Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before: A lonely, world-weary cloaked man finds himself an unlikely bond with a child who some claim is the future savior of a post-apocalyptic world where survivors struggle to reach they are alive Together, the man and the child embark on a road trip that may bring them closer, while sometimes tearing them apart due to the monsters and killers who now claim the lands.
Yes, let’s address the zombified elephant in the room. The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is obviously loosely based on The Last of Us (TLOU) and ironically came out only a few months after TLOU was hit as a live-action TV series based on Naughty Dog’s hit game. Although TWD’s Greg Nicotero says incredulously that he had no idea about The Last of Us until recently, it doesn’t really matter. TLOU hardly created this trope. From The Road and The Book of Ellie to The Girl With All the Gifts and The Passage, the ground of Surrogate Father vs. Monster is well-trodden. Fortunately, Daryl Dixon does more than retell a familiar story.
Daryl Dixon’s plot setup seems a bit silly at first. As Daryl almost unimaginably ends up in France after spending the original series on the east coast of the US, there are obvious questions to be answered, namely how did this happen and how might he end up with the loved ones we know. come back To that end, the six-episode first season does a really good job of dropping all the rocks for the audience, and it’s incredibly well supported by a compelling plot and a new cast of characters that deserve to be on screen. , it helps.
Unlike Dead City, the Maggie and Negan spinoff that featured a cast of characters that never quite felt like a future zombie lunch, Daryl Dixon’s is full of strong performances and interesting characters, like Isabelle and Laurent, a reformed nun and more. A child who might save the world. I was really surprised to find how well the supporting characters were written here, as even the main series struggled with this for years. I can’t think of a single character in Daryl Dixon who outlives his own machinations or feels like wasted space in such a short season. Compare that to Dead City, where no one but the co-leaders filled me with any kind of curiosity, and it’s clear to see how much better this second effort would be as a “second phase,” to borrow a term. From Marvel.
Jumping this series to France also has a very good result. Even though it’s worn to hell and full of chaos, the beauty of Europe is still evident in every shot, and the crew wisely uses the new stomping grounds to their advantage, with scenes shot on the Normandy coast, in the catacombs, and of course. , the Eiffel Tower, which is shown in the flashback of the fall of Paris, which in its own way makes an amazing short film in the zombie genre.
The original show was filmed in so many nondescript jungles that it’s refreshing to see such interesting and well-known architecture and beauty juxtaposed as a backdrop to the gruesome stories that unfold. This show has a different cinematic look. Dare I say it feels beautiful, with some beautiful shots of the French countryside sprinkled throughout the show, an often slower pace with incredible music to match the setting, and of course Daryl, who remains one of the show’s best characters.
Norman Reedus isn’t phoning it in for this series, even if some wonder if the spinoffs are more of a cynical cash-in and a smaller cast and a focus on him as a familiar character he plays really well. It’s not a waste to see his new side, but he’s also allowed to swear in AMC+ outside of the FCC’s jurisdiction. Daryl lets the FF bombs fly, and that Really Effects. Even at its worst, The Walking Dead could pull a great character episode out of nowhere every once in a while, and with Daryl Dixon, it feels like viewers are getting six of them in a row, thanks in part to Reedus, but materially and The supporting cast feels much improved.
Daryl Dixon feels like he’s learned from many of the show’s past mistakes, with villains who behave like real people with complex motivations rather than caricatures of the worst parts of humanity. Before, when The Walking Dead tried to make an important point, like the mainline series’ final season that tried to make a big point about democracy, it felt cheesy or tongue-in-cheek. Here, Daryl Dixon keeps his soapbox dreams smaller and more realistic, using more themes of godliness and fascism as the colors with which he paints his characters.
On the aforementioned subject, the series also subverts what we’ve already seen there. Sure, Daryl and Lauren don’t always see eye to eye, resulting in some plot beats, but in six episodes, the pair rarely travel alone, giving the story a more crowded feel than something like TLOU. . The Road, where our two main characters meet others, but usually briefly. In fact, Isabel, played by the amazing Clemens Posey, is as much a part of the plot as Daryl or Lauren, single-handedly changing the dynamics of each episode.
However, this new spin-off doesn’t fix all of the series’ past mistakes, the most obvious being the questionable action scenes. Reedus still does well and some of the secondary characters seem fresh. But more often than not, characters freeze in fear in the middle of a pile of walkers, or a “stealth” walker can only take out one hero. In the world, 12 years have passed since the arrival of walkers. It is inconceivable that anyone alive would be so helpless at this point.
… The crew wisely use the new stomping grounds to their advantage, [like] A Parisian autumn flashback that makes a wonderful zombie short film in its own right.
As a way to spice things up, the series also continues the path we’ve seen in the latter days of the original show: special types of undead that can climb up and do other things that regular skins couldn’t. Personally, I don’t need this story element because I couldn’t be bothered with the current zombie situation, but it looks like it’s here to stay and play a role in The Walking Dead (TWDU) for years to come. Come on. I just wish we had a better understanding of their origins by now, because these particular undead feel unexplained even after taking a few confusing steps down the road. At least in this case, the comic-book nature of the monsters doesn’t spoil the classy chaos of the show.
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is the best entry in The Walking Dead Universe since the glory days of the original series. It has achieved more in its six episodes than Fear The Walking Dead combined in the last half decade, and has made very few of the mistakes of this year’s Dead City. Looking for reasons to invest in TWDU beyond the original series has been largely fruitless so far, but Daryl corrects course and suggests it could still be a world I enjoy seeing in new stories for years to come. As a surprising, beautiful, wise, and surprisingly solid continuation of Daryl as a character, it feels like The Walking Dead has found its je ne sais quoi.