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Thursday, December 9, 2010

THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 1 REVIEW



  Zombies have finally made their way onto our television sets. The Walking Dead gave horror fans something to be excited about after Halloween. Too bad it couldn’t continue more into December. Oh well, now that season one is over it is time for a quick review in case you missed my weekly random thoughts on the episodes.
  I am not too familiar with the comic, so a lot of the show was new to me. Obviously it is about zombies, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. There are two things that stuck out. One is how many really emotional moments the characters go through, and the other is obviously the zombies. One thing that can’t be missed in each episode is the emotional moments. The show really wants the audience to feel sorry for the characters, and they use that sorrow to get the audience to connect with the characters. From the moment Morgan looks through the rifle at his zombie wife deciding whether to kill her or not, to Rick reuniting with his family. From having to watch Amy die, come back a zombie, and then die again, to having to leave Jim on the side of the road. I quickly learned that this show just isn’t about killing zombies, and zombies killing people.
 While it may seem easy to connect to some of the aforementioned characters, there is also a chance to connect with even the more disliked characters. There is no disliked character with a bigger role than Shane. While Shane seems like he is trying to do what is best for everyone, he is too high tempered, a liar, and a cheater. However, the audience eventually finds out that Shane honestly tries to save Rick, so he isn’t as big a liar as he seems. He just falls in love with the wrong woman at the wrong time. Then there are the brothers Merle and Daryl. Both need some anger management classes, and distance themselves from the group with their racism. It is quite surprising that the show went as far as it did with some of the racism, but that is what happens when they can put a show on AMC, and not NBC. As foul-mouthed as Merle is, did he really deserve having to cut off his own hand? And Daryl, even though he is quick to want to put everyone out of their misery, the audience can still pull for him to find his brother (and ride off into the sunset).
  

  Now to my favorite part of the show: the zombies. In the first episode, there are zombies everywhere. The first zombie that the show displays is a little zombie girl, which is a good choice to kick things off. From there Rick finds zombies roaming the streets, a half bodied zombie crawling in the park, and a massive group of zombies in the city. As the episodes go by, the number of scenes with zombies starts to drop. It seems like the zombies start taking a back seat to the emotional moments. If you read my random thoughts on the episodes, you could probably tell I was somewhat annoyed by this. The emotional stuff is great, especially for TV, but the more zombies the better. Not only that, but it isn’t until the end of episode 4 that a zombie kills a person. Before that, they show zombies eating a horse, deer, and a rat. Disgusting yes, but it is not as fun as watching people and zombies fight it out.
  As far as the zombies themselves, they are really well done. The half bodied zombie is a nice touch. Then there is the woman zombie in the building with its mouth all messed up. That is a freaky looking zombie right there. Besides their looks, there is the interesting possibility of the zombies still having some intelligence, or memories. For example, Morgan’s zombie wife actually walks up to the door, and tries to open it. Another example is when the zombies are trying to break into the department store, and the one zombie is trying to break the glass door with a brick. There are also some good zombie kills. There is a quick but awesome decapitation at the end of the final episode. Another favorite is when Rick takes an ax to a zombie’s head when they are walking the streets disguised as zombies. When the zombies actually are attacking the humans, instead of snacking on animals, it is good to see the zombies get to sink their teeth into them as well.
  The emotional moments, and awesome zombies combine to make a good first season of The Walking Dead. It will be interesting to see what they have in store for next season considering they may be using freelance writers. Will they stick with a heavy does of emotional moments, or lean in the direction of more zombie action? They could go in a completely different direction, which would be surprising after the success the show has already achieved. To finish this off, I leave you with some questions that hopefully will be answered next season:

-Where will the group of survivors go next?

-Will they find Merle, or will he find them? And where is his hand?

-When will Rick find out his wife and Shane slept together?

-What will be added to the zombie menu (reference random thoughts on episode 3)?

-What did the crazy doctor whisper in Rick’s ear?

-Will we see Morgan and his son again?

-Will Rick’s son ever finish his homework?

-What other characteristics will these zombies have?

-Will we get to see zombie Jim?

-Who will be the next member of the group to be bitten by zombies?

  HorrO

Check out my random thoughts on the episodes: Horror on TV 


2 comments:

  1. Good summary of the first six episodes (I have a hard time calling six episodes a season) of The Walking Dead, Horro. Most of your questions at the end of your review would be answered if you read the original comic book series that the TV show is based on. I only read the first six issues before watching the AMC series, to get a feel for how the series was going to be. I can tell you that the TV series has made some fairly significant changes already; in both plot and character. In the comic series, Shane and Rick have a fight over Shane’s infidelity with Rick’s wife and he leaves the group before they leave the camp. In an Entertainment Weekly interview with the show’s producer Frank Darabont, he explained that they felt there was a lot more that they wanted to do with the Rick/Lori/Shane triad, so they have kept Shane around longer than the comic series. Frank also went on to say that they would be keeping some of the more popular plot lines and characters from the comics series, but they would not be making an exact remake of it. The Walking Dead comics are unusual (especially for a horror comic) in that they concentrate on the characterization instead of the zombie-action-horror plot. I think this is why AMC thought it would work well as a Television series, as character drama is what TV has done best since its earliest days. Horror fans looking for zombie-action-gore will most likely grow impatient with some episodes of the TV series, as you already seemed to have been. I like The Walking Dead show more than the comics, so I won’t be reading any more of the comics, but I will be watching the show when it returns next year.

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  2. Fritz: thanks for the great insight to the comic. Like I mentioned, I haven't read the comic so everything is new to me. I like not knowing what is going to happen. When I wrote those questions, I kind of figured some of them would be answered in the comics, while other questions were just for the fun of it. I have had the conversation about the drama of the series with people on twitter. They told me the same as you have, that the series focuses on the characters, not the zombies. I completely agree that the show is good for tv because of the drama. If it was zombie killings the entire show, it wouldn't survive a minute. Personally, I like the zombies as you can see, but I will stick with the show. It was really great even with all the emotional stuff. Like you said, it may lose some fans that just want the zombie kills. Again, thanks for taking the time to comment, and hopefully we can talk soon, or at least during season 2.

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