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Author Topic: The Walking Dead tap dances onto AMC for Season 4  (Read 40746 times)
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Roguetad
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« Reply #840 on: December 22, 2012, 01:50:54 AM »

I don't get it either.  Season 3 has been really good.  I think it's the most watched cable show right now.  Why mess with a good thing? 
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« Reply #841 on: December 22, 2012, 01:57:45 AM »

Doesn't bode well for the quality of Season 4.
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« Reply #842 on: December 22, 2012, 10:04:59 AM »

was we not saying the same thing for when Frank Darabont left the show after the first series?(or whenever it was)
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« Reply #843 on: December 23, 2012, 03:02:39 PM »

On closer examination, the greater loss is that Mazzara's a talented writer, who scripted (so far) 6 episodes in Season 3.

Glen also has very deep experience in TV both on network (Life, Criminal Minds, Nash Bridges) and basic cable (The Shield, Crash, Hawthorne), as showrunner, executive producer, writer etc.

And I wasn't sold on him initially. I just saw him as some guy who worked on The Shield being plugged in for Darabont out of desperation. Arguably, he may have even been a better fit than Darabont just cause Mazzara had so much experience in TV and presumably understood budget limitations and what he could and couldn't ask for, how to work with tight deadlines etc.

So, it's not just that AMC's choosing not to work out differences with a good showrunner -- imho, they're removing a key member of The Walking Dead's writing staff and removing all that helpful experience/background in TV he brought to the team.

As far as a replacement, I don't know there's anyone on the current production team that would make sense as showrunner. Kirkman is still a comic book writer afterall, and has another TV show he's working on. I'd say one possibility -- even if he has zero showrunner experience per se -- is makeup guru Greg Nicotero, who has directed three episodes this season so far, and was promoted to co-executive producer this season. He also has had "story" credits on several episodes this season. So my bet is on Greg IF AMC chooses to promote within.

« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 03:08:22 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #844 on: December 23, 2012, 05:48:34 PM »

Quote from: metallicorphan on December 22, 2012, 10:04:59 AM

was we not saying the same thing for when Frank Darabont left the show after the first series?(or whenever it was)

Yes we were and Darabonts departure led to season 2, which most felt was very inferior to season one as they dragged out the farm setting for most of the season.  Its likely that the next season will be uneven as they try once again to adjust to a new direction.  That being said, season 2 wasnt all that bad and with the popularity of The Walking Dead Im betting that plot wise theyve already set up where they are taking the series. Season 4 shouldnt see as big a change as season 2 did, when they completely changed the direction Darabont had planned.
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« Reply #845 on: December 23, 2012, 06:38:59 PM »

AMC blasted for their latest fuck up. This latest move is seriously idiotic.
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« Reply #846 on: December 23, 2012, 11:10:58 PM »

Quote from: Crusis on December 23, 2012, 06:38:59 PM

AMC blasted for their latest fuck up. This latest move is seriously idiotic.

Wow, Kurt Sutter, show runner for Sons of Anarchy, tears AMC a new one for this.  They really dodged a bullet when they dumped Darabont, its weird to see them handle such a successful show so poorly, yet once again.
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« Reply #847 on: December 24, 2012, 11:01:52 AM »

Quote from: rshetts2 on December 23, 2012, 05:48:34 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on December 22, 2012, 10:04:59 AM

was we not saying the same thing for when Frank Darabont left the show after the first series?(or whenever it was)

Yes we were and Darabonts departure led to season 2, which most felt was very inferior to season one as they dragged out the farm setting for most of the season.  Its likely that the next season will be uneven as they try once again to adjust to a new direction.  That being said, season 2 wasnt all that bad and with the popularity of The Walking Dead Im betting that plot wise theyve already set up where they are taking the series. Season 4 shouldnt see as big a change as season 2 did, when they completely changed the direction Darabont had planned.

Are these series not based closely on the Graphic Novels?,i know that it still means setting out the story for different seasons,but the actual story is already there,right?

Quote from: Crusis on December 23, 2012, 06:38:59 PM

AMC blasted for their latest fuck up. This latest move is seriously idiotic.


I'll say,LOL...I guess AMC is officially off his Christmas Card list Tongue
« Last Edit: December 24, 2012, 11:04:47 AM by metallicorphan » Logged

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« Reply #848 on: January 15, 2013, 01:29:11 AM »

A new victim ready to walk the plank... Erm, I mean....

Walking Dead Scoop: Scott Gimple Poised to Replace Glen Mazzara as New Showrunner
http://collider.com/walking-dead-showrunner-scott-gimple/224161/
Quote
Walking Dead supervising producer Scott Gimple is nearing a deal to succeed Glen Mazzara as the AMC hitís new showrunner, TVLine has learned.

Gimple, whose previous writing credits include NBCís Chase and ABCís FlashForward, joined Walking Dead as a producer in Season 2 and was promoted to supervising producer for the current third season. He has penned five Dead episodes, including this seasonís ďHounded.Ē

His new appointment takes effect at the start of the just-ordered fourth season.
I give him one season before "creative differences" rears its AMC-predictable head.   Roll Eyes

My headline:
Gimp to Replace Mazz

I think promoting from within's good, and having a few episodes under his belt sounds promising.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 01:35:22 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #849 on: January 17, 2013, 09:18:03 PM »

AMC leadership must be a bitch to work for if the Showrunners keep leaving over the industry catch-all "creative differences".  They were on a good roll for Season 3.   
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« Reply #850 on: January 19, 2013, 01:05:48 PM »

Quote from: Roguetad on January 17, 2013, 09:18:03 PM

AMC leadership must be a bitch to work for if the Showrunners keep leaving over the industry catch-all "creative differences".  They were on a good roll for Season 3.   

Yea I wonder if when they walk on the set for the first time the cast doesn't say "Dead man walking".....
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« Reply #851 on: February 09, 2013, 04:06:27 PM »

Hero Complex 2-part interview with departing showrunner Glen Mazzara

Part 1:
http://herocomplex.latimes.com/tv/walking-dead-glen-mazzara-talks-war-revenge-hope-as-show-returns/#/0

Part 2 (cryptically gets into the why of him leaving at season's end):
http://herocomplex.latimes.com/tv/walking-deads-glen-mazzara-comic-fans-wont-guess-whats-coming/
Quote
HC: Is leaving bittersweet?

GM: I love the show, I love working on the show, I love the people I work with, I love connecting with the fans. As we were looking at the show moving ahead, there were differences with what I wanted to do and what AMC wanted to do, so I think it was best for the show for me to leave, go my way and let them go their way and tell a story that they want to tell and Iíll go tell other stories that I want to tell. Itís never easy to leave something but I think Iím leaving at a good point, Iím very proud of the work that Iíve done. Iím leaving at the end of the season.

HC: Was this strictly about storytelling choices?

GM: Itís creative differences with AMC. Itís not one particular thing, itís not I wanted to do this and they wanted to do that. Itís not that easy. Iíve been running this show for two seasons, weíve gone through a lot of materialÖ. If you look at, say, the back part of last season and this whole season, Iíve collaborated with a lot of people on that work, so I am collaborative. But at some point, you say  itís best to just part ways and keep everything amicable.

HC: So this wasnít a disagreement with, say, Kirkman, about the direction the show should go?

GM: I will say that itís an AMC creative difference issue.

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naednek
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« Reply #852 on: February 10, 2013, 03:42:08 AM »

I'm Ready!
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« Reply #853 on: February 10, 2013, 03:38:52 PM »

Anyone know offhand if tonight's episode is 2 hours or the usual 1 hour?

It's on opposite Downton Abbey. My wife perceives a conflict in priorities.
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« Reply #854 on: February 10, 2013, 06:42:10 PM »

Quote from: Ironrod on February 10, 2013, 03:38:52 PM

Anyone know offhand if tonight's episode is 2 hours or the usual 1 hour?

It's on opposite Downton Abbey. My wife perceives a conflict in priorities.

looks like it is the usual hour long at 9pm, with repeat at 11pm, 12 am and 2am.
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« Reply #855 on: February 10, 2013, 07:37:47 PM »

Thank you, Mr Kay. Her other show is 2 hours so I reckon she can watch that in "real time" and I'll record WD for later.
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« Reply #856 on: February 10, 2013, 08:16:43 PM »

They have also expanded the Talking Dead aftershow to one hour. Of course that means you have to endure 30 more minutes of Chris Hardwick. icon_razz
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« Reply #857 on: February 11, 2013, 03:11:55 PM »

I had completely forgotten that this was starting up again.  Thank you, thread, for reminding me.

Overall, I was disappointed in the episode, though it had a really good ending and a couple of cool parts in between.

However, it started downhill with the resolution of the fight started at the end of the last episode.

Spoiler for Hiden:
So, Merle starts kicking his brother's ass and then says "follow my lead" and then his lead was, what exactly?  To suddenly stand back to back and take everyone on?  What the hell was the point of initially pounding on his brother, then?  To weaken him and make it harder to win the impossible fight?  That was clearly a script driven fight, because it didn't make any damn sense.

For the most part there was no momentum to this episode, and it felt kinda languid as a result.  I liked when the visiting group started plotting to take down the woman and the kid (and I kinda wanted to see Carl kick their asses), but after the setup, that went nowhere.  I'm sure it'll pay off later, but it still felt like another script moment that wasn't followed through in the rest of the episode.

The governor just seemed to be going through the motions.  I think it was meant to be the attack during the fight that was causing people to flee the town, but it didn't seem to jibe with me (another script moment, instead of a natural progression).  At first, I thought it was that the zombies had gotten in, but we should have seen that scene first, and then they all seemed surprised when the attack happened.  Andrea's speech was a cliche filled with dead air.

And back in the prison, that baby could not have looked less like a living infant in the scene where they're making a cradle out of the mail carrier.

But I did like Glenn's freak out and when Rick knocked Merle out.  And the moment with Lori at the end was pretty damn great.
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« Reply #858 on: February 11, 2013, 07:35:42 PM »

While I enjoyed it, I would agree that in some cases the characters are just...
Spoiler for Hiden:
... not acting logically. I realize it's the walker apocalpyse, so maybe it makes sense people wouldn't act logically?

So maybe it's not technically illogical that Andrea sees nothing wrong with her one-eyed lover keeping his walker daughter chained up in a closet, and fish tanks full of dead human and/or walker heads. She doesn't even seem curious about any of that.

Maybe it makes sense Rick treats Michonne like she's the anti-Christ even though she helped them rescue several members of their group who would've otherwise likely died.

Maybe it makes sense Darryl runs over and joins whack job Merle without a second thought, or even some reservation about it.

At the risk of sounding hoidy-toidy, there were just places in the teleplay where a little "expository explanation" on why certain characters do certain things, feel certain emotions, seems missing.
Still some great scenes, and I really enjoyed the after-show being a full hour. Steve Yeun (Glen) and Kevin Smith were the guests. Robert Kirkman will be on next week.
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« Reply #859 on: February 11, 2013, 09:18:12 PM »

I found the ep a bit of a letdown after the finale, but maybe my expectations were running too high.

Quote from: Blackjack on February 11, 2013, 07:35:42 PM

While I enjoyed it, I would agree that in some cases the characters are just...
Spoiler for Hiden:
... not acting logically. I realize it's the walker apocalpyse, so maybe it makes sense people wouldn't act logically?

So maybe it's not technically illogical that Andrea sees nothing wrong with her one-eyed lover keeping his walker daughter chained up in a closet, and fish tanks full of dead human and/or walker heads. She doesn't even seem curious about any of that.

Maybe it makes sense Rick treats Michonne like she's the anti-Christ even though she helped them rescue several members of their group who would've otherwise likely died.

Maybe it makes sense Darryl runs over and joins whack job Merle without a second thought, or even some reservation about it.
To adddress BJ's comments, some of which I do agree with, I'll just play devil's advocate:

Spoiler for Hiden:
- I think the Gov explained his crazy heads as being something he wanted to remind himself of so he never forgot the people or some such.  Keeping his daughter is more understandable in some ways, it's disturbing but also tragic and sad.  I think you are supposed to assume she has genuine feelings for him, and people can be pretty forgiving.  Plus she's horny and he's fairly hot.  I have the sense he's hung like a horse but that's just me.

- Rick has gone bonkers, which has already been established. 

- Darryl has always felt guilty about leaving his brother, and it's been implied they have a very special/particular relationship in terms of control/power.  To us Merle is an asshole whack job, but to Darryl he's the big brother who essentially raised him and kept him alive (I guess).  And then there's also the secondary theory which Carol alludes to, in that he can't help going back to the abusive/controlling relationship he had with his brother.
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« Reply #860 on: February 11, 2013, 10:22:51 PM »

Spoiler for Hiden:
Daryl going with Merle seemed understandable to me, but I'm with you on the others, Blackjack.

rittchard may be right about that explanation from the gov (and his horse schlong, I guess), but it still seems forced to me.  I think Andrea may be the worst actor left on the show, though, so that might have something to do with it.  Also, the governor comes off a little dorky to me.  Not the dynamic leader I'd expect.

I found this article on io9 that hits on some of what I said and more besides.
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« Reply #861 on: February 12, 2013, 07:31:57 PM »

Damn. I didn't care for that episode but after read these comments now I completely dislike it.

Not sure I'm big on the Rick madness thing, and Michonne seems wasted compared to the comic version, but the show has hit some low points before and I'm fine riding it out.
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« Reply #862 on: February 12, 2013, 07:51:26 PM »

I'm quickly losing interest in pretty much all the characters in this show.
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« Reply #863 on: February 18, 2013, 07:16:05 PM »

Is everyone happier with the show now?  That was a pretty intense action-packed episode if you ask me.  Not thrilled with losing yet another character so soon but oh well.
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« Reply #864 on: February 18, 2013, 07:26:26 PM »

Andrea is really starting to annoy me. She's become the female Dale, and look what ultimately happened to him. Looks like the governor lashing back at
Spoiler for Hiden:
the prison
will give an "in" to
Spoiler for Hiden:
Tyrese and his group
by helping Rick and his people out.
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« Reply #865 on: February 19, 2013, 04:25:13 AM »

Finally got around to watching this week's episode (wish I hadn't seen your spoiler, though, ritt, as I kept wondering who you were referencing).

Spoiler for Hiden:
It was a nice surprise moment, but I liked that guy and felt like we hadn't even begun to scratch the surface of what his deal was. I thought there might be a good twist about why he was in prison in the first place.

Overall, this was definitely a better episode, with everyone trying to move their own stories forward, at least. Well, not Andrea, really. And the Gov started to, but then, like an inept supervillain, he walked out on his master plan before it was really underway.

Spoiler for Hiden:
He took out one guy, then went through several rounds of stormtrooper level shooting until the zombie bus arrived.  Why leave then?  I think the one zombie showing up was supposed to be an impetus, but it seemed like a non-threat.

That's mostly being nitpicky, though.

Really done with Andrea, however.
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« Reply #866 on: February 19, 2013, 04:32:13 AM »

I was half expecting the van that rolled in to be manned by Andrea.

Having a female villain for the show wouldn't hurt.
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« Reply #867 on: February 19, 2013, 05:38:07 AM »

Quote from: corruptrelic on February 19, 2013, 04:32:13 AM

I was half expecting the van that rolled in to be manned by Andrea.

Having a female villain for the show wouldn't hurt.

IIRC, there was a woman in that suit. Face covered, too, but I wouldn't count on it being Andrea.  Maybe it was the Stig.
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« Reply #868 on: February 19, 2013, 05:41:42 AM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on February 19, 2013, 05:38:07 AM

Maybe it was the Stig.

 thumbsup
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« Reply #869 on: February 19, 2013, 06:37:39 AM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on February 19, 2013, 04:25:13 AM

Spoiler for Hiden:
It was a nice surprise moment, but I liked that guy and felt like we hadn't even begun to scratch the surface of what his deal was. I thought there might be a good twist about why he was in prison in the first place.

Sympathetic backstory + tender moment = dead. I should've seen that coming, but it caught me unawares anyway.
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« Reply #870 on: February 19, 2013, 01:38:42 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on February 19, 2013, 04:25:13 AM

Overall, this was definitely a better episode, with everyone trying to move their own stories forward, at least. Well, not Andrea, really. And the Gov started to, but then, like an inept supervillain, he walked out on his master plan before it was really underway.

Spoiler for Hiden:
He took out one guy, then went through several rounds of stormtrooper level shooting until the zombie bus arrived.  Why leave then?  I think the one zombie showing up was supposed to be an impetus, but it seemed like a non-threat.

My guess is he didn't really know the true numbers or firepower inside the prison, so he just sends in zombie bus to thin the herd, then pops back in later to clean it out.
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« Reply #871 on: February 19, 2013, 01:53:12 PM »

Quote from: spigot on February 19, 2013, 01:38:42 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on February 19, 2013, 04:25:13 AM

Overall, this was definitely a better episode, with everyone trying to move their own stories forward, at least. Well, not Andrea, really. And the Gov started to, but then, like an inept supervillain, he walked out on his master plan before it was really underway.

Spoiler for Hiden:
He took out one guy, then went through several rounds of stormtrooper level shooting until the zombie bus arrived.  Why leave then?  I think the one zombie showing up was supposed to be an impetus, but it seemed like a non-threat.

My guess is he didn't know really know the true numbers or firepower inside the prison, so he just sends in zombie bus to thin the herd, then pops back in later to clean it out.

Agreed.
Spoiler for Hiden:
I dont think it was the Gov's plan to end Ricks crew right then and there.  He was performing an act of terror, not an actual assault.  He didnt have enough troops or firepower with him, to take on a fortified position. He came in, rattled their cage, dropped the zombie bomb and split.  Ricks crew is now damaged, divided and confused. 
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« Reply #872 on: February 19, 2013, 02:58:33 PM »

They knocked it out of the park with last night's episode.  Granted, this season has been excellent overall...but that was a new high point.  They have an almost Whedonesque approach to character deaths on the show.  And that's a good thing.  I have absolutely no idea on who will bite it or if anyone even will each week.
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« Reply #873 on: February 19, 2013, 04:13:08 PM »

Quote from: rshetts2 on February 19, 2013, 01:53:12 PM

Quote from: spigot on February 19, 2013, 01:38:42 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on February 19, 2013, 04:25:13 AM

Overall, this was definitely a better episode, with everyone trying to move their own stories forward, at least. Well, not Andrea, really. And the Gov started to, but then, like an inept supervillain, he walked out on his master plan before it was really underway.

Spoiler for Hiden:
He took out one guy, then went through several rounds of stormtrooper level shooting until the zombie bus arrived.  Why leave then?  I think the one zombie showing up was supposed to be an impetus, but it seemed like a non-threat.

My guess is he didn't know really know the true numbers or firepower inside the prison, so he just sends in zombie bus to thin the herd, then pops back in later to clean it out.

Agreed.
Spoiler for Hiden:
I dont think it was the Gov's plan to end Ricks crew right then and there.  He was performing an act of terror, not an actual assault.  He didnt have enough troops or firepower with him, to take on a fortified position. He came in, rattled their cage, dropped the zombie bomb and split.  Ricks crew is now damaged, divided and confused. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
That seems like a dumb plan, though.  Rick's crew has already come in and knocked this shit out of the town, despite their having superior numbers and firepower (and he does have some information through both Merle and Andrea and what he got from Glenn and Maggie, hazy though that info might be. 
He took out one guy and left. All he's done is stir up the hornets nest now, and these are hornets that have already delivered a nasty sting.


I don't see that as a problem with the episode, though.  I totally see that all being what the Gov would do.  It's more about his character which, in my opinion, is not as impressive as I was hoping for.
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« Reply #874 on: February 19, 2013, 08:29:15 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on February 19, 2013, 04:13:08 PM

Quote from: rshetts2 on February 19, 2013, 01:53:12 PM

Quote from: spigot on February 19, 2013, 01:38:42 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on February 19, 2013, 04:25:13 AM

Overall, this was definitely a better episode, with everyone trying to move their own stories forward, at least. Well, not Andrea, really. And the Gov started to, but then, like an inept supervillain, he walked out on his master plan before it was really underway.

Spoiler for Hiden:
He took out one guy, then went through several rounds of stormtrooper level shooting until the zombie bus arrived.  Why leave then?  I think the one zombie showing up was supposed to be an impetus, but it seemed like a non-threat.

My guess is he didn't know really know the true numbers or firepower inside the prison, so he just sends in zombie bus to thin the herd, then pops back in later to clean it out.

Agreed.
Spoiler for Hiden:
I dont think it was the Gov's plan to end Ricks crew right then and there.  He was performing an act of terror, not an actual assault.  He didnt have enough troops or firepower with him, to take on a fortified position. He came in, rattled their cage, dropped the zombie bomb and split.  Ricks crew is now damaged, divided and confused. 

Spoiler for Hiden:
That seems like a dumb plan, though.  Rick's crew has already come in and knocked this shit out of the town, despite their having superior numbers and firepower (and he does have some information through both Merle and Andrea and what he got from Glenn and Maggie, hazy though that info might be. 
He took out one guy and left. All he's done is stir up the hornets nest now, and these are hornets that have already delivered a nasty sting.


I don't see that as a problem with the episode, though.  I totally see that all being what the Gov would do.  It's more about his character which, in my opinion, is not as impressive as I was hoping for.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Well said. The scene with the Gov shooting his gun in the air after getting the good guys "just where I want them" and then leaving was idiotic. Someone needs to send him the Evil Overlord List so he can get his shit together.
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spigot
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« Reply #875 on: February 19, 2013, 10:58:48 PM »



THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 3 LIMITED EDITION SET

http://uncrate.com/stuff/the-walking-dead-season-3-limited-edition-set/
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« Reply #876 on: February 20, 2013, 03:39:24 AM »

Quote from: spigot on February 19, 2013, 10:58:48 PM

That is AWESOME! Wonder how big it is...
Hoping for life size...  ninja
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« Reply #877 on: February 20, 2013, 04:04:34 AM »

Quote from: Punisher on February 20, 2013, 03:39:24 AM

Quote from: spigot on February 19, 2013, 10:58:48 PM

That is AWESOME! Wonder how big it is...
Hoping for life size...  ninja

Not sure how big it will be but this quote from the link makes it MEGA-AWESOME! 

Quote
The set includes a replica of The Governor's walker head aquariums, which can actually be filled with water, light up, and include five heads that can be arranged in any order you choose.
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« Reply #878 on: February 20, 2013, 04:01:22 PM »

Spoiler for Hiden:
I thought the handlebar moustache prisoner was going to get it when he was telling the story about his robbery while stacking up tables on the bridge walkway.  When that didn't happen, I knew it was coming when they were joking around in the courtyard.  His sole purpose was to be fodder at some point.  As soon as he started giving his backstory I knew his time had expired.  RIP nice robber.


I'm looking forward to the crazy Rick phase ending.  And Andrea is just a horribly stupid character.  Lots of things to like in this episode though:
Spoiler for Hiden:
- Daryl being a hero on the bridge and returning to the group
- Michonne in action dispatching walkers with her katana
- Hershel trying to be the voice of reason, in a fatherly way, to both Glen and Rick.  He's been a lifeline for Rick many times over
- Zombie terrorism.  I knew that truck was packed with zombies.  
- The Gov's assault worked well.  He could've pushed a little further, but he knows Rick's group are hardened warriors, and probably wasn't ready to commit to an all out attack...and die.  He was testing their lines, and testing a new technique (using walkers against other humans as a weapon)
   
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 04:03:02 PM by Roguetad » Logged
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« Reply #879 on: February 20, 2013, 04:15:36 PM »

Quote from: Roguetad on February 20, 2013, 04:01:22 PM

Spoiler for Hiden:
I thought the handlebar moustache prisoner was going to get it when he was telling the story about his robbery while stacking up tables on the bridge walkway.  When that didn't happen, I knew it was coming when they were joking around in the courtyard.  His sole purpose was to be fodder at some point.  As soon as he started giving his backstory I knew his time had expired.  RIP nice robber.


I'm looking forward to the crazy Rick phase ending.  And Andrea is just a horribly stupid character.  Lots of things to like in this episode though:
Spoiler for Hiden:
- Daryl being a hero on the bridge and returning to the group
- Michonne in action dispatching walkers with her katana
- Hershel trying to be the voice of reason, in a fatherly way, to both Glen and Rick.  He's been a lifeline for Rick many times over
- Zombie terrorism.  I knew that truck was packed with zombies.  
- The Gov's assault worked well.  He could've pushed a little further, but he knows Rick's group are hardened warriors, and probably wasn't ready to commit to an all out attack...and die.  He was testing their lines, and testing a new technique (using walkers against other humans as a weapon)
   

Spoiler for Hiden:
If the Gov wasn't ready for an all out attack, he should have waited until he was.  Marshaling his forces in town would also serve them if the prison group decided to return.  Going in half-assed was a stupid plan.

It was obvious what was in that truck when it pulled in.  They spent a little too long trying to build suspense on that, IMO.

Your other points I agree with, though.  Hershel talking to Glenn last week was the one strong moment in that clunker episode, and it was nice this week, too.  Although, he better not just fall into that fatherly role as his only character trait.  That'll lead to a quick death.
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