Frank Darabont's The Walking Dead debuted on AMC in October of 2010. With the success of the six-episode first season, AMC quickly renewed the apocalyptic zombie series (based on a comic book series of the same name). The second season hit the airwaves a year later, but not without some controversial changes. Despite the show’s overwhelming popularity and a Golden Globe nomination for Best TV Series (Drama), Darabont was let go from the series. His departure left uncertainty about whether the quality The Walking Dead would suffer.
While I can't say whether Darabont's absence was the cause, the second season did not get off to a great start. The first season had been a taut, fast-paced, dramatic horror tale of survival under the most extreme of circumstances. The first half of the second season ground the show to a slow-paced soap opera with a few bouts of “walker” (the show’s preferred term for zombies) encounters thrown in every once in a while. Luckily, the second half of the season picked up the pace and most of its old walker-killing thrills returned. Further discussion of the season will require some serious plot spoilers, so beware if you haven’t seen it.
In season one, we left off with what was left of the survivors narrowly escaping the explosion at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) building in Atlanta. The second season gets off to a decent start with the group making their way down the highway with little idea of where to go. Their journey is halted by a group of walkers who force them to hide amongst the abandoned cars that litter the highway. In all the confusion, the young child Sophia (Madison Lintz) is lost. After that, the show takes a weak turn that lasts a few episodes. Carl (Chandler Riggs), the young son of the show’s protagonist Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his wife Lori (Sarah Calles), is shot. So the group holes up at a farmhouse occupied by elderly Hershel (Scott Wilson), his daughters, and a couple friends. While I was glad to see some new characters, my interest deteriorated when I realized they were not leaving the farm. Episode after episode had them at either hanging out at the farm or looking for the missing Sophia. Frankly, it got a little boring.