Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quick Review: The Walking Dead Episode 1

I finally got to see the first episode of The Walking Dead TV show. I was supposed to go to a bar in Annapolis to see the premiere episode on Halloween night but an eye injury prevent me from attending. Since we don't have cable and Hulu isn't hosting the episodes, I've plunked down some money at Amazon (where I had a video-on-demand gift certificate) to get the whole season. The first season is only six episodes long. Tonight they are airing episode three, so I definitely need to do some catching up. Anyway, enough excuses, onto a quick review.

Having read the first trade paperback (reviewed here), I was already familiar the story. For those of you who don't know, police officer Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to find the dead have returned to life and are ravaging his small Georgia home town. But it's not just his home, the zombie plague is apparently everywhere. He finds this out from a father and son who take him in and fill him in on what is going on. Believing his wife and son to be in Atlanta, he heads out in search of them.

The TV show is fairly consistent with the comic so far. Some minor changes are made for dramatic effect. The storytelling is still deadly earnest and grim to the core. Director and writer Frank Darabont (who also directed The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist) does a great job bringing the comic to life (pun intended) and telling the story in an exciting, tense way. The actors are all good, though Andrew Lincoln as Rick carries the show for the first episode. You do get to meet his wife and some other survivors for a few scenes, but so far it's mostly Rick going to Atlanta. I am looking forward to future episodes if they are all this good.

The gore is pretty bad as you would expect from the source material. The zombies are horrible-looking for the most part. Some seem like they are more recently turned and not decayed with organs hanging out. One striking thing is when zombies are shot with guns. The effects definitely look like CGI, but that may be a good thing. If they were too realistic, it would be unbelievably grim to watch. The show is rated TV-14 and I definitely would not recommend it for younger viewers.

Later on I may provide a review or feedback about watching through Amazon's video on demand player once I've had more experience with it. Here's what the player looks like in case you can't wait:

click on the image to see it larger

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