The Walking Dead Midseason Report Card: B-

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The holiday season is a great time of the year to spend with family, and a terrible time of the year to watch television. Everything is a rerun!

But the hiatus at least gives us a chance to sit back and evaluate where various shows stand, something we've done so far via midseason report cards for: The Vampire Diaries; Parenthood; Fringe; and The Secret Circle.

Up now: The Walking Dead.

Best Episode: "What Lies Ahead." The season premiere packed nail bitting tension, great zombie gore, and fantastic pacing between action and drama. It was the perfect kick start to the second season and ended with a cliffhanger that led the way to the infamous Hershel farm.

Worst Episode: "Cherokee Rose." Sticking someone down a well with a zombie is a stupid and pointless idea. It makes zero sense unless you're trying to get killed. Utilizing zombie blood and guts for pure gratuitousness instead of an intriguing and plot moving storyline makes for a boring and yawn inducing episode. We want zombies but not at the cost of the main story. Plus, I don't want to watch anyone pee on a pregnancy stick for the closing scene. Next episode, please.

Best Character: Hands down, Daryl Dixon. He may not have been an original character of the graphic novel, but he's proven himself to be handy with a crossbow, quick with his wit, and intriguing to watch. He's been continuously growing and developing past his original racist redneck persona into one of my favorites. If Merle ever does return, it will be interesting to see their interaction and how he handles it. Just don't die, Daryl!

Worst Character: Andrea gets under my skin and I wish she would go away. She's constantly complaining about not carrying a gun or doing what the "boys" get to do. Andrea comes off less like a strong female character with a edge and more like a whiny, selfish, and foolhardy problem.

What worked: The season started with plenty of drama and tension as well as a nice setting change. The wide stretch of farm land contrasted with the season one concrete jungle of the city offered another take on dealing with the zombie apocalypse. Additionally, the mid season finale ended with a cinematically appealing bang by eliminating the barn zombies with a simple mow down, the revelation that Sophia was a walker, and Rick stepping up to take care of business.

What didn't work: With the magical safety bubble of Hershel's farm, there was a lack of urgency and desperation to survive, something that the show first thrived on. This meant that the characters found themselves making brainless decisions for the sake of attempting to create zombie action. Additionally, the one goal of finding Sophia, a character who we never really got a chance to invest in, felt too dragged on, meaning that a majority of episode plots involved many "talky" and often soap opera feeling scenes.

Hopes for 2012: The Walking Dead needs to re-find that urgency, that take on actually learning to survive a zombie apocalypse and dealing with a world without basic rules. I hope that the mid season finale ending will propel the show forward towards moving away from the farm and back towards dealing with danger around every corner whether it be human or zombie. And hopefully, a more enticing storyline than finding a little girl. Here's to bringing back the action packed, character driven, and heart stopping moments that made the show exciting in the first place.

Overall Grade: B-

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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I love this show think the pace is just fine, if they were running all the time it would be to much. I like the new characters from the farm. I totally agree Norman Reedus has been oustanding as Daryl, I hate Andrea and wouldn't have minded her having a vaction in the barn at all. I am sad that Sophia was bitten I feel for poor Karl as the only kid now. I hope we get some more zombie action in the second half of the season. One thing I do not like about these series is the mid season breaks!!!

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Generally disagree - the season 1 warpspeed was was too exhausting for both meaningful character development or believable pacing. The farm provided an oasis for recuperation, physical and psychological; I felt the character's inner crises simmered, then erupted as confrontations and discoveries tore the veneers off the characters first appearances.
Perhaps the well was off-base, but most every other plot advance has seemed to me far more believable, once an action has been taken - the consequences may be surprising, as with Sophia, but I felt the "aha" moment was followed by the "of course, it had to be" followthrough. Authentic, inevitable, inexorable, even, but not cheating at all. Otis was sacrificed before he might have answered the Sophia mystery - simple, effective, and not an insult to the viewer's intelligence. I just hope no trace of Lostie-smokemonster-pseudomystical hokum ever creeps in. The cold harsh world of zombies needs to stay as unfantasy-world as possible.

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I'm not bothered like everyone else by "too much dialogue" or "dragged out storyline". If this were a network show, it wouldn't have taken 7 episodes, it would have taken about 15 to finally find out that the girl was in the barn. I'm actually liking the pace of the show and that last episode really showed so much character development t was incredible. Then again, maybe it's that I watch too much shows and therefore don't mind "waiting": Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Hell on Wheels, Dexter, Homeland, True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Suits, Burn Notice, Community, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Person of Interest, Glee and House. That's a lot of TV Shows so I keep myself busy.

Piecar

A very good assessment. I agree with every one of the problems you've listed, above. my only toss up is whether Lori or Andrea is the worst character on the show. A major problem of the series, thus far, is how incredibly poorly they write the female characters.

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Pretty good summary on the overall review. Except...it is the only show on television that I view as my next fix. It started in the second season with a nail biting episode and the mid-season left me crying my eyes out. Since I view this show as the best one on television, I give it an A.

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B- Agree Best Episode2.07-Pretty Much Dead Already Worst Episode2.06-Secrets Best Character Hands down, Daryl Dixon.

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@anno1404
I must admit I am a big Breaking Bad-fan, but I have to disagree about the acting. The way the ensemble acts in Breaking Bad is just way better. It has to do with writing, definately. But there's no character in The Walking Dead that has the depth of Walter White or Jesse Pinkman. Yeah, the Breaking Bad-actors get more chances to show off because of the wonferful script. But they live op to it (which is an incredible achievement). Now back to the Walking Dead. I don't feel like the characters are really working overall. Either, they are really unsympathetic or they don't have a strong character anyway. The first and last episowed showed that there is potential (storywise and characterwise). Daryl and Dale are my favs. Shane, Andrea and Maggie are just annoying. A B- is just spot on. The storyline and style of the comics are awesome. And the TV series shows potential, eventhough I am a bit disappointed this season. We need better personal storylines, more action and no things that are just stupid (Glenn in the well).

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A B is a fair review...the ending of the last season ep was very exciting and bought back the tension and scaryness of the first few eps. Can't wait for Feb. for the new eps...Love the show.

Thewalkingdeadrumorscom

That's a fair review - I'm expecting an A+ for the second half of the season though.

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i agree in almost everything, it will be interesting to see how will they cope with the ending of Sophia, i hope Shane doesnt get to crazy.