Walking Dead Days Gone By

The day has finally come for AMC to premiere its new original series, THE WALKING DEAD, based on the comic series by Robert Kirkman. With AMC’s track record there are of course very high expectations for the series, not mentioning the fact that it also needs to live up to the very successful comic book series it is based on.

I got a chance to see the first two episodes of The Walking Dead early, but before I tell you my thoughts I should mention that I have read all 12 volumes of the comic book series and am a huge fan, so my reaction to the series is of course influenced by what I know and love of the comic. Now that’s out of the way, let me break down my thoughts on the series so far.

What is “The Walking Dead” About?

For those who don’t know, although the title should give you some indication, The Walking Dead takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which the dead wake up as zombies. In the series, we follow a group of survivors, led by ex-police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), traveling in search of a safe place to live.

What I liked about “The Walking Dead”

Well, it’s The Walking Dead comic book brought to life, which in itself is pretty freaking exciting, at least to me. But that aside, the first episode was pretty incredible, it sets up the world we are going to be living in and introduces us to the character of Rick Grimes. Speaking of Rick Grimes, the whole series depends on the actor portraying him and I am happy to say Andrew Lincoln is pretty incredible, I mean talk about great casting! And on a totally unrelated note, in case you’re wondering who Andrew Lincoln is, I always remember him from Love Actually as Mark, you know the guy that was in love with Keira Knightley’s character Juliet, who got married to his best mate? Yep that’s him. Now aren’t you even more excited to watch The Walking Dead? I sure was.

Apart from Andrew Lincoln, the rest of the cast is pretty good, but I have to mention guest star Lennie James, who is always so brilliant in anything he does. He was probably my other favorite in the series, and it’s too bad he wasn’t cast as a more permanent character.

The overall feel of the series puts you right in “zombieland” with Rick. The colors, the sounds, the empty roads, and zombies all over the place are constant reminders that this is the world we now live in. And since the first episode focuses mostly on Rick, you will get chills following him on his adventure through this new world, especially if you don’t know what’s coming up.

Finally, the first episode ends on such an exciting cliffhanger, I was reaching at my remote to put episode 2 the second it was done. And when episode 2 ended I was wishing I had even more episodes to satisfy my “Waling Dead” needs. Oh yeah, I’m hooked.

What I didn’t like about “The Walking Dead”

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the second episode as much as I enjoyed the first one. I found it very slow and felt it introduced useless characters. Now, maybe I didn’t like these new characters because they don’t exist in the comic book, but I am usually pretty open to changes if they make sense and improve the story. In this case it felt it just dragged on the story for no reason and with only 6 episodes in the first season, you would think they would make every single one count.

I feel these new characters so far didn’t bring anything to the story, it just diluted it a bit. There are already so many characters to begin with, there is no need to add more. And although these new characters may have been added to have people to kill off, well there really is no need for that, trust me there are plenty of characters to kill off. Furthermore, some of the characters were a little too cliche and as I was watching I could tell what they were planning for some of them, because they represent a specific archetype who would do that in shows. And I think that’s really unfortunate. The Walking Dead is a truly original, well told story, and I was really disappointed that they felt the need to add “Hollywood” elements to it for television.

That said, I am optimistic that they will make it work. And after all it was only the second episode and I don’t think it’s enough to judge the overall series, but I had to mention it.

Bonus: I’m not a horror fan, would I like “The Walking Dead”?

YES!!! I hate horror movies. I never watch zombie movies, yet the story of The Walking Dead has gripped me like a lot of other stories weren’t able to. The zombies are really just a plot device to tell a story. The Walking Dead is really more of a human story and what happens to us when we are put in those extreme situations (hint: it’s not pretty!). The Walking Dead reminds me more of The Road than Dawn of the Dead.

And to leave you with a quote from the comic book, which captures what the series is about perfectly:

“In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.”

In Conclusion

I am ready to be taken on this new ride by AMC and even though the series is not perfect, it’s pretty damn good and of course has earned the very coveted Season Pass on my DVR (but then again to be honest it earned that pass before I even saw the first episode).

I urge you to watch it when it premieres tonight, October 31, at 10pm on AMC. And if you were planning on watching a Halloween movie, forget it, watch The Walking Dead instead, it will put you right in the mood.