In discussing films, there might be spoilers. Sorry!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Walking Dead with Norman Reedus ...

I said at the beginning of this blog, once an actor made the list -- and Reedus not only made the list, he led it as first actor to be reviewed -- I would always be willing to go back to and look at what he is doing now.

And Mr. Reedus' new project, it's damn amazing.
I have to admit up front though, when I first heard about this AMC TV series last summer, The Walking Dead, I was not all hot and bothered about it. I saw his posts on Twitter, saw his excitement. But to me, the concept of a zombie apocalypse just did not seem like a theme that could sustain itself. A two hour movie, yeah, no problem. I love Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. But a series? With a long term commitment, no end in site, plot line? I didn't think it could be done.

I very seriously wasn't planning on ever watching it.
Until October 31st, when the show premiered. I thought "What the hell ..." and I gave it a try ... and I was sucked in so fast it wasn't funny. With suburb acting by Andrew Lincoln carrying practically the entire first episode? Zombie kids, zombies by the fence? Half a zombie compassionately put down in a heart stopping scene when you realize that this hero, Rick Grimes (Lincoln) has come to terms with the world changing while he was in a coma, that he is going to go on and he might be doing it without ever finding his family. He calmly, almost sweetly, looks at this creature that used to be a woman and he feels for her. You, the viewer, can feel it even as he raises the gun.

Mr. Reedus, as Daryl Dixon, is not introduced until the third episode, Tell It To the Frogs. Daryl walks into the frame, in a crowd of people wheeling from a zombie far to close to camp, and he commands the attention of everyone around. Daryl is not afraid to mix words, not afraid to stand up to people. He is not afraid of what people think of his backwards, usually annoying, more often then not, arrogant and bigoted ways. He loves one thing and one thing only -- his brother Merle -- and in this episode, Daryl finds out he has been robbed of Merle.

Daryl Dixon is my favorite character on The Walking Dead and yes, of course I have been accused of picking him only because he was portrayed by Mr. Reedus but the truth is I can defend my opinion and it had nothing to do to a summer long reviewing project. Because I like other characters in The Walking Dead almost as much -- and here will be some spoilers. I love Dale with his wise ways and all knowing eyes. I adored Jacqui and not just because she happened to spell her name really, really nice .... g ... Oh, she was kind and beautiful. Jim? Simple in his ways, but loyal to the end, he cared about the people enough to stand back and let them go on. I loved all these characters some who stayed, some who were part of the victims. I will miss seeing them when the show comes back on.

The Walking Dead has aired only six episodes so far. In those six episodes, Daryl Dixon has only appeared in four. And though he remained the bigoted, hot-head throughout, there is a rapid development of character. His big, overbearing brother is gone and as much as Daryl hates not knowing Merle's fate, now he has the chance to reach his full potential and that potential will include caring for people he didn't know he cared about.

He didn't have to go back for Glenn in Vatos. He didn't have to stand beside Rick and follow him into what looked like "a sure way to die" ambush. Almost immediately upon meeting Daryl we see him begin to evolve. It is at a lighting
speed, yet not one that is unbelievable under the circumstances they face.

He also has some of the quickest, philosophical lines of the show:
To Rick "That's funny coming from a man just put a gun to my head."

To Glenn: "Even I think it's a bad idea and I don't like you much."

Of the thirty-eight Norman Reedus productions I watched while reviewing his films for this project, I can honestly say that I never saw characters who remotely resembled each other. From Scud in Blade II to Jack in Sand to Mac in Red Canyon -- there was always such a vast difference in characters range and study. Voices were different, characters were different, There was one or two hand gestures and facial expressions that carried over, but even these movements were worked in with ease.

Murphy, from Boondock Saints, never stood still or merely walked. Murphy bounced. He was like an armed, Irish Tigger and it worked for him to adorable proportions ... but the actions were never repeated in any other Reedus characters making Murphy wonderfully unique.

Darly Dixon is much the same with his own special brand of uniqueness. From what we have seen in just four shows, we know there is more coming from him. By the last eppy, TS-19 he had already elevated himself from backwoods, bigoted, pain-in-the-ass to one of the
men we can count on. The members of our shrinking survival camp may not like Daryl Dixon, but they do trust him and know, even if he "don't like you much" Daryl will have your back and even die trying to save it.


  1. Totally agree with the above.

    Norman Reedus is amazing as Daryl and I am hoping we get to see more of him in Season 2!

  2. This show is great and season 2 is coming soon. There are videos now that show the filming of season 2.