Two days removed from what was the biggest non-sports premiere on cable television this year and the biggest premiere in AMC history, I sit here contemplating my thoughts on the The Walking Dead. At this point everyone else has already given their opinion of the premiere but well, who’s to say there is not room for one more.
The Walking Dead, based on the ongoing comic series by Robert Kirkman, probably seemed like a gamble at the time it was green-lit. After all, a prime-time series starring zombies? Really? The fact is zombies, especially the representation of them today, are not your typical subject matter for cable television. I myself was a bit skeptical, albeit highly optimistic at the same time, but as nearly anyone who watched the premiere can attest, AMC hit it out of the park.
The first episode introduces us to the primary character of the series, Rick Grimes, a police deputy who wakes up in the hospital only to find hell walks the earth. Grimes is played fantastically by Andrew Lincoln. Grimes as a character is likeable, a strong quality to have in a genre where fans are bloodthirsty for more gore, and I have a feeling people are going to fall in love with him over the course of the series because as likeable as he is, he is also fallible and that makes him more human.
What makes The Walking Dead so intriguing, as both an ongoing comic and a potential ongoing television series, is that while zombies are the catalyst for the events, the series actually is focused entirely on the living. The premiere set the stage for the character interactions to come and as someone who has read the first 54 issues of the series, I can attest that if they stay as true to the source material as they did in episode #1 then fans are going to poop their pants.
Often times I am more than happy to allow a film maker to adapt the source material to their own medium but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the great writer/director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist, etc…) stuck very close to the source during the premier and that it worked perfectly. If I have any complaint about the episode at all, it is that because I have read the series, I already knew the plot. That said, even though I already know most of what is to come in the series, I am eagerly anticipating the next episode.
Darabont has a fantastic ability to convey tension on the screen, he also has an artistic quality to his work that many other just don’t have, so I am a little tense for episode two which will be directed by Michelle Maxwell McLaren. I hope that the tone and vision set forth by Darabont in this first one. That said, one couldn’t have asked for anything more from the first episode than what was delivered. It was tense, gory, and ultimately what horror fans have been wanting on television for years, a mature and serious horror show.
5 out of 5