Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Overview: The Walking Dead TV Series

AMC's The Walking Dead is a success story in itself, and I'm glad to bear witness to it. If there's anything to be said about the past five weeks since the show's premiere, it's been one heck of a zombie apocalypse ride the viewers around the world have tuned and engrossed themselves into.

The Walking Dead Trailer

Based on the comic book series of the same name created by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead tells the story of a former small town sheriff's deputy named Rick Grimes, who gets shot in the line of duty and wakes up from a coma, only to be thrust into a world populated by the living dead. As he searches and eventually reunites with his family, Rick also comes across several other survivors, who also try to cope with the devastating changes wrought upon them by the zombie apocalypse. Soon, it becomes apparent that their enemy isn't just the dead, but also what remains of humanity as well.

So is this show for general viewing? Only if you can stomach the blood, violence, guts, and gore this show "subtly" brings to the small screen. It's brilliant storytelling that's told with some of the finest casting I've seen in a television series, and the production values are pretty neat too. However, it can also be too much for the faint of heart, like this particular scene from the first episode "Days Gone By".

The Walking Dead Ep. 1 First Scene

I never expected this much attention to be given to a series based on a comic book, let alone one featuring zombies, but this takes the  crown for being ambitious and coming out with flying colors every time an episode is aired. In fact, my only gripe is that the premiere season is TOO SHORT. Probably the creators had limited budget and screen time to work with, or AMC was still testing the waters to see if this would click. Well, they've got their answer now, and there's no telling what the next season will bring come next year. Being the actor in the lead role, Andrew Lincoln plays a great Rick Grimes. You can see how idealistic and good natured he is despite all the carnage and death surrounding him, and his act isn't to be taken callously. The rest of the cast also resonate with optimum performance, and it's this attention to detail and character that makes The Walking Dead a huge hit and success.

Robert Kirkman must be having the time of his life seeing his pride and joy graphic novel series getting the spotlight it truly deserves, and as a fan of the zombie genre, I couldn't be any happier for the guy. Like George A. Romero and Max Brooks, Kirkman's name will forever be synonymous with his work on The Walking Dead, and that legacy has only been enhanced by the success of the TV series. It perfectly captures the tension and atmosphere of the books, while adding the drama and emotion that can only be realized in film.

So back to the first season itself. Five episodes have already shown, and this Sunday's episode, "TS-19", is the season finale. We all know that a second season is due by fall next year, but that's still a long time coming, and the wait can be an unbearable experience for fans like myself. Fortunately, Robert Kirkman has promised in a recent interview that fans won't be left hanging after the end of episode 6. Major stuff will be resolved, and having read the comics, the TV series has pretty much diverged from the books, leaving fans something new and fresh to see by the season's end. If you've seen episode 5 ("Wildfire"), you'll know what I'm talking about, and I won't be spoiling anything here. Overall, all I'm going to say is this - Thanks to the direction and guidance of Kirkman, as well as Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont, The Walking Dead TV is truly a realization of something that many fans of the zombie apocalypse have once dreamed about - a gripping and ongoing tale of survival horror that's as real as it can be.

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