Walking Dead - Season Two
The problem with having read six years worth of The Walking Dead comic series, then taking in the "new" television series is that you have a certain level of expectation. You know what happens to the characters; you know who lives, and who dies, and you know where they go. Or at least, you thought you knew, because the television series throws a lot of it out the window. They first ventured off the pioneered path wildly by not killing Rick's buddy so immediately. This was a good decision, and would structure the entire second season. Shane is wild, unpredictable and angry. He's devious and has ulterior motives: he's the perfect antagonist to Rick and the group of survivors.
Indeed, the zombies take a back seat, just as they should. The zombies in the series are just like the comics; they impose a constant threat and define the world that these characters find themselves in. The show and comic has always been more about the characters, and this season did a great job. They find themselves on a farm, at odds with the farm's owner - Hershel - and his family, although they get along for the most part. The first half of the season is trying to find Sophia, the little girl in the group, then we jump to the second half of the season which deals with the group taking in another survivor - from another, dangerous group. They struggle with an ethical issue: kill the guy now, before he goes to his other group who could come back and kill our heroes, or let him live, perhaps integrate with their own or just simply take the chance that they won't lead the faceless baddies to themselves. I probably don't do it justice, but know that it's quite intriguing. And it's quite the contrast: the dilemma of spending time and resources on finding life, to arguing and debating taking life.
If the show continues to focus on these dilemmas, and stay character focused, it will have a good life. There are major events in the comics that I'm curious if they will have in the show (and the last shot certainly indicates that there will be). There is a whole wealth of material to draw from though, and where the show has gone off on its own has been rewarding and fits very well. I have a lot of hope after season two: there are certainly some spotty moments, but when the show gets rolling it really goes.