Catch You on the Z-Side: Vol. 4

Catch You on the Z-Side: Vol. 4
by R.C. Murphy

If one thought other shows were out for main cast blood, while compiling this series, I discovered it has the highest main character death rate, and the secondary characters who’ve bitten the dust likewise captured the audience’s heartstrings. Rarely is a death on this show a “good riddance they’re gone” moment. It just so happens that the adventure-of-the-week storytelling style lends wonderfully to writing many, many deaths because next week, the main cast will find someone else to help them or hunt them. Not to get caught in a pattern, the show’s writers also aren’t afraid to tap side characters to make a comeback, like Sketchy and Skeezy. Unfortunately for those we’re revisiting now, that is not an option.

While, yes the turnover rate for main characters is high, the number of guest stars to shuffle off the mortal coil in Z Nation is only rivaled by those killed off in huge battle scenes on shows like Spartacus or Game of Thrones. Over three season, this show has delivered weekly doses of laughs, plus the chance to see actors in the apocalypse who normally wouldn’t be associated with the genre. These temporary characters are always fun. Some of them would’ve made great additions to Operation Bitemark.

Except, maybe, Gideon Gould. When we met Gould, he was trapped in a hotel where his team building seminar became survival of the fittest. As a published psychologist, he felt it necessary to micromanage the microcosm inside the barricaded hotel. But by the time Roberta and gang paid a visit, the perpetual team building had already done significant damage to the relationships within Gould’s group. Basically, he really sucked at what he did and only continued because it made him feel good. A talking stick upside the dome doesn’t have the same sort of satisfaction for Gould, but at least he can move on to a better, cleaner place.

It’s always a pleasure to catch Anthony Michael Hall at work in a comedic setting. He made Gould hysterically sanctimonious during an episode where it wasn’t clear if our heroes would make it free alive. Post ZN, he’s joined the drama Murder in the First for season where he plays Paul Barnes, father to hard-living pop star Alicia Barnes. Hall joined Elle Fanning and Brendan Gleeson in the film Live by Night, directed by Ben Affleck. In The Lears Hall stars in the family comedy alongside iZombie‘s Aly Michalka and Sean Astin. At the end of the month, keep an eye out for War Machine, an absurdly-told war story starring Hall, Brad Pitt and Anthony Hayes.

That alien episode was fun, right? Weird as they were, ultimately Dan Scully’s antics will forever live on in ZN fans’ minds. Scully toyed with Operation Bitemark when they reached Roswell. First, presenting himself as a skeptic saving them from the local so-called alien expert. Later, when Scully needed to steal a high tech plane, he fashioned himself, and several zombies, into aliens in order to confound anyone who may stop him from returning to Zona.

It takes a true weirdo to bring a man like Dan Scully to life. Good thing we live in the era of Doug Jones and his outstanding creature work. Bonus, Doug’s face is pretty good on-screen to, so it’s a treat to see him sans-makeup during the first part of the episode. For the most part, Jones has gone on to do what he does best, scaring the pants off everyone in spectacular costumes. Jones was in head-to-toe creature makeup for FX’s The Strain as The Ancient. On Halloween, Jones’ version of Count Orlok will finally be unleashed on the world in the upcoming reimagining of the classic film Nosferatu. Jones filmed a truckload of movies in a short amount of time, including The Midnight Man, We’ve Forgotten More Than We Ever Know, Beneath the Leaves, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and he is the titular character in the horror flick The Bye Bye Man. CBS recently announced a new addition to the Star Trek franchise with the upcoming series Star Trek: Discovery, in which Jones will portray Lt. Saru. In December, don’t miss the chance to see Jones working alongside long-time collaborator Guillermo del Toro in the Cold War era fantasy The Shape of Water.

Beside every badass in this show is an equally dangerous woman. When Escorpion picked his second-in-command, he didn’t mess around. Corinne took guff from no one, loyally serving her commander until his conscience took him on another path. She was what Roberta will have to become in the upcoming season, fierce and deadly with no time wasted on sympathy.

Z Nation was the oddball jumping-off point Nidhi Ghildayal needed to kick her TV career in gear. Since shedding her Zeroes facepaint, Ghildayal has filmed two episodes of the popular soap opera Days of Our Lives. She guest starred on the CBS crime drama NCIS: New Orleans, along with Pure Genius and she appears in the second season premiere of Hidden America with Jonah Ray.

Life After Death: Vol. 12

Life After Death: Vol. 12
by R.C. Murphy

Unfortunately, the reality during an apocalyptic scenario is that most people will not make it far with their families intact—these folks tend to fall to the wayside on the show quite often. Some of them shuffled off the mortal plain with next to no one left to mourn their passing, even amongst their neighbors. One we wished had made it to the current time line completely stole the show for a too-brief time. Then there’s the one with so much potential, killed off before the writers would have to tackle any hard questions about women’s sexuality when it isn’t in a heterosexual relationship.

We’re taking a look back at season six’s dearly departed, and catching up with the actors who brought them to life.

EEmbryWhen you need to kill off someone, but make it seem impactful, you write the perfect jerk. Carter was season’s six’s sacrificial lamb—slaughtered by the group’s incompetence to make a point that Alexandria does indeed need Rick’s people to teach them the way, and that any who speak up against him will meet the wrath of God. Seriously, that’s how a lot of the deaths for season six felt, like the writers were over-reaching and showing their hand when they plucked problematic characters from Rick’s takeover path with little fallout for the hero. A shame, really. Ethan Embry, the man behind Carter’s short yet impactful time on TWD, could’ve brought a lot to the table acting-wise. He was perfect as a “friendly” antagonist, countering Rick’s attempt to steamroll into town and set up a military camp in what had been a peaceful settlement.

Post-TWD life has been pretty busy for Embry. He starred in The Devil’s Candy opposite Shiri Appleby and Pruitt Taylor Vince, along with Fashionista starring Amanda Fuller and Eric Balfour. Embry stars in Cheap Thrills, which is currently available to stream on Netflix. On January 13th, Amazon will release Sneaky Pete. The series was created by Bryan Cranston and David Shore (House), with stars Ethan Embry, Giovanni Ribisi, and Marin Ireland. Embry also plays Coyote Bergstein on Netflix’s hit comedy Grace and Frankie. The series stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. It has so much fan appeal, Netflix secured a third season before the second season aired. The third season will be released on the streaming service May 2017.

MTraynorNicholas never really endeared himself to anyone, let alone TWD fans, during his half-dozen appearances on the show. He, like Carter, were guys determined to keep things as they were before the prison refugees joined their community. After Glenn bruised his ego, he made it his life’s mission to eradicate the newcomers. In the end, Nicholas’ childish reaction to criticism killed numerous people, including himself. His final act, suicide, did have the unexpected bonus of saving Glenn. Guess Nicholas’ life wasn’t a complete waste.

Michael Traynor didn’t pull the long straw when it came to characters fans would clamor over for years to come. That being said, Traynor is such an awesome guy, they love him anyway. He can often be found living it up at various horror conventions throughout the United States, appearing alongside other TWD stars to meet their fans. Traynor went on to guest star on Freeform’s The Fosters for several episodes. Playing the father to a teenager possessed by an alien creature, Traynor appears in the upcoming sci-fi thriller Ascension alongside Christie Burke and Ana Mulvoy-Ten. He also stars in another thriller, this time with a horror twist, in Needlestick. In October 2016, Traynor appeared in the Youtube Red original thriller The Thinning. His next project is the ’80s drama Juke Box Hero, out later this month.

It’s no secret I loathe flashback episodes on TWD, but when they introduced Morgan’s personal savior, Eastman, it was worth the flashback trauma. He’s calm, collected, a pro with a staff, has a goat, and is obsessed with making the perfect cheese. Basically, this is the guy you want around when the crap hits the fan. Eastman’s story is far from cut and dry. Matter of fact, I constantly lament FTWD not existing as Eastman’s story instead of the lackluster plot they opted to follow. We didn’t get nearly enough time with a seriously complex character, nor did we get to fully enjoy the tension in his background which made him such an intriguing person.

JCLynchWe also didn’t get enough time to bask in John Carroll Lynch’s brilliance. This guy has been on the genre fan’s favorite list for years, only adding to his status in our hearts with his TWD appearance. After, he returned to American Horror Story for AHS: Hotel, joining the weirdest dinner party ever as John Wayne Gacy. Lynch appeared as James Rivington on TURN: Washington’s Spies. Joining Jennifer Beals and Olivia Thiriby, the trio starred in the thriller White Orchid. Lynch also appeared alongside Matt Bomer and Maura Tierney in Anything. In December 2016, Jackie released with Natalie Portman in the title role and Lynch playing Lyndon B. Johnson. Later this month, the biopic The Founder releases, starring Lynch as Mac McDonald, along with Michael Keaton and Nick Offerman. SyFy’s creeptastic Channel Zero returns in 2017 for a second season, with Lynch coming onboard as John Sleator.

When the apocalypse happens, anyone with a trace of medical training will be king. Or in this case, queen. Denise didn’t start out her time in Alexandria as the community’s doctor. Thanks to Pete’s little self-destructive outburst, she was thrown into the position and forced to adapt or get people killed. As far as competency goes, she doesn’t do too horribly. As far as fair treatment from the writers? Not the same story. Denise suffers from the writers thinking they could handle two sets of gay characters. Aaron and his husband were established before Rick’s people got to town, leaving the romantic bits between the men sparse, without the passion from new lovers and rife with awkward moments where the writers flounder finding reasons for them to touch without it being “too much” for a predominately straight target audience. Conversely, Denise and Tara form a bond over their awkwardness within the show’s action. It morphs into a relationship which could have been refreshing, but never gets any time to develop—like the writers thought its mere existence was enough to convince viewers they were being inclusive and sensitive to gay viewers. It leaves us forced to believe two women in love can’t find enough time to be in a relationship, or even touch each other, if there’s anything else going on in their lives. Denise is another victim of the writer’s half-handed attempt to do something different, but when it proved too tricky (damn being sensitive to an already media-tormented people) they put her in Daryl’s story line to kill her. Sigh.

MWeverNot to fear, Merritt Wever isn’t gone from the airwaves for long. She’s laid low since saying goodbye to Denise in such a violent way, but is set to make a splash in her next project. Mever will appear as Mary Agnes in Netflix’s upcoming six-episode series Godless. The show is set in the American West during the 1880s, where a couple of warring outlaws find themselves in La Belle, New Mexico—a town completely devoid of men.

Life After Death, Vol. 11

Life After Death, Vol. 11
by R.C. Murphy

Thinking about eating anything barbecued after the TERMINUS story line was rough, made more so by the infamous Bob-B-Q scene when the surviving cannibals caught up with the gang and got their revenge. Bob Stookey didn’t go out alone, his strength let him hang in there long enough to bait the Hunters/cannibals into a trap set by Rick. Bob spent his final hours ensuring his people, and the woman he cared for, were taken care of. Which says so much about the heart of this character, and why he became a vital part of Tyreese’s final moments later in the season.

GRACELAND -- "B-Positive" Episode 301 -- Pictured: (l-r) Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Agent Logan, Daniel Sunjata as Paul Briggs-- (Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

GRACELAND — “B-Positive” Episode 301 — Pictured: (l-r) Lawrence Gilliard Jr. as Agent Logan, Daniel Sunjata as Paul Briggs– (Photo by: Jeff Daly/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Lawrence Gilliard Jr. is as compassionate as his on-screen counterpart. At several Walker Stalker conventions this part year, he’s hosted “Bob’s BBQ Challenge,” encouraging fans who visit his signing table to donate non-perishable food items for charity. On the small screen, Gilliard guest starred on Graceland as Sean Logan, and appeared on CBS’ The Good Wife. He’s currently working on the upcoming HBO drama The Deuce, and is set to appear in the film St. Sebastian, directed by Danny DeVito.

Tyreese gave it his all to keep the people in his life alive, no matter the odds or what his conscious said about killing. He supported Sasha through her dark days. The youngest members in the prison community only made as far as they did because Ty had no selfish bone in his body. In his dying moments, he fought his fate, and the hallucinations his subconscious coughed up, because he felt he failed everyone by dying—not to mention his heavy guilt weighing the scales as he considered the bloody mark he left behind on the world.

colemantheexpanseAfter such an emotional TWD send-off, Chad Coleman returned to Family Guy for another guest appearance. He joined Thomas Jane, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Steven Straight for SyFy’s space mystery, The Expanse. Alongside a powerhouse cast, Coleman appeared as Mingo in the History Channel reimagining of Roots. On October 5th, Coleman makes his way to Star City to guest star in the season five premiere for CW’s Arrow. The new Hulu horror series Freakish, starring Coleman, Hayes Grier, and Liza Koshy, will premiere on October 10th. Tumblr will roll out two episodes a day (October 10th – 14th) so everyone has a limited-time window to watch the show for free, or Hulu users can stream it anytime.

Noah just wanted to find his place in the world, and found one once Rick’s people took him under their wings. Since that day, he did his best to remain useful. When it looked like they would settle in Alexandria, he understood they needed to build, to expand their safe haven and further secure the defenses, so he asked Reg to help him learn architecture. Unfortunately, he never gets a chance to prove what he can do for the community. In the same episode, Noah goes on a doomed mission with Glenn, Tara, Eugene, and Nicholas. The latter is directly responsible for one of the hardest to watch deaths on TWD to date. Noah was unnecessarily sacrificed by a panicked Nicholas, something which haunted him until his own demise.

williamscriminalmindsTyler James Williams had little downtime after leaving TWD. Soon after his final episodes, Williams appeared on Criminal Minds as Russ Montgomery. The episode set up the new show Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, with Williams, Gary Sinise, and Clara Seger expanding the CM franchise. The show’s second season will premiere on March 1, 2017. Williams also starred on RePlay—available via Verizon’s go90 app—and appeared on two episodes of Ballers.

Life After Death, Vol. 10

Life After Death, Vol. 10
By R.C. Murphy

Unfortunately, the reality during an apocalyptic scenario is that most people will not make it far with their families intact—these solo folks tend to fall to the wayside on the show quite often. There were some pretty stellar actors brought in to populate Woodbury, and some managed to survive long enough to see season four. Unfortunately since we’re talking about them here, the buck stopped for them all by the season’s conclusion.

Karen started as a voice in the crowd who’d occasionally butt heads with The Governor and his commanders, demanding, at the very least, some transparency from their leader. She was one of few left alive to join the prison community after a failed mutiny. Even rarer, she found a place in their ranks and formed strong bonds with several characters, including Tyreese. It took a mysterious, mass-panic-inducing illness to snatch Karen from her new, safer home. Cruelest of all, her death at Carol’s hand is shown repeatedly in flashbacks into the fifth season.

mpteenwolfFans of Melissa Ponzio knew it wouldn’t be long before she hit the airwaves again. After all, Ponzio has been a regular cast member on MTV’s Teen Wolf since day one, playing mother to the show’s leading werewolf. Teen Wolf returns to the small screen for its sixth and final season on November 15th. Ponzio also had a recurring role on Chicago Fire after departing TWD. She attends fan conventions as her schedule allows with fellow TWD and TW cast members.

Every dictator needs strong men to keep things in order. Martinez filled the role nicely. He wanted to believe The Governor could provide the leadership necessary to ensure they’d survive in Woodbury, no matter if their enemy was alive or dead. When Philip failed them all, Martinez made his own camp to protect. It wasn’t until he had people to call his that we see the caretaker side to the character. And then Phillip threw him in a pit of walkers.

jpcchappieNot long after leaving a show where they hunted down zombies, Jose Pablo Cantillo found himself on Constantine, where they hunted . . . just about everything which would snatch you from bed in the middle of the night. Later, Cantillo joined Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackson, and Sigourney Weaver in the Sci-Fi/Thriller Chappie. He also appeared in Solace with Anthony Hopkins, and recent TWD addition Jeffrey Dean Morgan. His next project will be the Taken television adaptation with Clive Standen. Breaking into other forms of entertainment, Cantillo helped create Free Me, a social-media inspired card game.

Like most secondary child characters, Meghan Chambler existed to perish and push a lead male character to make a horrible decision about the future of their people. Which sucks. The younger generation of survivors deserve a chance. We never got much from Meg, save she really wanted to learn how to beat “Brian” at chess.

mmlegendarydudasMeyrick Murphy is a name to keep an eye on. She’s moved on from being a plot pawn on TWD to starring in several Nickelodeon shows—Legendary Dudas, 100 Things to Do Before High School, School of Rock. Murphy also provided the voice for Mari in the critically acclaimed film Kubo and the Two Strings. It’s still in theaters. Don’t miss your chance to see it on the big screen.

Philip Blake. There’s a world to say about the man who more or less ran the show for nearly two seasons. He was deadly in his practicality and desire to safeguard the haven he carved from the apocalypse-ruined land. There may have been a screw or ten loose in Philip’s head, which we never fully realized until he’s abandoned by his people and he’s forced to rely on his own charm to get by. Like many men determined to make a name for himself, the quiet life Philip created—under the name Brian—wasn’t enough to satisfy his needs. After staging an attack on the prison, complete with a tank, Philip’s single-minded need to destroy Rick cost him everything when Michonne snuck up and stabbed him.

dmextantAs much as I love David Morrissey, it was a blessing for The Governor to skip on to zombie-less, cloudy fields. Post-TWD, Morrissey landed on CBS’ Extant as Tobias Shepherd. In May 2016, the film The Ones Below was released, starring Morrissey, Clémence Poésy, and Stephen Campbell Moore. The Missing will return to Starz for a second season, featuring a new case and Morrissey as Sam, father of a missing, then miraculously found child. He is also working on Britannia, a 10-part drama set during the Roman invasion of the British isles in 43 A.D.. The miniseries is a joint effort between Sky and Amazon—Sky 1 airing Britannia in the UK and Amazon streaming it in the USA in 2017.

Life After Death, Vol. 9

Unfortunately, the reality during an apocalyptic scenario is that most people will not make it far with their families intact—these solo folks tend to fall to the wayside on the show quite often. Season three pulled no punches, culling three characters remaining from the pilot, along with two newcomers who really won fans over.

ironeT-Dog’s primary goal in life was to help others. Anytime he was on screen, he did his best to make the apocalypse easier for his fellow survivors. Often, his efforts went awry in amusing ways. His final mistake came when he ran to close the open gate at the prison allowing walkers to pour into the facility. The dead got him, but not before he closed the gate. This is one character death they should have spent just another second with, giving Rick time to put T-Dog down before he turned. It was not okay for him to save everyone, then get left behind to the fate they all dread.

Post-TWD, IronE Singleton basks in fan love, attending numerous conventions over the years to meet them. He’s polished his one-man show, Blindsided by the Walking Dead and performed it several times for fans eager to learn how he turned his life around. In March 2016, IronE dropped his album Hip-Hopcrisy. On the acting side of his multi-faceted talents, IronE has filmed The Box Cutter, An Amish Murder, Franklin & Bash, and is currently working on a new series, SINs, which is searching for a network.

swcpribrksdccA lot of the character-driven drama pushing the first few seasons forward centered on Rick and Lori’s tumultuous relationship, highlighting how she moved on thinking she was a widow, but Rick was only motivated by keeping Lori and Carl safe. Their clashes, and the Shane complications, led to some of the most frustrating moments on the show. The biggest of which has to do with Lori’s death during childbirth. That’s a rant for another day.

Free from wearing a prosthetic stomach to work every day, Sarah Wayne Callies starred in Into the Storm opposite Richard Armitage, and Pay the Ghost co-starring Nicholas Cage, before finding a new show to headline, USA Network’s Colony. As Katie Bowman, Callies goes the extra mile to stand up for her freedom while keeping her family together in the wake of an alien invasion. Colony will return for a second season in 2017. Callies is very busy, what with the Prison Break miniseries/sequel set to hit airwaves next year, as well. She will also appear in the upcoming film This is Your Death directed by Breaking Bad star Giancarlo Esposito. The upcoming animated pilot Elena’s Serenade is spear-headed by Callies, who found inspiration in Campbell Gleeslin’s book and wrote the script for the project.

vwardlitpOscar deserved a better death. He needed more than Axel to mourn him. He should have survived far longer than he did, but thanks to TWD’s inability to handle multiple men of color on the show—I’ll keel over if Glenn ever meets another Korean-American—Oscar was killed off simply to prove Rick couldn’t get his crap together.

Worry not, Vincent Ward gets plenty of love to make up for his too-short time as Oscar. He and fellow prisoner-turned-good-guy, Lew Temple, can often be found making mischief at horror conventions and meeting fans. Recently, Vincent graced small screens for a Bravecto commercial—though his furry co-star totally stole the show. He’s also appeared on Wilfred, The Other Side, Psych, and 2 Broke Girls. Earlier this year, Vincent joined Brandon Routh and Yuqi Zhang for the thriller Lost in the Pacific. His other film projects post-TWD include 4 Play, Message from a Mistress, Grave Walkers, 2016, along with the upcoming star-studded horror flick Death House, and The Choir Director. He has also graced numerous stages for various plays since leaving TWD.

lew31In one of the more startling murders, we said goodbye to kind-hearted Axel. Of course, this was literally seconds after Carol and Axel had a nice bonding moment which promised a healthier mental turn for both. We just didn’t expect The Governor to turn Axel’s mind inside out with a bullet before he found peace.

There was never a doubt that after TWD, Lew Temple would go on to do great things. Heck, he’d done plenty before donning that grimy prison uniform to impress me. Not long after saying goodbye to Axel, Lew joined Johnny Depp for The Lone Ranger. Being in the class of actor who never sleeps, Lew’s post-TWD credits are vast—Longmire, Wicked City, Night Moves, House of Forbidden Secrets, Atlas Shrugged 3, Camouflage, A Fighting Season, The Grace of Jake, plus numerous other projects. He’s got nearly a dozen films in the works at the moment. Horror fans will be excited to know Lew worked with Rob Zombie again for his new feature, 31, which will be available through VoD on September 16th, with a limited theatrical release on October 21st. Lew’s other upcoming projects include Kidnap with Halle Berry, The Endless, Feral, My B.F.F., Behind the Walls, Cut Off, and The Three.

A one-handed bastard to the end, Merle Dixon didn’t care if he had friends, so long as he had everything he wanted in order to make his life easier. His alliance with The Governor was a means to an end. An end which changed at some point, eventually leading him to catch a case of emotions and attempt to end Phillip’s reign in Woodbury by himself rather than hand over Michonne. As much as I want to say Merle should’ve lived longer, he did go out a hero and that’d be a disservice to the rare example of character growth on the show.

henry30thMichael Rooker needs no introduction. He’s big, blue, and everywhere in pop culture at the moment after starring in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn. Rooker’s Yondu will return on May 5, 2017 when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is released. Fans got a preview of Yondu’s new ‘do at San Diego Comic-Con 2016 when Rooker, backed up by his Ravagers, joined the GotG V2 cast during the Marvel panel. In another project written by Gunn and directed by Greg McLean, Rooker joins a seriously unhinged social experiment in The Belko Experiment. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival recently and found a distributor through BH Tilt. Audiences will get a chance to see TBE when it releases on March 17, 2017. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, a restored version of the film will screen at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 14th. The event will include a Q&A with Rooker and director John McNaughton. Henry hits theaters again beginning October 21st. Rooker has been tied to Kevin Smith’s Mallrats sequel, though what form the end product will be remains unknown. Smith’s latest updates says the ten-episode series has Universal as a production house, but they’re still looking for someone to actually air it. Can’t wait for his upcoming projects to get a Rooker fix? No worries! He regularly attends comic and horror conventions to meet fans.

Life After Death, Vol. 8

Life After Death Vol. 8
By R.C. Murphy

Unfortunately, the reality during an apocalyptic scenario is that most people will not make it far with their families intact—these solo folks tend to fall to the wayside on the show quite often. Over the course of season two, we said goodbye to several mainstays from the original camp crew. We also got to know, then lost horrifically, a couple newcomers who could have gone far had they not become walker lunch.

Browse photos from the set of the two-hour series premiere of Heroes Reborn.

Browse photos from the set of the two-hour series premiere of Heroes Reborn.

Otis was doomed from the get-go, to be honest. First, he accidentally shot Carl, then he volunteered to go on a supply run with Shane as backup. The latter, despite Otis attempting to make up for the accident, was probably one of the worst ideas throughout season two. He didn’t know Shane like we do. Didn’t realize that man would do literally anything to keep Lori happy. Anything meant hobbling Otis to provide cover for himself so he could escape a walker horde and deliver the supplies.

Pruitt Taylor Vince has one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces, so it’s no surprise that after his short stint on TWD, Pruitt rolled right along with his career. Since hanging up his hat as Otis, Pruitt has filmed nearly a dozen film projects, including Beautiful Creatures, Bending the Rules, 13 Sins, Broken Blood, and Homefront alongside Jason Statham and Winona Rider. As Casper Abraham, Pruitt helped introduce everyone to a new generation of super-powered people on Heroes Reborn. Over the years, he’s had a reoccurring role on The Mentalist as J.J. LaRoche. He took a turn on HBO’s True Blood during the show’s sixth season, playing Dr. Finn, a psychologist who develops a fixation for Pam while she’s held in a vampire concentration camp. Pruitt’s next project is The Life and Death of John Gotti, also starring John Travolta and Kelly Preston.

Jeffrey DeMunn as Chuck Rhoades Sr. in Billions (Season 1, Episode 1). - Photo: JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: Billions_101_0466.R

Jeffrey DeMunn as Chuck Rhoades Sr. in Billions (Season 1, Episode 1). – Photo: JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: Billions_101_0466.R

No one, and I mean no one was prepared to say farewell to Dale Hovarth after only two seasons. Too much of the group’s stability relied on Dale to be the voice of reason. Not to mention, Jeffrey DeMunn has a calm about him in the role which reaches out to the audience. The fact that it was actions within his own group which caused Dale’s death is no accident of writing. They had to kill their conscience early in order for Rick to spiral to the point they are now. Doesn’t mean I have to like Dale’s death, though.

Freed from playing a nomad in a broken-down RV, DeMunn went on to guest star on The Good Wife, The Affair, The Blacklist, and Divorce. He teamed up with TWD creator Frank Darabont for TNT’s Mob City, co-starring Jon Bernthal and Milo Ventimiglia. DeMunn has a reoccurring role on Showtime’s Billions. He plays Charles Rhoades Sr., father to Paul Giamatti’s character. The senior Rhoades spends his time being obscenely wealthy and meddling in his son’s life. Billions has been renewed for a second season, starting February 2017.

BernthalDaredevilIt was no great secret back when season two aired that I could not tolerate Shane’s overly-aggressive nature, especially when it came to how he treated Lori or he decided to make safety decisions for the group, which always ended in bloodshed. Those very things lead to his death at the hands of his best friend. Oh and then, wonderful man that he was, the kid he considered a son had to kill his reanimated corpse.

But just because I couldn’t stand Shane doesn’t mean I didn’t love Jon Bernthal’s performance on the show. This is one man who left TWD and, zoom, his career skyrocketed—it’s still on a straight shot to the moon, too. Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you know Bernthal was brought into the Marvel universe to play Frank Castle on Netflix’s Daredevil. His jaw-dropping performance in the episode “Penny and Dime” pretty much guaranteed he’d land a spin-off. The Punisher hits Netflix during November 2017, which is not nearly soon enough. Need another Bernthal fix before Mr. Castle gets his own show? He also appeared in numerous films and shows since leaving TWD—Snitch, The Wolf of Wall Street, Fury, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Mob City, to name a few. His other upcoming projects include Pilgrimage with Richard Armitage, The Accountant alongside Ben Affleck, Sweet Virginia, Baby Driver, and Wind River.

JAMcCuneBlairWitchJimmy wanted desperately to be the hero he felt Beth deserved to protect her gentle soul during the apocalypse. In a way, he fulfilled his dream, but at too-high a cost. We mostly saw Jimmy in the background, helping the Greene family tend to the farm or giving Beth emotional support. He did get his hands dirty gathering walkers to keep in the barn where they couldn’t attack anyone—until Shane let them all out. During the chaos after Shane was killed, walkers swarm the Greene farm. Jimmy was in the thick of it, using Dale’s RV as cover to shoot walkers, then driving it over to help Rick and Carl get off the barn roof. Unfortunately, an RV is not a tank. They broke in and Jimmy became supper.

James Allen McCune is just as generous and kind as Jimmy, but still has a heartbeat. Post-TWD, he went on to appear in Snitch, Congratulations!, and the made for TV movie Anna Nicole. James joined the cast for Showtime’s Shameless during their fourth season as Matty Baker. In some seriously exciting—and surprising—news, James was introduced as the star of a brand new film, The Woods, which is actually Blair Witch, a direct sequel to The Blair Witch Project. James plays brother to Heather, the missing woman from TBWP. The film’s real title and plot was made public during San Diego Comic-Con when the cast and filmmakers were in attendance to screen the film. Blair Witch will have a wide release on September 16th after showing at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11th.

Life After Death: Volume 7

Life After Death: Volume 7
By R.C. Murphy

Unfortunately, the reality during an apocalyptic scenario is that most people will not make it far with their families intact—these solo folks tend to fall to the wayside on the show quite often. During season one, when some characters left they just drove off and were never heard from again. Others were dropped on the roadside and everyone else drove off. And some were so well obliterated, the wind had nothing to scatter once the embers cooled. Here’s a look at some original TWD survivors.

We didn’t get to know much about Jim beyond he was good with vehicles and lost his entire family to the walkers before Rick left the hospital. Jim was bitten trying to save Amy. Succumbing to the infection, the gang left him beside the freeway on the way to the CDC. His death set the tone for every other, “Hey, we can save them,” moment until now on the show. And that tone is, it’s pretty hopeless. To survive, the actively infected must be separated from the crew.

MissTeriS2BTSAndrew Rothenberg is always a welcome face on the screen, even when he’s playing a not-so-nice guy. As Jim, he had a few shining moments to impart some survivor’s wisdom to the others. After leaving TWD, he went on to guest star on shows like Person of Interest, Elementary, Blue Bloods, and most recently, The Good Wife. Rothenberg had a regular role on Mob City as Eddy Sanderson. He’s also returned to the stage with roles in Road Show, Mourning the Living and a couple others. Occasionally, Andrew attends conventions with his True Blood and TWD co-stars. His next projects are Revelers and season two for the web series Miss Teri.

Jacqui may still be one of the bravest characters on the show, though she didn’t survive the first season. She fully understood the situation—the world wouldn’t magically fix itself, she didn’t have the raw strength to live on the land indefinitely, and she certainly did not have the mental capacity to constantly kill to survive. Instead of a slow, painful death, she opted to go out on her terms and in a way which guaranteed peace.

JPrescottJeryl Prescott Sales brought heart to original survivor group. Something nearly impossible to do with such a compacted season to tell a huge story. She may not have been front and center, but she was there supporting her costars and stole a few scenes, especially the moments around Jim’s infection and later when they abandoned him to die alone. Post-TWD, Jeryl wrote, directed, produced, and starred in Stand Down Soldier. She’s filmed a few other film projects, including Get a Job, The Cold Descent with Tony Todd, and The Birth of a Nation, which releases on October 7th. Jeryl also guest starred on Castle, Revolution, and Modern Family, while finding reoccurring roles on Ray Donovan, Powers, and Film Lab Presents. This summer, she participated in a charity beach volleyball match on NBC to support St. Jude’s.

Dr. Edwin Jenner might be one of the most influential characters on the show, and he was only in two episodes. The information he learned at the CDC, then passed on to Rick, shaped how the team formed alliances for quite some time. Rick knew the dead weren’t the only threat. Everyone, even their spouses and children, was a potential flesh-eater with just one accident. Worst of all, Jenner’s information meant there was no peace in death without destroying the brain. Which is precisely why Jenner chose to remain in the CDC facility when it started its decontamination procedure. A gigantic explosion guaranteed he didn’t come back.

NEmmerichAmericansAfter his short but important role on TWD as Dr. Jenner, Noah Emmerich went on to star in Super 8, directed by J.J. Abrams. He filmed a few other projects, including Jane Got a Gun, Billions, Master of None and the upcoming Wilde Wedding, which also stars Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Patrick Stewart. Noah is a series regular on The Americans where he plays Stan Beeman, an FBI agent who happens to live next to KGB spies and has no clue. This show has two more seasons before its finale. That’s plenty of time for Beeman to get a clue about the neighbors, right?

Life After Death: Volume 6

Life After Death: Volume 6
By R.C. Murphy

The Anderson family honestly never stood a chance in the zombie apocalypse. Their fate was sealed the minute Rick inserted himself in their lives. Fortunately, the show is a work of fiction and we get more time with the actors behind the family.

Corey Brill earned a unique moniker after his brief, but memorable turn as Dr. Pete Anderson during the latter half of season five. Pete’s place in Alexandria was primarily to give Rick someone to butt heads with on a super-violent level. It worked. Once Pete’s dark side came out, Rick couldn’t leave it be and took care of things permanently.

South Coast Repertory presents the world premiere of “Office Hour” by Julia Cho, directed by Neel Keller. Cast: Sola Bamis (Genevieve), Corey Brill (David), Raymond Lee (Dennis), Sandra Oh (Gina). Julianne Argyros Stage, April 10-30, 2016

South Coast Repertory presents the world premiere of “Office Hour” by Julia Cho, directed by Neel Keller. Cast: Sola Bamis (Genevieve), Corey Brill (David), Raymond Lee (Dennis), Sandra Oh (Gina). Julianne Argyros Stage, April 10-30, 2016

After Corey left TWD, he returned to theatre, performing plays like Of Good Stock and Office Hour, plus others. In Scorpion‘s second season, Corey made an appearance as Dan Smaisley. Off-screen, Corey has attended a few fan conventions with fellow TWD alumni. He’s also taken a shine to urban bee keeping. His biggest adventure of all came in the form of a baby boy—congratulations to the Brill family.

Jessie seemed like the answer to whatever plagued Rick emotionally. He found someone to care for who wasn’t a wilting flower, but still needed him to provide for her safety. Unfortunately, as happens frequently on the show, what’s best for a character is often destroyed—sometimes without adequate rhyme or reason. Alexandra Breckenridge left TWD during a wave of “What the heck,” and blood during the season six mid-season premiere.

ABreckenridgeBrokenVowsv6In the time since her stint on the TWD ended, Alexandra returned to Family Guy. She also filmed Broken Vows, a psychological thriller co-starring Wes Bentley and Jaimie Alexander. The film premieres on October 11th. Off-screen, Alexandra spends ample time at conventions meeting fans. However, those plans are on hold because, like her on-screen husband, Alexandra is adding to her family and eagerly awaits the baby’s arrival.

Things weren’t okay in the Anderson household long before Rick and company came into town. Ron, the eldest son, unfortunately inherited a lot of his father’s anger and problem-solving skills. Once Pete wasn’t there to keep his son in check, Ron lashed out at the Grimes family. This inevitably leads to his death when he overreacts during a walker ambush.

MDodsonDesireeOnSetv6Off-screen, Austin Abrams is far quieter than Ron. He keeps to himself, avoiding social media and the hazards found there for young actors. After leaving TWD, Austin filmed Dude, directed and written by Olivia Milch.

Fan’s hearts went out to the youngest Anderson, Sam, when he simply could not mentally handle being amongst the monsters anymore. Losing such a young character is not easy on the heartstrings. Losing Major Dodson’s energy on the small screen every week was supremely disappointing.

No worries, fans. Major is always game to hit up a convention and meet everyone. Earlier in August, he made an appearance at a Say NO Bully Festival in Los Angeles with several other young actors. In May, Proud Souls was released, featuring Major in the role of Johnny. On September 27th, Desiree—based on the novel Dermaphoria—also starring Ron Perlman and Joseph Morgan, will be released. Major plays the younger version of Morgan’s character, Eric.

Life After Death: Volume 5

Life After Death: Volume 5
By R.C. Murphy

Oh, the Monroe Family. You gave us hope for sane, rational characters and left way too soon. I honestly feel these actors were given the short straw with characters who were never going to make it out of that particular location. Too many great actors are brought in for one place and left to the wayside when Rick’s movable feast shuffles on to bloodier pastures.

danielbonjourThe first to go was Daniel Bonjour’s character Aiden. Boy, he didn’t get a nice, clean death. Skewered and disemboweled. Ouch. Daniel fared far better than his TWD counterpart once he wrapped his two episodes. He’s gone on to film several TV appearances, including an episode of MTV’s Teen Wolf. Taking on the world of video games, he voices several characters in Hitman. Daniel starred alongside Will Arnett in the Netflix original Flaked. Coming up in October, Daniel will star in Frequency on The CW. The show is inspired by the film with the same name. Daniel can be found occasionally at various conventions with the Walking Dead family, meeting and enjoying the company of genre fans/creators.

SCoulterReg, like many on TWD, died doing the right thing. Steve Coulter left Alexandria behind and filmed the third installment in the Insidious film series. He also reunited with James Wan and his team to film The Conjuring 2. Not one to sit idle, Steve reprised a recurring role on Banshee recently, as well as appearing in Sick People, Ashby with Mickey Rourke, Extraction alongside action star Bruce Willis, and he has numerous other projects in the works. When he’s not on set, Steve travels the globe to attend conventions with fellow TWD cast members.

A natural leader, Deanna Monroe was the figurehead every fan wants Rick to become. She was also the kind of giving, thoughtful leader Rick can never become. With Deanna’s death, there’s a serious lack of good leadership examples left on the show. Since leaving TWD, Tovah Feldshuh’s hard work on the show has been honored with a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress on a TV Series. She is currently on The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as Rachel Bloom’s overbearing mother Naomi. The show is a musical-comedy, putting Tovah far, far away from the land of blood ‘n guts for now. Though she does still occasionally visit the Dark Side while attending horror conventions.

Life After Death: Volume 4

The world premiere of MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN Featuring: Brighton Sharbino Where: Hollywood, California, United States When: 09 Mar 2016 Credit: FayesVision/

The world premiere of MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN
Featuring: Brighton Sharbino
Where: Hollywood, California, United States
When: 09 Mar 2016
Credit: FayesVision/

We’ve tracked down the Samuels girls this week.

Mika Samuels didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell once her sister Lizzie snapped her last sane cog. Kyla Kenedy wasn’t on the show nearly long enough to truly appreciate her skills on camera. Luckily for us, fictional death has not put a damper on her get-up-and-go. Kyla regularly attends conventions to meet fans. Fan Fest sponsors a vlog hosted by Kenedy. Down ‘N Dirty pits the actress against other convention guests. In one memorable clip, she pranks Michael Rooker. On the big screen, Kyla appeared in A Gift Horse, and Love is All You Need? Recently she’s snagged roles on the medical drama The Night Shift and the pilot Kyla filmed for Speechless with Minnie Driver was picked up for a series.

No matter how many times we yelled at Lizzie that zombies aren’t pets, she never quite grasped it. This resulted in her killing her sister, nearly murdering a newborn, and being put down beside a patch of wildflowers like Old Yeller. I’ve got to give Brighton Sharbino a hand, she played crazypants really well. She also handled the backlash associated with playing a morally questionable character on a popular show admirably. Brighton spends occasional weekends at conventions to meet fans. She’s got plans in the work for some projects. Her recent films include Growing Up Smith with Jason Lee and Anjul Nigam, and Miracles from Heaven with Jennifer Garner.