5 For Friday: The Walking Dead vs. The Walking Dead
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m obsessed with The Walking Dead, so for this week’s entry of 5 For Friday, I’ve decided to examine the differences between the comics and the television series and decide which one got it right.
5. Lori and the Baby
This one is a tough one, because on the show, it remains to be seen what will come of the baby. As it is AMC, I assume that the baby will not be put in any real danger. That’s sort of where the show fails us. There’s definitely a blandness that must be endured due to standards and practices. I really can’t fault the show for having to comply with censors, but the comic was uncompromising. In one fell swoop, Rick lost both of them and it justifies his descent in to madness and callousness much more than simply losing his wife and gaining a daughter. Obviously, the loss of a loved one is traumatizing, but his hallucinations seem downright contrived.
This one’s a no contest. What the show did with Shane far surpasses what the comic managed to pull from his character. Shane got to be the polar opposite to Rick on the moral compass of things and was a fantastic antagonist because of it. Jon Bernthal’s performance was perfect, darting from a bloodthirsty maniac to a levelheaded survivalist at the snap of a finger. He was opportunistic, sometimes immoral, but that’s what you expect to get from a selfish person in that sort of situation. He did what he had to do in order to survive and he made the group a dynamic, volatile group of people.
3. The Phone
This is a big one, and a missed opportunity on the part of the television series. Related to #5, the drama over the phone plays out so well in the comic, while in the series, it is reduced to a single episode. The comic leads you on for quite a while and the final reveal is a serious punch to the gut. It’s one of the first tips we get at Rick’s descent into his own head and the timing is a big part of it. Once again, it probably comes down to the change in the medium. As a television show, watching a character talk on the phone over half a season wouldn’t be too thrilling, so condensing it to a single episode plays fan-service to the diehards while allowing the story to progress past it. However, as the show has gone on, it has taken different ways to basically do what the phone story arc would have accomplished, but it’s far sillier.
2. Daryl Dixon
No competition here, for obvious reasons. Daryl Dixon is the single best change that AMC made to the storyline. A character with a complicated past, Daryl has perhaps the most interesting character arc aside from Rick. Tough on the outside, but compassionate on the inside, Daryl is the great right-hand man that Rick never had in the comic. Daryl brings the survival skill set that no other character possesses and he’s arguably the main reason the group has made it as far as they have. He doesn’t say much, but he’s always there with a well-placed arrow. I’m interested to see where his relationship with Carol leads.
Ugh. If Daryl is the best change that the series has made, Andrea is easily the worst. In the comic, she WAS Daryl. Deadly with a gun and a vantage point, Andrea was the best shot in the entire group. She was strong, assertive, and a great female character. In the series, she finds herself in the damsel in distress role way too often, especially in the second season. When she’s not in any imminent danger, she has an air of false bravado and assertiveness that belies any and all past characterizations.
Winner: The Comic
Overall Winner: The Comic
Make no mistake; I enjoy both iterations of The Walking Dead, but for different reasons. The comic has the ability to do things in terms of violence that AMC would never be able to get away with, but succeeds in some story arcs that the comic did not develop as much. The show is one of the must watches of the week for me and I’m interested to see where it goes from here. The conflict with the Governor is about to reach its climax, so hopefully the creators don’t screw it up. It’s a defining moment in the comic and if they do it wrong, it could kill my enjoyment of the show.