The Walking Dead Week – in case you missed it

So, the first episode of season 8 of The Walking Dead has landed and it was a stonker.

Yes, you may say that it’s impossible to keep the pace up without finishing the whole story this season. That’s not the point. Let us have our moment. Our moment of suspended disbelief that we aren’t going to have two episodes dedicated to a character that, right now, we’ve never seen before.

In case you missed the build up, here are a handful of articles from the last week covering all things The Walking Dead:

Surprising appearances of The Walking Dead stars

Weird and Wonderful Merchandise – Part 2

Video Game Review – The Walking Dead: Michonne (Telltale Games, 2016)

All the trailers

The Walking Dead: The Board Game (Z-Man Games)

The Walking Dead: The Game – Season One (Telltale Games, 2012)

The Walking Dead: Road To Survival (Scopely, 2015)

Top Moments of The Walking Dead TV Show

The Music of The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead: Weird and Wonderful Merchandise

Fear The Walking Dead: Series 1, Episode 1 (Scott Dow, 2015)

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Surprising appearances of Walking Dead stars

If you’re a fan of The Waking Dead, you’ll have grown to love the characters and their actors over a seven series story that has drawn us in and kept us going back for more.

That’s why it’s always so unusual when you see one of them appear in a different show or film. We’ve all seen Merle in Guardians of the Galaxy, but what are the weirder appearances? The ones you may have missed.

Here’s a list to get you started.

Norman Reedus (Darryl) as Jeremy in Mimic

A very brief appearance in Guillermo Del Torro’s ‘Mimic’. In fact, the above scene is the entire appearance. Great film though.

Lauren Cohan (Maggie) as Charlotte Higginson in Van Wilder 2

Terrible film, surprisingly good English accent.

Melissa McBride (Carol) selling Nexus Perms in 1994

Getting some practice in early for her fake nice Carol I seasons 6 and 7.

Lennie James (Mogan) in Lost in Space (1998)

Unforgettable film, unforgettable performance, but fun nonetheless.

Scott Wilson (Hershel) in In The Heat of the Night

I don’t think many people would make the link between the above scene and Hershel Greene. But there’s Sydney Poitier interrogating Wilson in 1967 when he was just 25 years old.

Andrew Lincoln in Teachers

This video compilation pretty much sums the whole show. Well worth seeking out.

The Walking Dead: Weird and Wonderful Merchandise – PART 2

A couple of years ago I published an article highlighting some of the weird and wonderful merchandise you could get with a Walking Dead logo attached.

Well, in the subsequent two years yet more stuff has hit the shelves for you to burn your money on. So, hang on to your credit card. It could be in for a bumpy ride.

Ridiculously expensive Michonne resin statue

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If you have a spare £908.20 you could go in for this luxuriously dynamic statue of Michonne, inspired by the comic book version of the heroine. Manufactured by MacFarlane Toys, the resin model stands 14″ high and is limited to just 1500 pieces.

I’m going to be honest. If I had that amount of money to burn I would probably pick this up. Alas, I have to prioritise eating, electricity bills, etc. It’s certainly one of the examples on this list that sits on the desirable end of the scale.

Inappropriate Birthday Cards

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It’s unlikely that if you’ve made it halfway down this article that you don’t get the above reference. It is an absolute corker of a card, destined to make any Walking Dead fan chuckle a bit.

Famous Last Cards are a Bournemouth-based company that specialise in cards with hilarious modern pop culture references. For just £2.85 you can pick up cards with the most cutting references to Orange is the New Black, Mean Girls and Game of Thrones. Every one is an absolute corker. Check out their Etsy site for more giggles and bring some upsetting joy to your friends’ next birthdays.

Lucille

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One of the more bizarre things I found was a Lucille prop replica for the AMC show. Undeniably accurate in its shape and size, and with a great attention to detail, this is a perfect gift for… who exactly? Why would you want one of these? What would you do with it once you had it.

I’m obviously missing something because it has had heaps of 5-star reviews and has been bought by 100s of people.

The Walking Dead All Out War – Collector’s Edition

The Walking Dead All Out War

The Walking Dead: All Out War is an extremely popular miniatures table-top game, which allows you to play out some of the most iconic fight sequences from the series.

The Collector’s Edition gives you the core set, some of the expansions and – crucially – a few exclusive items that are unavailable elsewhere. This makes it an essentially purchase for fans of the show, fans of tabletop games and people who are yet to jump on board.

Just don’t mention you’ve picked it up to any of the people who already spent more than this on the contents of the box and don’t have any of the exclusives.

Buzz Bee Toys The Walking Dead Rifle Blaster

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Where do I start with this one? Look at it. Is there anything there that screams “The Walking Dead” to you? On the side that isn’t visible there is a small sticker that reads “The Walking Dead”. That’s basically it.

There’s a safety warning that says it shouldn’t be used by children under the age of six. It’s a good job. My seven-year-old nephew is a huge fan of The Walking Dead. Or is it Paw Patrol. I can’t remember.

You can buy this from Amazon but it will set you back a princely £14.99.

Walking Dead Cardboard Mask

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Look at that image above. It’s a CARDBOARD mask. It costs £3.75. What an absolute rip-off. You could achieve the same with some paper and a printer. Indeed, you could just print the above image off.

But wait. Stop right there. If you’re going to a Halloween party this year and think you might pick one of these up.. Imagine walking through the door to your friend’s party. Everyone has put loads of effort in to make themselves look awesome. There’s a guy dressed as zombie Michael Jackson. Someone else has gone green to look like Frankenstein’s monster. And you have a piece of cardboard over your face, which you have to take off every time you drink.

Alan Partridge achieved a better result with a shower curtain, some nails and a couple of biscuits.

Customised “Converse” Trainers

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These beautifully-crafted hand-decorated Converse trainers have been created by Helen Gibson for sale on her Etsy shop. Just look at them! They’re better than most of the official clothing items available across various shops. They’re also a steal at no more than £42 (some sizes are just £34).

They will also come in handy if you find yourself stuck in a zombie apocalypse and need to make a quick getaway on foot. Love them!

Poorly-formatted Coasters

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Yes, you’re viewing the page correctly. The above image is the actual shape of a Walking Dead coaster available on Amazon via Ace Geordie Collectables. It’s clearly something that doesn’t exist right now but will be made to order, but I doubt it has been reviewed by the creator. It’s simply a meme that some automated bot has resized to fit a coaster. The same company has a handful of coasters for sale, all with the same issue.

The joke isn’t even funny and doesn’t work. I’ve created a few alternatives and I am happy for anyone to steal these and turn a profit on them if they can. Surely they’ll be more successful than the above.

Video game review – The Walking Dead: Michonne (Telltale Games, 2016)

Pitching itself somewhere between a text-based adventure game, interactive movie and a comic book, Telltale’s third instalment of their Walking Dead video game series manages to do just enough to warrant excluding Michonne from the comic for half a year, without really hitting the gripping heights of the two previous releases in the series.

The story, as you may have guessed, centres around Michonne. She is in a forest and contemplating suicide when she is found by a man called Pete, who takes her to his boat and group of survivors nearby. They receive a radio signal from a nearby boat called Mobjack and choose to investigate it.

It’s fairly basic as a plot but therein lies the struggle the game makers had. They couldn’t make a groundbreaking, critical development in the story for one of the comic’s best-loved characters. Doing so would be a disservice to fans of the comic who have been reading for years, especially if not all of them are gamers.

The gameplay is very simple. You have conversations and do some point-and-click tasks in the same style as old fashioned PC adventure games. You then have a limited amount of time to react when asked questions, with the responses remembered by the characters and stored to shape their future attitudes to you.

This is interspersed with some real time event gameplay when you’re being attacked by zombies or people who you’ve managed to annoy along the way.

I enjoyed playing it, but I’m not really sure why. It was extremely easy and extremely short, and probably in hindsight felt like I was reading the comics, just in a different format. If this was published as a comic, it wouldn’t be a particularly interesting read. It’s fun, nice to have, but hardly groundbreaking.

If you can pick it up on the cheap then I’d recommend it for a couple of nights of entertainment, by don’t expect too much of it.

The Walking Dead Week – All the Season 8 trailers

San Diego Comic Con Trailer

When The Walking Dead Season 8 trailer landed a couple of months ago,  we were promised a lot without really finding out too much that we didn’t either now or expect.

The series returns in full next week on October 22nd and the hope is for an increase in pace over the previous series.

The over-arching feeling with this trailer is that Season 8 will be full of pace, a clear reaction to the backlash from Season 7. The Negan into ‘All Out War’ story arc is probably the most interesting in the comic book series and in hindsight it felt a bit like they didn’t want a huge blow-out of fun by racing towards the war part too fast. What we ended up with is a season that felt entertaining but failed to keep the pace. With interest dropping throughout the first half of the season, they ended up with viewing figures around that of Season 3, indicative of the waning interest in something Fox considers to be a flagship show.

Season 8 looks like the series will get a much-needed shot of adrenaline. The hope is that there will be a big push to the end of All Out War will probably happen throughout the series.

The big reveal was the final shot of a much older Rick hobbling around with a walking stick and a big old beard. This is absolutely no surprise to the enthusiastic comic readers, who know that at the end of the All Out War story arc we get a jump forward of several years to a community very different to the one we know. This clearly has to happen, but it remains to be seen in what order. One theory is that they could set the entire series there, with the remainder of the All Out War storyline told through flashbacks. This would negate the extremely slow pacing of the several issues where everyone is happy and content in a newly-stable world, but it would probably ruin the fun of the conclusion of All Out War.

The big question for Fox is whether or not they think the series will last that long.

New York Comic Con Sneak Peek

A couple of weeks ago at New York Comic Con there was a huge panel and that included a sneak peek at a scene with Carl Grimes. It’s one of those annoying sneak peeks that reveals almost nothing whilst still being a sturdy reminder of all the small things fans love about the series.

We see Carl searching an abandoned gas station for supplies, before realising he isn’t alone. An anonymous man is heard rambling about nothing, seemingly talking to himself. Weaving between cars, he works out where the voice is coming from and as the scene finishes we see him resolving to make a move, raising his gun and shouting “Hands up!”.

And scene.

It doesn’t really match up with a particular point on the timeline and could sit anywhere in the series. Essentially, they’re screwing with us.

New York Comic Con Panel

This is a pretty long video, totalling over 50 minutes. They cover a lot of ground so it’s impossible to summarise everything, but a few things were mentioned that are of interest. Here’s the best bits:

  • There will be a cross-over between The Walking Dead main series and sister series Fear The Walking Dead. Show creator Robert Kirkman said: “There is one character that is going to go from one show, that I will not name, to another show, that I will not name. This is a huge event in the world of The Walking Dead.” This will have fans of the main series scrambling to catch up on Fear, which has managed to lose 7m viewers in its. He seemed to hint that this would take the form of a backstory for a main character in the main show playing out in Fear The Walking Dead, though he was suitably vague.
  • Andrew Lincoln said on Rick Grimes in Season 7: “(He) gets his strut back.” Which is what we want to hear.
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan said about Negan: “He brings a little special spice… This year we get to explore some slices of what Negan’s past is. Robert created this guy that makes it hard to not like him… He has a certain flair and panache that is needed… And he’s f*cking smart!” It’ll be interesting to see what parts of his history we get to explore this season.
  • Carol is ready to fight. And bake.
  • Enid actress Katelyn Nacon was a featured member of the panel. This could be a great thing or a terrible thing for the character. Enid seems out of place alongside Rick, Carol, Jesus, Negan and Daryll. She’s either going to get promoted to a more prominent role, or she could be about to bite the dust and is getting a bit of glory before she disappears from our screens.

It is essential viewing for all Walking Dead fans and it covers a lot of ground. It’s like the best episodes of The Talking Dead you’ve ever seen. Apart from maybe the one after Glenn died.

The Walking Dead Week returns to Cinema, Etc.

The Walking Dead returns to our screens on Monday 23rd October(or a day earlier if you’re in the US!). It will fill a void that Fear The Walking Dead has been attempting to plug since the Season 7 finale back in April.

Over the next week there will be a handful of articles covering different aspects of the show to hopefully whet your appetite ahead of what promises to be the most entertaining series we’ve seen yet.

First up is a summary of everything we’ve seen from the trailers and other preview material. I really hope you like The Walking Dead…

Fear The Walking Dead – Series 1, Episode 1 (Scott Dow, 2015)

It’s an interesting prospect, this new series. The Walking Dead itself wasn’t spectacularly popular on its original debut run, though thankfully AMC stuck with it and had faith in the comic to the point where it was given a lot of breathing space and has become one of the biggest sleeper success stories on TV this decade. Plenty of people who would never watch a zombie film have tried out an episode and found it to be much more than a gore-fest, with characters afforded the time to develop without the two-hour constraint a movie imposes on them.

When this series was announced many months ago, it seemed like an odd choice. Everyone was happy to follow Rick Grimes and his band of merry survivors as they loosely followed a path set out by the comics. This would be a new series, following a completely different set of survivors in a completely different area of the same country. Why should we care about them? Doesn’t Rick eventually jus any other group anyway, so the fate of anyone we see is ultimately sealed anyway? As the plot and approach were slowly revealed, mega-fans were somewhat appeased and given hope that the new series would actually be able to survive on its own two feet.In this first feature length episode, we are introduced to a highly dysfunctional family living on the wrong side of Los Angeles. School councillor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) lives with her two children: over-archiving Alicia (Alycia Debnam Carey) and drug-addict Nick (Frank Dillane). Also living with them is Madison’s boyfriend Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), a teacher at her school. The episode opens with Nick waking from a drug comedown and seeing what we know is an early sign of the oncoming zombie apocalypse. Running outside, he is panicked and quickly finds himself run over and ends up in hospital. However, given his frame of mind, nobody believes him, least of all his family, who all think he is going insane.

One of the big promises made by the series creators in the early days of the promotional material was that it would provide a cause of the zombie apocalypse. That is hinted at in the first episode and will no doubt be looked at further in the future.

Did it live up to the hype? Honesty, it’s too hard to say at this point. They’ve laid the groundwork for what could be an excellent series, or it could be seen as a slow start to a series that won’t speed up too much as it needs to stretch out the five weeks between the start of the apocalypse and where the main Walking Dead series started in earnest. The dynamics between the four main characters were on show already and it has to grow quickly to retain the attention of the many millions of viewers that have already tuned in.

AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead will continue next week at 9pm.