would agree with her that Rick and Daryl have the right personality traits.

Which character from The Walking Dead do you think would make the best producer?

Thoughts on AMC’s Robert Kirkman Fan Chat

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching the season finale, before reading further.

Robert Kirkman, Executive Producer and Writer for The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman, Executive Producer and Writer for The Walking Dead

This week’s Dead Alert newsletter contains Part I or a two part interview with Walking Dead Executive Producer, Writer, and Creator Robert Kirkman, which is conducted entirely through fan questions. I found the Part II linked and available so I’m going to comment on both of them.

A few of the questions fans ask Kirkman in Part I are fairly common things fans might want to know, but unfortunately elicit really uninspired responses. These are questions like “What was the reasoning behind having Laurie Holden’s character killed in the Season 3 Finale? With Rick bringing more people back to the prison, will this is some way complicate his relationship with Carl? Can you talk more about the casting process for the show? and Robert, will we see Morgan again?”

It doesn’t surprise me that they had a plan for how Andrea’s death would impact characters in Season 4 of the show. Otherwise it would have seemed pretty pointless to kill her. I think we could already see Rick and Carl’s relationship getting complicated in the middle of Season 3, plus they seemed to be at even greater odds during the finale. I was pretty certain that their relationship would change in “startling and interesting ways” as Kirkman puts it. Casting? Do people really want to know about that generally? It only seems like something that should be of note when it comes to specific actors. I guess, a general question gets a generic response. And then lastly, I’m not sure why they would bother re-introducing Morgan if the writers had no intention of him showing up again. That would just be silly to waste him as an ammo producing plot device.

The other questions in Part I are much more fascinating. It’s cool to learn how an actor finds out about his or her character’s impending death and how much say he/she has in the actual death scene. I’m not surprised they play things close to the chest. I wouldn’t want a performance tarnished by someone’s awareness that they would die either. I like that someone asked if the group could survive without Rick. Killing off a central character like that could be risky, however it would be exciting and take the show in cool directions the comic hasn’t gone. Lastly on Part I, I absolutely LOVE that someone asked Kirkman about the Walking Dead/Toy Story meme floating around which compares the similarities between the two. Kirkman takes a silly question like that with a good sense of humor and reveals something we all probably suspected. No coincidence intended.

Robert-Kirkman-Fan-Interview-2The questions fans ask in Part II of the Robert Kirkman Fan Chat are much more interesting. There’s only one question that seems like a setup for Kirkman to play coy “Can you shed any light into how the Governor’s story will continue…or close in Season 4?” Of course he wouldn’t spoil any details, which is why Kirkman responds “I can say the Governor will certainly be around. But we’ll be seeing him in a new light, and doing some different stuff with him, so it’s not going to be the same Governor in Season 4.”

The question about whether Kirkman would want to be a walker is a bit cheesy, but still goofy and fun. I can’t see too many people answering yes to that question. I dig the inquiries about differences between The Walking Dead show and the comic. When asked which one he cherishes more, I had no doubt he would say the comic considering he created that first and has been working on it for some time. I also liked learning about story lines Kirkman wished he had thought of for the comic.

My favorite questions in the entire two-part interview though are tied for the one about Daryl’s potential love life (simply based upon how it’s phrased), and the one about whether a particular zombie in Season 3 Episode 15 was meant to be a nod to “Dawn of the Dead.” I can’t believe how observant that person was! I’m shocked that I didn’t notice such a brilliant nuance considering how much I love George Romero’s film AND the fact that I usually pick out all sorts of tiny references.

I’m already going through withdrawls now that Season 3 is over. I don’t think interviews like this will sustain me all summer, so it’s back to reading more of the comic, playing the video game, and perhaps finally checking out the webisodes.