Wednesday, 4 January 2012
The Walking Dead Chronicles by Paul Ruditis
I should point out my own opinion on the matter. I absolutely love special features. I like to know how a film/TV show is made. I like watching interviews with the cast and crew. I like listening to the commentary if one is provided. Given the choice between a single disc DVD with no extras or only minimal extras and a 2-disc DVD with a boatload of extras, I'll always opt for the 2-disc version. For me, the more special features on a DVD the better.
This book fills that need for me. Yes, I do have the DVD boxed set of series 1 of The Walking Dead and I loved all the extras provided, but this book goes into a lot more depth and covers a lot more ground.
It begins with a look at the inception of the comic series, upon which the TV series is based. This is followed by chapters on how the comic was developed for television, how the zombies look the way they do, the casting process, the visual style of the show, location reports and numerous articles on how certain scenes were made. In addition, each chapter includes an overview of one episode of the show. Bear in mind, series 1 only ran for six episodes.
A big selling point for this book is that it is lavishly illustrated throughout with photos from the series, behind the scenes shots and excerpts from the comics. Many of the photos have never been seen before. In short, it is a visual feast for the eyes. Most of the photos are in full colour, although any excerpts from the comic are, obviously, just in black and white. I said "obviously" but if you haven't seen one of The Walking Dead comics you might not know that it is printed in black and white.
The prose by Paul Ruditis, is well written. The guy has form on this type of book, having written similar styled books for three of my favourite TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Bones. There is a foreword by director Frank Darabont and an introduction by Robert Kirkman, the creator of the comic series.
I was very impressed with this book, although I do have one criticism to make. The book is littered throughout with short chapters on a particular aspect of the show, be it a synopsis of the plot of an episode or how a particular special effect was achieved. These break up the main text at random but at the end of a page break there is no mention of where the main text continues. For example, this first happens on page 16. There is a three-page break and then the main text continues on page 20. A simple caption at the bottom of page 16 saying "continued on page 20" would have been nice.
This is no cheap rip-off trying to cash in on the success of the TV series but a very well written and well researched journal that is worth buying if you're a fan of the show. Whether you should buy it or not goes back to my question that I posed at the start of this review - how much do you like the special features of a DVD? If you like them as much as I do then this book is a must have. Otherwise, the decision to buy or not buy then depends upon how much of a fan of the TV series you are. It is a nicely produced and illustrated book but is it an essential purchase? That's up to you to decide. The book retails for £12.99 in the UK and $19.99 in America. If you were to shop on-line at somewhere like Amazon, as I did, you'll find it a lot cheaper.