Walking Dead ‘Honest Trailer’ and Robert Kirkman Plays ‘Zombify This’

Walking Dead Honest Trailer by Screen Junkies

Honest Trailers by Screen Junkies

Apparently Screen Junkies has a series called Honest Trailers where they lampoon television shows and movies by creating fake trailers for them. Recently I found out that they did one for The Walking Dead, so naturally I decided to watch it. The verdict? It’s actually pretty funny.

There are some obnoxiously humorous lines like “From the network that brought you Breaking Bad, a show you couldn’t stop watching, comes a show so inconsistent you have to keep talking yourself into watching.” And annoyingly honest comments such as “A leader who stands by his decision…until he doesn’t.”

In fairness, I can understand their beef about the show’s vacillating pace, especially in Season 2. Hence why I laughed when they emphasized how boring things were on the farm, “…f*** that farm.” Also they raise a decent point about Rick’s flip flopping. I think that has more to do with circumstances constantly changing though, than Rick’s weak will.

The folks at Screen Junkies make some hilariously astute observations about the weird faces Dale makes, Shane’s nervous tick of rubbing his head, and the number of times people call themselves “the group.” However for my money, it doesn’t get any funnier than when they do a montage of character deaths. What’s your favorite part of the trailer?

Robert Kirkman on Speakeasy with Paul F. Tompkins

Robert Kirkman on Speakeasy with Paul F. Tompkins

I also learned that comedian Paul F. Tompkins (Open Mic Host from Tenacious D) has a web show called Speakeasy for Mademan.com where he interviews celebs over their favorite cocktail. In one of his recent episodes, he plays a fun game called “Zombify This” with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman.

Although Tompkins is slightly awkward as an interviewer, this amusing segment is worth watching. First Tompkins gives Kirkman a piece of entertainment, then Kirkman has to say how he would integrate zombies into that property. Kirkland choices? Sesame Street, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Mad Men.

Kirkman actually does a great job coming up with ideas on how zombies could be part of those properties. His take on Temple of Doom is probably the best, because he can’t remember the villain’s name, so Tompkins has to keep correcting him. Which zombified piece do you prefer?

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 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.


The Walking Dead Comic, Chapter One: Days Gone By

Walking Dead Comic Days Gone By

“The Walking Dead,” created by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore

Warning: This Walking Dead comic post contains spoilers. Please wait until after reading Chapter One, before exploring further. 

Summary: After he’s shot in the line of duty, police officer Rick Grimes, wakes up to find the world overrun by flesh-eating zombies (aka walkers). A kind stranger named Morgan and his son Duane fill Rick in on what’s happening and help him get back on his feet. Then Rick sets out to find his wife and son in Atlanta, where he believes they’ve found safe haven. He nearly gets overwhelmed by zombies in the city, but Rick is saved by another Good Samaritan Glenn, who brings the weary traveler back to his camp of survivors. One he arrives, Rick finds that his best friend Shane is there and that he has taken care of Rick’s wife Lori and son Carl. The grateful Rick reunites with Lori and Carl, although he doesn’t realize that Shane isn’t willing to give up his new family so easily.

The first issue of The Walking Dead comic, Chapter One: Days Gone By, starts out briskly with only a single page of back story before it throws you into the fray. You see Rick get shot in the line of duty and then the next thing you know he’s jolted awake, alone in the hospital. Because you don’t learn much about Rick beforehand, there’s more fear and urgency to Rick’s situation. It’s very much like the opening to the Danny Boyle film “28 Days Later,” except Rick discovers the flesh eaters quicker.

Unlike a film, the comic doesn’t have sound or music to amplify the anxiety of Rick’s frightening discoveries. It also lacks color, something that would normally add to the disgusting characterization of the zombies you see. What’s amazing about the comic is that even without these embellishments, it’s remarkably successful at telling a grim, unsettling tale. That’s because the incredibly detailed dialogue, spelled out sounds (like “BLAM!”), and facial expressions of the characters compensate for the absence of more in-your-face methods. Lighting and shading are also used to bolster the atmosphere in this tale by establishing time of day and providing another layer of emotional depth to each individual scene.

Stylistically, the layout is a nice mixture of different types of art. There are pages comprised entirely of framed sketches, half-page scenes which have framed drawings woven around them, and in some instances, full-page art. I love artist Tony Moore doesn’t draw the frames straight and crisp. Instead they have a rougher, uneven look that fits in with the comic’s post apocalyptic setting. The most compelling work is obviously the full-page stuff, which can be incredibly gruesome, frightening, or beautiful in a disquieting way.

From a story perspective there are some really entertaining things going on, like when Rick and Glenn coat themselves in walker blood and body parts as a disguise. This wacky plan keeps the zombies from smelling them in Atlanta, and allows the pair to retrieve a cache of guns. It’s one of the better things that The Walking Dead television show lifts from the comic. The traumatizing zombie attacks and deaths of group members are tough to read, but they serve to mentally prepare you for future books in the series, which aren’t shy about killing characters off. The conflict between Rick and Shane is also really intense. When Lori tells Shane it’s over between them in the pouring rain you feel his pain and when Shane’s yelling at Rick you can sense his raw anger.

Probably the best moment in the first chapter of The Walking Dead comic, is the climactic showdown between Rick and Shane at the end. After Carl shoots Shane to protect his father, the issue closes on a disturbing piece of full-page art. Rick and his son share a scared embrace over Shane’s dead body.

What did you think of the first Walking Dead comic? If you watch the show, were you happy with the elements they brought over from this first issue into Season 1?

Walking Dead Season 1 Ep. 1 (Days Gone By) Recap

Rick about to shoot girl zombie

The Walking Dead Copyright 2010 AMC TV

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 1 post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen this episode, please wait until after watching, before reading further.

Summary: After being shot, Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), wakes up in an abandoned hospital, shocked to find his loved ones missing and his town overrun by flesh-eating zombies. A Good Samaritan Morgan Jones (Lennie James) and his son Duane (Adrian Kali Turner) fill Rick in on what’s happening and help him get back on his feet. Rick then sets out to find his wife and son in Atlanta, Georgia, where he believes they’ve found safe haven.

Even though AMC’s The Walking Dead is based on Robert Kirkman’s zombie comics, the creators establish in the very first episode that blood and guts aren’t the main objective. There’s gore and a very tense survival tale at its core, but ultimately the series is about human beings trying to hold onto sanity in a screwed up world. I think that’s why the show appeals to people who haven’t read Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comics and normally might not watch zombie movies. The characters live in a post-apocalyptic setting, where they consistently have to make hard choices they wouldn’t have faced in their previous lives, and that creates some gripping drama.

Right in the opening scene of Days Gone By, you’re drawn in. The solitary Rick wanders through a barren, eerily quiet landscape. With almost no ambient sounds, the tension slowly becomes greater as your pulse quickens and you experience immense dread. You know something bad is about to happen, and the payoff comes when he discovers a zombie girl. Reacting quickly, Rick makes the difficult decision to put her down. After this opening, I knew I was going to have fun with the series.

From there, you’re taken through a flashback where you meet Rick’s partner Shane (Jon Bernthal), and discover the circumstances of how he got shot. In Rick’s conversation with Shane about women, you can already get a sense that Shane’s not the greatest guy based on his sexist comments. I could tell that although he is Rick’s friend, and he’s loyal, he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on.

The remainder of the episode is a really intense emotional roller coaster, as you watch Rick cope with the loss of his family and to accept his new-found circumstances. You also experience Morgan’s suffering over the loss of his wife. In his brief role, actor Lennie James gives a heartfelt, pained performance when his character tries to finally take care of his zombified wife. This whole act really fleshes out the human part of the show nicely.

Before the show goes right back to scary peril, you at least find out that Rick’s wife and son are safe under Shane’s care. The problem is that they aren’t in Atlanta, and the city is a death trap. So once Rick arrives there, he’s overrun by a herd of zombies, forcing him to hide inside a tank. Episode 1 ends as superbly as it began, with an aerial shot of the horde of zombies swarming the tank. Ominous music plays as the screen fades to black and the credits roll. With this, they almost imply the question “What will happen to our hero next week? Tune in to find out.”

When you saw the first episode of Walking Dead did you like it immediately? Or did it take you a few weeks to get into it? What was your favorite scene/part from the first episode? Were you surprised how quickly they showed you that Rick’s wife and son were okay?

Walking Dead Takes Over ‘The Soup’

The Walking Dead Facebook page, posted this silly video today of Norman Reedus and Steve Yeun killing zombies on ‘The Soup.’ I love that people from the cast are such good sports about lampooning the show and joking around. I think that really proves that they know their target audience: nerdy horror fans who appreciate self-parody.

There are some pretty obvious stabs at celebrities in this, but it’s still amusing. Heck creator Robert Kirkman even turns up. It’s funny how awkward Steve Yeun is when he is hosting ‘The Soup,’ and mostly just disturbing to see Norman Reedus in a bikini top. There’s a moment when Joel McHale is taking a video with his phone, accidentally taping his face instead of the zombie-killing, which I really wanted someone to bring up. The disappointed look on his face would have been great once he realized he missed the zombie killing action.

Apparently I didn’t realize this was the second episode they’ve done, so I watched the first one (below), and honestly I think the it’s funnier. Hard to beat someone in a giant maxi pad costume with an AK-47.