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12 June 2011

The Walking Dead (2010)

My Wife's got a Zombie Survival Plan! Regular readers of this blog will know that this is a real breakthrough... and it's a lot better than mine... which is to panic, get bitten and die!

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) goes in search of gas in the Walking Dead, AMC 2010
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) goes in search of gas in the Walking Dead, AMC 2010

This all started a couple of weeks back when I managed to pry her nose out of her Black Belt Karate magazines and we sat down to watch the first series of The Walking Dead. She didn't want to do it... but she did!

And they say that love is dead...

Before I talk about the show, I'll tell you about her Survival Plan. The conversation went something like this:
"It's obvious," she tells me. "We'll have to take to the sea."
"But, we don't have a boat or know anything about boats."
"We'll rescue [name removed] first... he's a riverboat pilot. He should know what to do."
"Ah, okay. What will we eat?"
"How will we cook it?"
"Wood fire. We'll forage. We'll find a sparsely infected island, clear it of zombies, and it should be pretty easy from there."
I'm paraphrasing, and of course I've had to remove her swear words. Ha ha... only kidding! I just hope that I'm not away from home when it all kicks off.

Give us a kiss my lovely, AMC 2010
Give us a kiss my lovely, AMC 2010

The Walking Dead is American broadcaster AMC's first stab at bringing the Walking Dead comics to life. It's a world that has been devastated by zombie infection. Most people are dead... or undead. Survivors exist, but they're in little pockets that are literally being eaten away as the days progress.

The show is wholly based in America, in and around Atlanta, and I must say that it looks like a hot, hot place! Funnily enough, the first characters you see aren't American at all... well at least the actors aren't. Enter the star: Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln; and Morgan Jones, played by Lennie James... two fine British actors. The first show sets the scene with a bang as Grimes, a Deputy Sheriff, awakes in hospital after being shot on the job. He stumbles out into the sunlight and runs into father and son Morgan and Duane Jones. We immediately start to realise the mess they're in... and that's the ball rolling... there's no time to look back...

Don't Open Dead Inside, AMC 2010
Don't Open Dead Inside, AMC 2010

I first heard about this show on a now-dead podcast when it aired in America at the end of 2010. Zombie geeks were beside themselves in excitement over its arrival and on the whole the message seemed to be that the series was delivering on its promises. Of course, these guys had all the baggage of being fans of the comics to contend with, so they kind of knew, and didn't know what to expect. I haven't read the comics, so you will be spared any deep character comparisons, and I won't be highlighting any deviations in plot. And yes, it was all new to me... just the way I like it! I've just Googled the comics and I must say that the look and feel of the series isn't a million miles away from the comic at all. At the face of it, it looks like the makers have tried to stay true. It won't have hurt that Robert Kirkman, who wrote the comics, is on the writing staff of the show.

Zombies in the Walking Dead, AMC 2010
Zombies in the Walking Dead, AMC 2010

The first series is made up of 6 episodes that follow Rick Grimes as he searches for and finds his family, and ultimately takes them to the supposed safety of the Center for Disease Control. Of course, it isn't all as simple and straight-forward as that, but I won't ruin it for you. Along the way, as a staple, you have undead popping up left, right and centre. And these are good looking zombies... 'good' in a zombie way. Pleasingly, they look just how I imagine they should, without any of that exaggerated floppy staggering that plagues some of the poorer films. And there I am comparing the show to films. Unavoidable really. This is a high-quality show; The episodes could easily stand their ground against a lot of zombie films out there, both in terms of plot and visuals. Corners haven't been cut, and the budget must have been big. Good news!

The boys on a rescue mission in the Walking Dead, AMC 2010
The boys on a rescue mission in the Walking Dead, AMC 2010

If I have one complaint, I guess it would be around the characters. I don't know, but I felt that it quickly slipped into that well-worn groove of a lot of American shows where there are obvious goodies and obvious baddies and they do what you would expect them to obviously do. The show has stereotypes-a-plenty, which is only really rescued by the cast who do a pretty good job throughout. My favourites were Norman Reedus as hot-headed crossbow-wielding Daryl Dixon and Jeffrey DeMunn as the sage old man, Dale Horwath. If you need a little bit of sensible talking, then Dale's your man!

I'm looking forward to the next chapter. Not sure when that's slated to surface. Just like the comic... this could run and run...

On the Triple-B, I'm going to whisper 6 words in your tiny shell-like, and you're going to have to wait for the next series to find out what I said...

Update 2-Jul-2012: If you enjoyed reading about Season 1 then you might also enjoy reading about Season 2.


  1. Clearly, your wife hasn't seen Zombie Flesh Eaters. ;-)

  2. You're right there Rich!

    Despite my best efforts to corrupt, it's fair to say that she's not that taken with zombies (even if sharks are involved). The line was drawn after I convinced her to watch "28 Weeks Later". Too bleak...

    On that front: I actually agree with her...