AMC's planned The Walking Dead spinoff is now quite possibly going to be a prequel detailing just how the zombie plague was created, as reported by TVLine. So far, the reaction from fans has been a dispassionate, zombie-like "enh," but everyone at the cable network is still trying to drum up enthusiasum for the followup to their most popular show.
The series, set a few years before The Walking Dead, will finally answer exactly how the virus was made, and for what purpose. Series creator Robert Kirkman is developing the new show as well, but he'll no longer have his own source material to work with, as the comics remain focused on Rick & Co. Instead, we could be spending time with the geniuses who developed a zombie supervirus and then let it turn into a raging epidemic.
What's odd is that AMC is framing this idea as a novel, exciting concept — getting to see what happened before the apocolypse hit. But if anything, there's been a glut of films with that exact premise, and the thing that made Walking Dead stand out was how the characters had to deal with the huge change that wasn't their fault. But plenty of fans will likely take this new series as a chance to jump ship from the staid characters on the original show, which has struggled to find an emotional center or meaningful conflicts from the remaining cast. But, with the same people behind the camera on both shows, there's no reason to believe the same thing won't happen with a new group of people. Especially a group of people that develop a zombie supervirus. And then release it into the world. Which it ruins. It's creating a The Newsroom-like hindsight-is-20/20 timeline, but instead of enabling the characters to somehow be future-predicting supersavants, they'll constantly be messing up — because they can't fix their own mistakes or come up with a cure without contradicting The Walking Dead.
This series isn't even planned to air until 2015, so there's plenty of news to come, and potentially change. But with their only other new shows on the horizon another potential comic book adaptation and another prequel, AMC has their work cut out for them.
Returning Series: The Walking Dead
Premiere Date: Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9pm ET
Number of Seasons On the Air: This will be The Walking Dead's third season on the air, but so far we've only seen a few episodes with new showrunner Glen Mazzara.
You’d Like It If…: You don't mind depressing, post-apocalyptic scenarios. You find dystopias to be fascinating. You enjoy the intense, morally ambiguous debates about how to govern a government-less society on shows like Fringe and Battlestar Galactica, but think both of those shows would benefit from more gore.
You’d Hate It If…: You like all of your zombie fare to be as fast-paced as, say, 28 Days Later. Walking Dead can be a slow burn. Also, if you're not a horror fan.
Walking Dead’s Formula: Day of the Dead's zombies meet Battlestar Galactica's band of lost, aimless misfits meets Dallas' southern accents meets The Road's horrifying portrayal of human-on-human post-apocalyptic violence.
Ratings: Pretty damn sexy for a cable series. Last year's finale brought in 9 million viewers, which is like four times the amount of your average NBC comedy.
Accolades: None of the actors have received any Emmy love, but the series has won for its makeup and prosthetics two years in a row. In 2011, Walking Dead received a Golden Globe Best TV Drama Series nom. Not bad!
Where The Walking Dead Left Off: Phew. Got a sec? After an attack on Hershel's farm (which resulted in the deaths of a few of his many family members), Andrea was separated from the gang, and eventually teamed up with badass newcomer Michonne. Rick told the rest of the Grimes Gang — who congregated on an abandoned highway — that he had killed Shane, and that the walker virus had infected all of them. In Walking Dead speak, that means that even dying a natural death will turn people into zombies. Not. Cool. As the show faded to credits, a large prison was shown, looming in the background.
Where The Walking Dead Is Headed: To prison! Most of the Grimes Gang will battle walkers in the aforementioned prison, where they'll find, at least temporarily, some cots, food, and protection. Andrea and Michonne will eventually meet up with the mysterious new villain, the Governor, who has developed some sort of utopian village amidst all of the chaos. Of course, nothing in the village will be as it seems. We still don't know when these two plotlines will intersect, but Norman Reedus told us that they definitely will at some point this season.
Cast: Where do I start? We have Brit Andrew Lincoln as Rick, the former Sheriff charged with making most of the impossible moral decisions on the show. Sarah Wayne Callies is his pregnant wife, Lori, who had an affair with Rick's recently deceased, former best friend Shane. Chandler Riggs is their son Carl, who wears a stupid hat and does stupid things. Steven Yeun is the priceless Glenn, Lauren Cohan is Glenn's new ladylove, Maggie, Scott Wilson is Maggie's dad, Hershel, and Emily Kinney is Maggie's frequently suicidal sister, Beth. Laurie Holden is the long-suffering Andrea, who has teamed up with newcomer Danai Gurira's Michonne. Rounding out the gang are IronE Singleton as T-Dog, who maybe has one line per episode, and Melissa McBride as Carol, who lost her daughter Sophia after a painfully long search last season. David Morrissey will join the cast later this season as The Governor, one of the comics' main antagonists, who leads another pack of survivors. Oh, but wait, and am I forgetting someone? Oh yes, Norman Reedus stars as Daryl Dixon, the most badass, wonderful, crossbow-wielding character on the show. We love him. We love him so much.
High Point: The final three episodes of last season, which almost made up for the torturous pace of the entire first half of the season (see below). First was the impossible debate over executing teenage prisoner Randall, then there was the heartbreaking death of father figure Dale. That was week one. Then came Shane's final betrayal — convinced that he would be a better father and leader than Rick, he led him into the woods for a good old fashioned murder. Rick got to him first, stabbing him to death. Rick's young son, Carl, was watching the whole time, and when he shot the newly zombie-fied Shane in the head, a massive number of walkers headed their way. Eek! This led to an epic finale, where the gang (arguably) won the battle at Hershel's farm, and learned that they would all be walkers one day. Rough.
Low Point: The first seven episodes of last season. We love Frank Darabont, but dedicating seven episodes to the search for a minor character — while nothing else happened — was an epic fail. By the end, the reveal that she was a zombie in Hersel's barn the whole time wasn't even that shocking.
Who To Watch It With: Your significant other, because you might need someone to cuddle up to during the scary parts. If you don't have an SO, I'd recommend buying a teddy bear.
Who Not to Watch It With: Frank Darabont.
Appropriate Food and Beverage Pairing: You might want to avoid food for this one, as some of the walkers on this show are pretty vomit-inducing. (See: the "well walker" below.) As for beverages, I'd go for a nice, cold beer — there won't be many after the zombie apocalypse!
Cringeworthy moment: Try to forget the well walker. We dare you.
Cast Member to Root For: Daryl Dixon. We're a sucker for this occasionally profound, fiercely loyal redneck with a heart of gold. His kind words for Carol last season were pretty heartbreaking, and he's not afraid to do what needs to be done — even if that means shooting a beloved character (Dale) in the face.
Cast Member to Root Against: We hate to say it, but Lori. The female characters on this show don't get a lot of love (though we do like Maggie, Carol, and occasionally Andrea), but Lori is just the worst. She's a classic damsel in distress type on a show that really just needs some badasses. Also, she slept with Shane, which is pretty gross.
What You’re Most Likely to Yell at the Screen: "BEHIND YOU!"
So, Will You Watch It?: Hell yes you will! It's water cooler fare at its finest, and even though it's up against some fierce competition (cough cough, Revenge), this one is worth a DVR at the very least. Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna [PHOTO CREDIT: AMC] MORE: Create Your Own Adventure: 'The Walking Dead' 'Walking Dead' Season 3 Photo Puzzle: Almost There! — EXCLUSIVE CONTEST 'Walking Dead' Season 3 Spoilers: Lori & Rick "Eroding from the Inside Out"
As the opening song belts out fast cars champagne and caviar are what professional basketball player Jamal Jeffries (played by Miguel A. Nunez Jr.) is all about. In fact Jeffries is so taken by his own success that he doesn't sign autographs but uses a stamp. His Dennis Rodman-style antics however reach a breaking point when he strips during a game in front of millions of fans and flings his jock strap into the seats. The stunt gets him thrown out of the league and before he can say "slam-dunk " Jeffries loses his house his cars and his girlfriend. Desperate to work again at the one thing he does best Jeffries comes up with the mother of all schemes: He shaves his legs dabs on mascara and tries out for the women's league--and it works. But as he builds friendships and gains the trust of the women on his team he feels torn between his obligation to his team the Banshees and his need to return to a normal life. If you've seen the 1982 comedy Tootsie you know exactly how this film plays out. Surprisingly Juwanna Mann is not crammed with bad slapstick humor but is an entertaining twist on an old classic with a delightfully sweet storyline.
Nunez (Nutty Professor II: The Klumps) not only pulls off the Jamal/Juwanna character with ease but he pretty much steals the show here. His character comes off as endearing rather than obnoxious because he takes his role as a woman seriously and is never condescending about playing in the women's league. Nunez also delivers some great one-liners the best being when he is fighting off advances from the gold-toothed Puff Smokey Smoke. Vivica A. Fox (Two Can Play That Game) plays Michelle a fellow player whom Jeffries develops feelings for. Although it's hard to buy the sweet and almost delicate Fox in such an athletic role she pulls it off--but there is not all that much chemistry between her and Nunez. As Jeffries' crass sports agent Lorne Daniels Kevin Pollak (3000 Miles to Graceland) is seedy with just the right touch of humanity so his character is not completely despicable. The most cartoonish and unlikable character is Tommy Davidson's (Bamboozled) Puff Smokey Smoke. He has some funny lines but is too far-fetched to be believable.
Jesse Vaughan who directed a season of In Living Color makes his directorial debut with Juwanna Mann. Judging from the trailer I thought the film would be a low-brow comedy with a lot of overdone men-in-heels humor. I was instead pleasantly surprised by the film's storyline which--although it is a complete take on Tootsie--is short sweet and non-offensive. While some characters like Puff Smokey Smoke are a bit over the top Nunez's Jamal/Juwanna character is never clownish and well developed enough that you can't help but feel for his/her predicament. Some scenes appear to have a Klumps influence like the scene in which Jeffries is playing cards with his aunt and a gang of her senior friends but the overall effect is a moderately funny film peppered with some slightly funnier moments. Newcomer Bradley Allenstein had the sense to deliver a sweet comedy screenplay that was short enough and knew when to quit.