Wednesday, October 27, 2010

“The Walking Dead” Preview S01E01 – Does it Live Up to the Hype?


There has been a lot of hype around the new AMC television series “The Walking Dead” for many reasons. One is that the show is based on a very poplar graphic novel of the same title (which is still banging away by-the-by). Another is as a result of a certain critically acclaimed show from AMC (cough) “Mad Men”. People have high expectations not only from the zombie fanboy who can recite Romero’s filmography back to front, but the general TV watching community. “The Walking Dead” premieres on… you guessed it October 31st, but some people have had a sneak peak at perhaps the first ever zombie television series.       

After watching the pilot episode for “The Walking Dead” entitled “Days Gone By”  you realize that graphic novels don’t just make for good movies (at least some good movies, did any one see “The Spirit”?). The episode starts off as the trailer released at this years Comi-Con suggested with a shoot out between the main character Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes and some gun wielding man, the resulting shoot out leaves Grimes shot and unaware of the apocalyptic situation developing around him. He awakes to a hospital abandoned by any living inhabitants and continues to stumble about in a hospital gown until he meets up with one of the town’s holdouts, who introduces himself by popping a ghoul in the head only feet away from Grimes. After being filled in on all of the details by the zombie shooting samaritan regarding the rising of the dead and a refuge camp most people headed towards located in Atlanta, Georgia. Grimes decides that Atlanta is the best place to find his missing family so he gears up using the resources from his former workplace and donned in a deputies uniform heads to his family’s would be haven. During the journey to Atlanta a lack of fuel leads him to abandon his police cruiser and commandeer a horse (as seen in the trailer).

You have to appreciate what the makers of this show have done, the aesthetic of a lone cowboy looking character carrying a  duffle full of guns down a devastated highway really hits that zombie apocalypse nail right on the head.  Atlanta is a wasteland with abandoned vehicles all headed in one direction,  towards a hope of survival.  Once Grimes makes it to Atlanta he is quickly surrounded by a murder of zombies (or is it a herd of zombies) his new horse friend is the first to go in the feeding frenzy and then the sack of guns. Grimes takes refuge under a derelict tank and right when all seems to be lost and the deputy is being pursued on all sides, he takes his high caliber six shooter points it at his temple and says: “Lori, Carl, I’m sorry.”.   You’ll have to watch it to know the rest.
  
This pilot episode has the same amount of content as most B-Zombie movies but instead of placing all of that story telling on trying to make people pop out of their seats the minds behind this show seem to know that if you let things build and create a group of characters that have real depth and let the viewer become attached to them, then you will get much more bang for your zombie buck. This series has a wealth of ideas to draw from, given it is based on a beloved comic book series. All the show’s creators have to do is bring all of the elements from the comic to life and so far they have managed to do that.           


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