After news of creative disputes, writer and director firings, budget and location concerns, and undue pressure felt by the cast and crew of the hit TV show, any news about AMC’s “The Walking Dead” adaptation is bound to be met with some hesitation and paranoia. Reporting on the show has become akin to feeling like network flesh-and-brain eaters lurk behind every link on the net.
But AMC’s announcement that the next chapter will begin on October 16 with a 90-minute premier, followed by five hour-long episodes with a two month break until the next run of six straight hours starting on February 12, 2012, is not nearly enough to kill “The Walking Dead.” The difference chopping a zombie and this show in half is that serialized TV is more like an earthworm than the undead — each segment (episode) of a show contains the series’ entire DNA, and cutting an earthworm in half merely creates two equally strong versions of the same creation. That’s assuming, of course, that we don’t get two halves that mimic the up-and-down quality of season one, but instead use the longer production schedule to properly build tension and story without feeling rushed by the end.
Besides, if season two is as good as it has every right to be, I would much rather have six or seven months between brand new seasons than nearly a whole year, like the wait between seasons one and two. Sure, having a two-month split merely gives AMC an excuse to pad out advertising dollars by having the season air during the height of Sweeps, but sometimes, sometimes art and commerce aren’t enemies. Of course, that’s only if any of that ad revenue is funneled back into the show, instead of merely being another example of AMC’s Mad Men Money Laundering scheme.
As long as the extra lead time helps new showrunner Glen Mazzara and comic book scribe Robert Kirkman to eventually bring a cable television version of The Governor to miserable life, we’re all in for one narrative wild ride that any behind-the-scenes shenanigans would have a hard time ruining.