Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Walking Dead: Season One - Review

Kirkman's Epic Devours The Small Screen

Police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up from a coma after being shot in the line of duty. Instead of finding his family waiting for him, he finds the city deserted and ominous warnings about "the dead" written on walls, sometimes scribbled in blood. What he finds instead of his family and friends is a legion of the dead, walking and feasting on anything that's alive. Aided by a surviving father and his son, Rick sets out in a land populated with monsters to find his family, whom he knows in his heart are still alive.

Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman and produced by AMC, The Walking Dead has become a television phenomenon. I actually feel a little guilty that I haven't gotten around to reviewing or even finishing the first season until now. It's slated for a second season starting on October 31st, the anniversary of its original premier. Since it's creation it has taken the ratings by storm and gained a large loyal following on AMC.

The great thing about this zombie TV show is that it isn't really about zombies -- it's about the people who are now forced to actually live their lives in the wake of the dead. The most dangerous things that Rick, his family, and the other survivors have to deal with are people they encounter and themselves. When you can't trust yourself to walk alone in the world for fear of being eaten alive by the undead, it's also hard to trust any living person you might encounter, filled with the same fear and need to survive.

The writing on the show is fantastic. Every episode has a layer of tension so thick that you could sink your teeth into it. Not just the tense scenes with the zombies, but the sequences with human interaction as well. It's no surprise that a genre show that uses its fantastical premise to show the real life effects on individuals would do extremely well. It's that kind of connection to the characters that makes viewers scream at the TV to run, help the others, or stay and fight.

If you've missed this show and you're a big fan of the zombie genre of science fiction and horror, this is the series you've been waiting for. It takes on the premise of zombies taking over the world in a view from the survival standpoint of individuals as a drama instead of trying to make it an action or gore festival. Go out and watch it, you won't be disappointed. Also check out the books that the show is based on. The comics tell the story in a different medium, but also has different fates for different characters. It's definitely worth seeing from both sides.

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