Ready for even more zombies? Oh... no? Well, too bad.
AMC, after probably realizing that no one is going to sit through Low Winter Sun no matter how many Breaking Bad sneak peeks you cram inside each episode, has decided to make a new show by doing what has worked best for them over the few years, creating original ideas for engaging television shows forcing more zombies on us.
Variety reports that the network is developing a new companion series based off of their monster hit The Walking Dead. The new series will come from Robert Kirkman, original creator of The Walking Dead comics, and executive producers Gale Anne Hurd and Dave Alpert. The show would take place in the same universe as The Walking Dead, but would feature an all-new cast of characters.
In a statement about the new companion series, Kirkman said, "After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, 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."
AMC seems to be looking towards old successes for its newest properties. Along with this new Walking Dead spin-off, the network is also developing a series based on Breaking Bad. The Breaking Bad spin-off would feature the adventures of sleazy bus bench lawyer Saul Goodman before he meets Walter White. While the Saul Goodman spin-off idea seems to have come from a place of genuine creativity and desire to make something artful, the announcement of this Walking Dead companion piece feels like nothing short of a ratings grab. AMC president Charlie Collier even alludes to that fact in a recent release, saying, "Building on the success of the most popular show on television for adults 18-49 is literally a no-brainer."
AMC originally made it's prestigious name in the televison drama market by creating the kinds of programs that have challenged the way we precieve television, and the types of stories that the medium can depict. Shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and even The Walking Dead were daring moves that paid off because they presented viewers with something different and exciting. We hope that this new series can deliver the same crowd-pleasing blood splatter that the original show is known for, but this is certainly television production at its most cold and clinical.
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While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]