‘The Walking Dead’: The slow march of death

The zombie massacre that took place on the farm in the midseason finale sets up events for the next six episodes. “The Walking Dead” returns Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Gene Page

Zombies are relatively slow creatures, we get it — they’re technically dead, for starters, which severely limits cognitive abilities. But for some fans of “The Walking Dead,” the first half of Season 2 moved at a criminally lethargic pace — even for a drama about a small band of humans trying to eek out an existence post-zombie apocalypse. So we sat down with Robert Kirkman, creator of the graphic novel series on which the TV show is based, and executive producer Glen Mazzara, who took on showrunner duties this season, to find out why the survivors have spent so much time hanging out on a farm, and what happens after the devastating events set in motion in the midseason finale.

There was so much chaos in the first season, just in introducing the fact that a zombie
apoca­lypse had occurred. Was it always your intention to make the conflict in Season 2 more
internal?

Glen Mazzara: It was important to push in and develop our characters. We really wanted to spend time and examine who these people are and to get to know them. The more fully realized these characters are, the more emotionally damaging it is when we lose them. Hopefully that’s the case. These fans love these characters and they get upset, they get pissed off, they get excited, they get afraid for them, and that’s something that’s very special as that does not happen on most TV shows. The show is about the characters. And if we weren’t spending time with them, I don’t know if that would be the case.

One of the characters fans love to hate right now is Shane, who has made some shocking choices — particularly when he sparked a massacre at the farm. At this point, is he redeemable?

GM: Shane is not a villain. He’s a guy who makes total sense to us. He’s a guy who feels he knows best. Now he’s a guy whose baby is being carried by his best friend’s wife — you know, he believes that. Was Shane justified in what he did in the finale? That’s an interesting question. He’s not necessarily out for his own preservation, so he’s an interesting character. Of course he’s polarizing, he’s dynamic. Jon Bernthal does a great job playing him.

How quickly is the “Was Shane justified?” question addressed as the series returns?

Robert Kirkman: We hit the ground running from minute one. It’s pretty much Rick and Shane at odds over what Shane did at the barn.

GM: Shane and Rick present two very different types of leader for the group, and that’ll tear at the group for the rest of the season.

That final scene at the barn, which clearly showed the leadership styles of both men, was very poignant.

GM: And that’s what we were building to. You know, some people said that the show’s slow, it’s quieter or more character-based. It was designed to build to that payoff. So I think because that payoff was so successful, that first part of the season was successful.

The midseason finale ended with a lot of action. Will that pace continue through the rest of the season?

   
RK: The midseason finale was the beginning of an escalation that brings us all the way to the end of our season. That event and those people being at odds over this thing that Shane has done really kind of drives us to event after event after event. We are going to end with six episodes that are absolutely packed.
   
GM: It’s a roller coaster. What’s interesting is after the events at the barn, it’s impossible to slow down. And sometimes we actually thought, “Should we slow down?” It’s impossible to go back. The show’s off the hook.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.