Long live the un­dead

The­walk­ingdead

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By NI­CHOLAS YONG

cre­ator Robert Kirkman says sea­son two of the zom­bie TV se­ries will be darker.

VAM­PIRES are all the rage on the big and small screens these days, with view­ers flock­ing to the likes of the cel­lu­loid Twi­light Saga and TV se­ries True Blood, which has been re­newed for a fifth sea­son. But comic writer Robert Kirkman, 32 – cre­ator of the ac­claimed comic and TV se­ries The Walk­ing Dead – sounds more than a lit­tle dis­mis­sive about emo vam­pires.

The Walk­ing Dead, about a group of sur­vivors in a world rav­aged by a zom­bie virus, he says “is much more about sur­vival and pro­tect­ing your loved ones ... than it is wor­ry­ing about some­one driv­ing a stake into your heart or dy­ing to marry a pretty girl or what­ever it is they do in vam­pire sto­ries these days.”

He adds: “Zom­bies are an un­re­lent­ing force that you have to have hu­man char­ac­ters deal­ing with, so by de­sign, do­ing a zom­bie story makes you tell hu­man sto­ries.”

Fo­cus­ing on the other kind of un­dead crea­ture has cer­tainly paid off hand­somely for Kirkman.

The first sea­son of The Walk­ing Dead was nom­i­nated for a Golden Globe for Best Tele­vi­sion Se­ries and the show is re­turn­ing for a sec­ond sea­son. Rat­ings for the sea­son one fi­nale in the United States peaked at six mil­lion view­ers. The sec­ond sea­son pre­miered in the United States last Sun­day.

In a con­fer­ence call from Los An­ge­les re­cently, he en­thused about how he has been given “an un­prece­dented level of con­trol” over the show as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer. He notes that when­ever source ma­te­rial such as a comic or novel is adapted to cel­lu­loid, the cre­ator usu­ally has min­i­mal in­volv­ment. But he is in a some­what unique sit­u­a­tion.

“I’m in the writer’s room full-time, so I’m com­ing up with sto­ry­lines with the writ­ers. I’m also ap­prov­ing cast­ing and I’m in the edit­ing room a lot of the time look­ing over dif­fer­ent cuts and ed­its.”

How­ever, he is quick to add: “But that said, if there’s any­thing you don’t like in the show, it’s got noth­ing to do with me.”

Just like the comic, the TV se­ries has more than its share of in­tense, gut-wrench­ing mo­ments. For ex­am­ple, the last sea­son saw a char­ac­ter ex­e­cut­ing her sis­ter who had turned into a zom­bie. And it is only go­ing to get darker, he prom­ises. “As we move for­ward, it’s re­ally just kind of go­ing deeper and deeper into that world and watch­ing so­ci­ety crum­ble all that much more. We’ll be go­ing to some pretty dark places. We’re not pulling any punches, is what I’m try­ing to get at.”

While three new char­ac­ters will join the mix this sea­son, the ex­ist­ing cast will cer­tainly not make it to the end of the sea­son un­scathed, he says: “There’s dan­ger around ev­ery cor­ner and, to be re­al­is­tic, you kind of have to al­low some char­ac­ters to die off ev­ery now and then.”

Nev­er­the­less, he adds that the pro­duc­ers are mind­ful of keep­ing “some spark of hope” and not let­ting the show be­come “un­re­lent­ingly dark and de­press­ing” for fear of the au­di­ence chang­ing the chan­nel.

“We’re al­ways go­ing to be keep­ing that lit­tle spark of life and lit­tle light-hearted mo­ments from time to time, just to lighten the mood and also play them against the darker mo­ments, to make the darker mo­ments that much more im­pact­ful.”

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