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Nov 03

TV Review: The Walking Dead (AMC)

Regular Geek Actually-a-files will know that I am a mixed man when it comes to the way society views zombies. Nowadays, as horror becomes more and more socially acceptable, and fans become increasingly more desensitized, it’s safe to say the days where a man in white face paint and a bit of fake blood could scare you are long gone. These creatures of fear and death are becoming more like our generations mascots rather than the terrifying force of evil that they were in the 80’s. Now days it seems they are doomed to forever be mocked, ridiculed and “cutsy-fied” by people who have forgotten the core of what made them scary, power in numbers and the ability to kill and turn a victim with a single bite.

When I stumbled across the Walking Dead comics about 9 months ago, it was refreshing to see a solid series that had a strong sense of traditionalism. Plus, due to its long story arc and many issues, it takes the concept of survival and pushes it to new extremes. However it’s more than just its story, the pacing is good, the atmosphere and locations keep you involved and the characters will bring out every emotion you have and leave you feeling exhausted by the time you manage to pull yourself away from it.

So when I found out that Frank Darabont was taking this series to TV, I was very excited. Finally, in an age where horror is lost between hyper violence and intentional campness, the man who brought us The Shawshank Redemption was going to try and make horror intelligent once again.

The story follows Rick, a small town sheriff who is wounded in the opening minutes of the show and wakes up alone in hospital unaware of the current state of the world around him. As we continue throughout this episode, Rick must face both the realities of the zombie apocalypse and also deal with his own personal loses of friends and family.

Apart from a few niggling differences of opinion between myself and Mr Darabont over actor choices, the cast is very well picked. Plus, I know Frank Darabont is capable of pulling a performance out of a stone, so I’m sure his decisions will make more sense as time goes on.

The first episode is an amazing start and is very faithful to it’s source material. The important points are covered well and what changes have been added only help it translate into live action.

A key thing people have to know about this series is that The Walking Dead is more about the character’s struggle than it is about the undead threat, fans of gore and violence may find the series a bit slow or boring. The show has only one season planned so far and in that it seems only six episodes have been made, so character development will rely heavily on strong performances and a decent script. So far both seem to be well handled.

With rave reviews from both horror geeks and, shockingly, even some more reputable press, this show is off to a great start. The cast is strong, the visual style beautiful and one of the greatest directors of all time is behind the wheel pushing it all forward. It seems this show’s only flaw is having to wait a week for the next episode.

– Josh Philpott

  • Anonymous

    I’m really looking forward to watching this. Will it be shown on air (TV) or will I have to wait for the DVD release?