Directors: Frank Darabont, Michelle MacLaren, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Johan Renck, Ernest Dickerson, Guy Ferland
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Chandler Riggs, Steven Yeun, Jeffrey DeMunn
The deputies Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh are on a high speed pursuit that doesn’t end well. Rick gets shot and ends up in the hospital. When he wakes up from his coma, he finds himself alone in the hospital, only finding body parts and body bags around him. He walks out of there and tries to get home safe but gets hit in the head with a shovel by a young teenager named Duane who thought Rick was a zombie. Rick later wakes up tied to a bed. He is greeted by Duane’s father Morgan who makes sure that Rick isn’t bitten or infected before untying him. Morgan explains to Rick that a zombie apocalypse has happened and the world is no longer the same as it used to be.
Rick gets himself back together and heads to Atlanta where he has been told that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up a quarantine zone. Morgan and Duane has decided to stay behind and they agree to keep in touch with the help of walkie-talkies. He does not find what he hoped for in Atlanta since the city has been overrunned by zombies. Rick is able to escape from Atlanta thanks to some new friends who saved him. They had to leave one of the guys, Merle, behind as he was causing a lot of trouble and putting them all in danger.
They retreat to a camp outside the city where a small bunch of people have set up a, for now, safe environment. Rick finds that his wife Lori and their child are residing there together with his old friend Shane. Shane had told Lori that Rick died in the hospital and they have developed an intimate relationship during his absence. Merle’s brother Daryl is also at the camp and Rick has problems with the fact that they left Merle to die back in the city. He and a few others decide to head back and save Merle from the zombies. They don’t find him, only his severed hand, so they gather some supplies and heads back to the camp.
Before they get back the camp gets attacked by a bunch of zombies. They are not safe there anymore and most of them agree to travel to a CDC facility in Druid Hills, Georgia. They find that the center only has one survivor in it, Dr. Edwin Jenner who welcomes them with red wine and food before giving them some information on how the virus that has caused the zombies work. The gasoline tank that is running the facility is nearly empty and the place locks down. It has a timer that is counting down and when it’s at zero, the entire place will blow up. They plead for Jenner to open the door so they can try to still survive outside and after a lot of begging, he does. The remaining group is now heading to Fort Benning which they hope will still be operational.
The Walking Dead is produced by AMC and is based on a comic book series by Robert Kirkman. The television series is a creation by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) and went on to become another successful show for AMC, joining the other recent successes as Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
While I hadn’t read the comics before going into the first season, I couldn’t help but think of 28 Days Later when I saw the opening to this show. The main character wakes up not knowing what has happened to the world in a hospital and takes a walk out into the world to only see the chaos that has been caused. I guess it’s a cheaper way to open a show since the zombie takeover itself would need a big budget and a lot of effects.
The first season is only six episode, yet there is little that actually happens during these episodes. The way they left Merle and then went back to get him later just seems like a way to waste time, same with some subplots that didn’t go anywhere like the meeting with the latino’s. There is also too much drama scenes here that doesn’t add anything to the show at all. We get that the new world is a struggle for everybody, but there is no need for long emotional scenes with very minor characters.
The drama scenes could have worked if the characters where actually interesting for the viewers. Our main character and good guy Rick Grimes is played by Andrew Lincoln (Gangster No. 1, These Foolish Things) and Rick is the typical hero good guy with high morals and is obsessed with always doing the right thing no matter how dangerous that choice might be for himself. While that’s good and should be applauded, it also makes him one-dimensional and a little boring. His wife Lori is played by the lovely looking Sarah Wayne Callies, who is mostly known from Prison Break. I’m not sure what plans they have for this character in the future since they made her out to be a character no one will like right away. Her husband has been in a coma and after that presumed to be dead and she goes into a relationship with her husbands best friend short time after? She is a character that I don’t think will gather much sympathy from anyone and that seems kind of useless if she is a character that they are thinking of having for the long term on the show.
Same can also be said about Shane Walsh, played by Jon Bernthal (World Trade Center, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian). Shane is also a douchebag for sleeping with his best friends wife and he seems to constantly do wrong choices and have a bad attitude towards everyone that disagree with him. He also has quite a temper and I’m sure there will be a lot of conflicts with this character in the upcoming season. I guess the only supporting character that is likeable is Jeffrey DeMunn (The Hitcher, The Blob) as the old fella Dale. We don’t learn a lot about him, except that he is sick of losing his loved ones and I’m gonna make a guess that he used to be a hippie back in the day. He just have a very sympathetic aurora about him. Norman Reedus (Mimic, The Boondock Saints) as Daryl is also worth mentioning. Daryl is a redneck who is also very loyal and does have some good parts about him if you look close enough. He is interesting simply because Norman is a good actor and makes him into a character you want to see get more screen time. There is also several other supporting characters, but none that stands out to me and that’s also a problem for a show that tries to have a lot of dramatic scenes.
While the zombie horde in Atlanta was nice, the zombies doesn’t make a big impression here. They are well done when they first show up and there are some nice done gore when they have ripped open some victim, but I hope we get to see a lot more of them in the next season. It also seems like there is some budget restrains here since a lot of it takes part outside in the woods and they avoid costly scenes. Hopefully that will also change since this season did do well for AMC.
The first season of The Walking Dead is ok and nothing more. It’s interesting to see a TV show about zombies and the potential is huge with something like this. They do need to work more on the characters and avoid soap opera drama for it to be worth watching though and also hopefully up the budget so there can be more action. All in all, a decent start for the show.