Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Walking Dead Season 10 Part 2, and Kingdom Season 2 Premiere During COVID-19 Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding worldwide in real time, two internationally popular TV shows about a zombie apocalypse, are making their return to our screens. They are part 2 of AMC's THE WALKING DEAD Season 10 and Netflix's KINGDOM Season 2.

With news streaming over the social media about people panic buying at supermarkets, hoarding food and essentials as they try to fend themselves from infection, Red Dot Diva thinks that one can pick up a few lessons on what not to do when watching these zombie shows.

Like why the rush for toilet paper? During an apocalypse, Red Dot Diva is going to gun for mineral water. After all, you can barely last 3 days without water. Also, how is anyone going to be able to cook rice, pasta, instant noodles (not talking about Mamee) without water?

Red Dot Diva also feels it is very cathartic to watch fictional characters deal with the aftermath of an outbreak. You can scream at them in frustration from the comfort of your favourite arm chair, or begin to have faith in humanity again, even though the world is going to sh**.

THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 10 Part 2 - started 24 February 2020, Fox TV Asia

The second part of Season 10 of THE WALKING DEAD, a show based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, premiered recently on Fox channels in the SEA region on 24 February, same day as the U.S. telecast.

The opening episode continued exactly where viewers were left off. Daryl, Carol, Magna, Kelly, Connie, Jerry and Aaron are trapped in a cave filled to the brim with a horde of zombies kept by Alpha, leader of a creepy malicious faction called The Whisperers. Their unfortunate outcome was due to Carol's rash behaviour and all-consuming need for revenge against Alpha, who had killed her son in the previous season.

Red Dot Diva feels that the best scenes always tend to involve both Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride). Their friendship has been one of the most enduring relationships of the show, but with Carol acting recklessly unhinged and unpredictable lately, conflict between the two is inevitable.

Things are also getting more personal between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Alpha (Samantha Morton). The two circle around each other like malevolent chess masters, each trying to twist deeper into the other's psyche. Are they going to team up and terrorise the Hilltop, Alexandria and the Kingdom together?

After a couple of dud seasons (Season 7 & 8 especially), THE WALKING DEAD has been back on track with craftfully built tension and well-written arcs for the show's characters. Unfortunately, this season will also be Danai Gurira's last, with Michonne 's exit confirmed during the show's panel at San Diego Comic Con 2019. Red Dot Diva hopes she gets to reunite with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) again. Michonne deserves it, and the two actors have such a wonderful chemistry.

To bring balance to the sad news, the showrunners are bringing Lauren Cohan back for Season 11. A fan favourite, Lauren Cohan plays Maggie Rhee, the leader of Hilltop, and there had been no explanation on where Maggie went to since her disappearance after mid of Season 9. It is time fans are given the back story on what she has up to all this time!

THE WALKING DEAD airs at 1130 AM (with repeat telecast at 9 PM) on Red Dot Island's Singtel TV Channel 330 and StarHub TV Channel 505. Or you can also choose to stream the series (season 1 to 10) via Fox+ on Starhub.

KINGDOM SEASON 2 - premieres 13 March 2020, Netflix

Zombies are generally not fussy about which period or country they live in. So, here is a series that brings a twist to the usual zombie horror fare - KINGDOM.

KINGDOM takes place in the medieval Joseon period in Korea, and ravishes in revealing the greed of the royal family and all the political intrigue that goes with it. In Season 1, the capital and surrounding villages are besieged by hungry zombies as a nurse Seo Bi (Bae Doona) works diligently on finding a cure for the disease. Meanwhile, the Crown Prince Lee Chang (Joo Ji Hoon) was being betrayed by those seemingly close to him and escapes from the palace with no one whom he can trust.

Season 1 ended with a shocking revelation that the zombies were not just nocturnal, they were in fact afraid of the heat. This gives the group running for their lives very few options to survive as colder weather arrives. Yes, Winter Is Coming.

In this next season, Chief State Councillor Cho Hak-ju (Ryu Seung Ryong) is still trying to rise to power via his daughter, the Queen (Kim Hye Joon), while Lee Chang gets more battle XP as he seeks to protect his people from the exponentially growing number of zombies. Still by his side are the loyal Mu-yeong (Kim Sang Ho) and fight savy Yeong-sin (Kim Sung Kyun), as Lee Chang makes his way back to Hanyang to find out more about the source of the outbreak, and fight for his right to the throne.

To those new to KINGDOM, Red Dot Diva has to warn that unlike THE WALKING DEAD, the Korean series moves at a plodding pace most of the time, without much of a build up nor revelation in most of the episodes. There was no showdown between the zombies and Lee Chang's group as the Season 1 finale wound down, which was really frustrating. As a viewer, there was no feeling of release from the slow tension being built up. This could be because the show is based on a webcomic by Kim Eun Hee, and the way a story progresses in that medium is essentially different from serialised TV.

Despite of this, Red Dot Diva still found KINGDOM to be an intriguing take on the zombie apocalypse. The main plus points are seeing Asian faces in this horror genre, and admiring how beautiful the series looks on screen. The period costumes are gorgeous, and there are many breathtaking wide shots of the Korean landscape. Also, Red Dot Diva finds the character Seo Bi, the most likeable and the most astute of the lot.

So, if you are up for some beautiful zombie horror, check out KINGDOM Season 2, which will stream all episodes on Netflix, starting 13 March 2020.


Here's a special bonus zombie show to look out for.

2016's TRAIN TO BUSAN was a surprise hit South Korean movie that had movie audiences from all over the globe talking about how entertaining it was. Its sequel entitled, TRAIN TO BUSAN: PENINSULA, is set to be released later this year.

Director Yeon Sang Ho is back helming the highly-anticipated film that takes place four years later from the first movie. Kang Dong Won and Lee Jung Hyun are named as the lead actors. The other cast members include Kwon Hae Yo, Kim Min Jae, Go Kyo Hwan, Kim Doo Yoon, Lee Re, and Lee Ye Won.

Based on Empire magazine, the brief synopsis for TRAIN TO BUSAN: PENINSULA is as follows:

Peninsula takes place four years after the zombie outbreak in Train To Busan. The Korean peninsula is devastated and Jung-seok, a former soldier who has managed to escape overseas, is given a mission to go back and unexpectedly meets up with survivors.

Here's to more of those heart-thumping fast-zombie chases, as humanity desperately tries to escape from being eaten.

There are still no firm dates announced for the movie's release, but it is expected to be a summer premiere. So, do look out for more news about TRAIN TO BUSAN: PENINSULA on Red Dot Diva's Facebook and Twitter feed!

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