I think the pared-down drama actually heightens the show somehow. In terms of drama, I tend to find that less is frequently more. T-Dawg rambling about shit is boring, talking about his feelings and shit. But having him hack up zombies for an entire episode and then offer a single line of advice to burn the bodies makes him badass, and I like him the more for it. Having Carol competently patch up Hershel did more for her character than an entire season of her crying and emoting and Capital-"A" Acting™ while looking for her daughter. I'm OK if not every episode is chock full o' zombie skewering, as long as something actually happens. And as long as the characters are written consistently and interestingly. Mazzara has given me a lot of reasons to be hopeful. The show has been on a strong, steady increase in quality since he took over, and Darabont's direct guidance was left behind. Looking forward to Episode 3 (and that spoiler-bit Walter mentions above).