By and large, what I felt works best for AMC’s The Walking Dead is when it diverges from the Robert Kirkman comic series. Good characters like The Governor have become great, and even lame characters like Michonne have become, well, less unbelievable. So the teaser trailer for this Fall’s Season 4, which debuted at Comic Con, gives me hope because the attitude of taking a small angle from the comic and running with it in a big way clearly continues.
One of the most intriguing changes in the TV series storyline is the fall of Woodbury, and its residents coming to live at the prison with Rick and his motley crew of bickering survivors. But from the scenes we get in this four-plus minute trailer suggest the larger community is starting to get their shit together– a year ago, if you told me Carol would be one of my favorite characters on the series I’d call you crazy. But as her character finally developed in Season 3, I took a shine to her, so I was extremely happy to see her play a bigger role as teacher/ outlook at the prison. Seeing her teach a group of kids proper knife useage put a big smile on my face.
Also cool is the increased attention to Tyreese, which should be very exciting. And Daryl continues to be a badass, as does Michonne… there’s no evidence here that what’s left of the Grimes family will be any more palatable, but at this point it is what it is– Andrew Lincoln is all kinds of awesome, but he’s saddled with a chronic slog of a character with Rick, who is crippled by bad writing. I still hold out hope the show will have the balls to kill him off at some point, and with a body count as high as we’ve seen so far… it feels like anything is kind of possible.
One of the plot points of the new season seems to be a “killer in our midst” mystery, with some sabotaging the prison from within. This idea occupied all of two issues of the comic, but this trailer suggests it will be a bigger story in the show. I love that– this is the perfect chance for The Walking Dead to tap into other subgenres of horror in an organic, dramatic way. It feels like an opportunity that never reached its full potential in the original series.
I’m not instantly flipping back in favor of the show, and I’m sure it will still be wrought with problems. But this well-cut trailer plays incredibly well (I wish I could have seen the reaction at SDCC in person), and it gives me hope the new season will focus on what they get right and squeeze out their shortcomings to tell a really great, original story.