October 31st, 2010 by thetvchick
AMC has a handful of innovative programming, and on this Halloween night they offer up The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead is based on the graphic novels by Robert Kirkman of the same name, and they follow the protagonist Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) after he wakes up (alive) in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Now you might be saying to yourself “Really? That sounds more like a movie,” and you’d be right. Sparing no minute details, the creative team behind The Walking Dead (in addition to Kirkman) is Frank Darabont, the guy responsible for “The Shawshank Redemption” and Gale Ann Hurd, the woman responsible for “Terminator.” Together they have put together a show that is truly unique. And it even feels like you are watching an hour long movie.
Zombies are not generally my thing. I enjoy a scary movie here and there but suspending disbelief for scary/ugly creatures (um, I’d do it in a second for hot vampires or really any vampires) is not something I do on a regular basis. However, I really think that while the pilot had shades of a typical zombie TV show or movie, the show is really about the characters. Rick Grimes wakes up in a hospital bed with no one around, and no signs of real life. He goes home to find that his wife Lori and son Carl are missing from his house, but he assumes they are still alive. Forced to put together the pieces, and find sustenance, Rick goes in search of his wife and son and any living beings he might come across. He has to battle some zombies, yes, but we slowly learn about what Rick’s life was before the apocalypse, and we meet a camp of survivors living outside of the city (Atlanta).
It’s hard to imagine how I would react in any situation like this, and it’s interesting to see how these characters come to terms with life after such tragedy. Andrew Lincoln played the character on “Love Actually” who professes his love to Keira Knightley by holding up cue cards. He’s good looking for sure and British, but when I first heard he was playing the protagonist, it was hard to picture him in any other role. However, I think he is amazing as Rick Grimes. His American accent is believable and he plays the character with vulnerability and strength which is hard to pull off. Other standout performances were Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes, Jon Bernthal as Shane (the best friend) and Laurie Holden as Andrea. But one of my favorite characters, Glen, doesn’t come in until the second episode. Steven Yeun plays Glen, who has a crucial role in the series.
I thought The Walking Dead was beautifully shot (on film, no less) and I can’t wait to delve deeper into all of the characters and their pasts. Zombies obviously play a big role in this series but I feel like because there is so much rich material to work with, the characters are more the focus of the show than the zombies. I didn’t read the books but at New York Comic Con, the audience at the panel was assured that fans of the books would not be disappointed with the show and given that Kirkman is a creator and executive producer, I am going to assume they are right. However, I’ve read up on the books and there are a ton of deaths that I’m curious if they will incorporate into the show. But becuase there is so much to work with, I think they can really take their time in telling the story. And there will be new characters that aren’t in the books and paths the characters go on that don’t happen in the books. There is a decent amount of violence in the pilot episode (mostly of the killing zombie variety) but it doesn’t overshadow the characters too much. I think AMC has another hit on their hands, and I look forward to seeing what comes next. The first season is only going to be six episodes (AMC does this generally instead of just ordering a pilot episode) so it’s really worth the small amount of time commitment. And it’s truly perfect to be premiering on Halloween night.
The Walking Dead premieres tonight at 10 pm on AMC, and be sure to look out for my interview with Sarah Wayne Callies.Tweet