‘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 announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.