Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Walking Dead (My take on the first two episodes)

The Walking Dead

There is a vast mythology of the zombie world. From the movies by George A. Romero to the new ones that frequent sometimes the theaters or the TV, there are a lot of stories to tell about the undead. But I think we had never had a TV series about them, but now Frank Darabont, director of films such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, delivers to us this TV version of the popular comic book series.

The series is far from original, as we have seen tons and tons of zombie films, but the premise develops enough to keep the viewer interested. Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimmes, who was shot in the shoulder and was rushed to the hospital, wakes up in his bed after an unspecified frame of time. But there is something in particular here: he wakes up in a world where chaos is the rule and the government doesn't have no say, humans have to trust their instincts in order to survive. And to survive what? A hungry horde of zombies that has taken over the world. Rick returns to his old house, just to find it empty, but this doesn't mean his family is dead. There is evidence they packed to leave, so he keeps his hopes up. He meets a father and a son, who tell him about refugee colony in Atlanta. The father and son decide to stay, but Rick, in the hopes to find his wife and kid, goes to Atlanta, not knowing what awaits him there: a massive amount of "walkers", and a group of survivors hiding in a store. Along with them, Rick will organize a plan to escape and reach the colony...
And that's up to episode 2...

As of now, the series is going pretty good. The series has enough excitement and adrenaline for those who wants a thrilling story, it has some powerful emotions, and the story, although light by now, promises to grow more complex by each episode. Of course, the series is not perfect, but as far as its going it is actually one of the best new series of this season.

The series is technically impressive. The effects and make up on the zombies are quite good, for a TV series at least. You know how there are some TV series that have some very crappy effects? Well, this is not the case. While the effects aren't as impressive as the ones you may see on a movie, they are impressive for a series. And the make up on all the zombies is also quite convincing too. And all the gore and blood we get they are realistic enough to gross out the viewer. They look real.

The direction on these episodes was very good, especially from the pilot, from Frank Darabont, who is a professional film director, so it was to expect, but in the second episode it is also pretty good. The directors finely create their world, making everything look as realistic as possible despite is sci-fi plot, capturing every emotion of the characters and directing their actors in a competent way, making the story suspenseful as well as emotional, brining the world of The Walking Dead to life. The direction is possibly one of the best aspects, as it is what makes the story intriguing in the visual format.

The series is based on a very popular comic book series of the same title. I have to say before I go on with this point that I haven't read the comics, so I can't really compare the series with the source material, but still I can talk some about the writing. Its not a perfect screenplay, but its good nonetheless. Some of the dialogues seem out of place sometimes, and the situations may rank over preposterous even for its fantasy premise, but the screenplay is concise and does everything it tries to do. As for the characters, I think that in a TV show they don't need to be fully developed at its beginning, as the story keeps moving so will the characters, so their slow development is not a real problem. And there are a few that are interesting, like the father in the pilot. The man was a very interesting character, with the actor playing his part perfectly, delivering the emotions needed for his character. But there are a couple of these characters which are really dull or annoying. Glenn, who Rick meets in the second episode, is quite annoying, as well as some of the other characters he meets in that episode. His wife, played by Sarah Wayne Callies (Sara in Prison Break, if you were wondering), actually angers me. We don't know how much time has passed since Rick got injured, but I'm sure that it hasn't been over a year, and considering that she beliefs he's dead, in that time I'm sure a wife wouldn't get involved with her husband's best friend right? I found that really annoying and it made me angry. But there are other points in the show that are quite interesting, as it may present a more realistic view to the zombie world. In the old movies you never get something like "Don't shoot, you'll attract them", but if you take this into consideration it makes perfect sense.

The acting, well, it is not really remarkable, but it is decent. As I said, the father in the first episode does quite a great job with his character, and in the second episode that crazy old racist also does a good job too. But for the rest of the cast they aren't really outstanding, but then again they aren't bad. They are quite decent and good.

Episode one, the pilot, is a slow moving one, but it is also a more emotional episode than number two. But number two is much more intriguing and exciting. So which of the two is better? It is hard to tell, but probably I'll go with... damn, it is hard. Let's stay with I enjoyed better the second one, but probably the first is better. The pilot has more emotional power, and it draws us into this zombie ruled world, while the second one delivers the action and entertainment. The only thing I can be sure about is that both these episodes were great, and if the season continues this way, it will make a hell of a season.

But I just can't shake off the feeling of this series being one of those like Smallville or Heroes which have a great start, but they then start going downhill. I hope I'm wrong, because by now I really like the series for the two episodes we have, but its just a feeling I get... I don't know, I just hope the series improves. Anyway, by now it is going smoothly good.
We'll have to wait and see for the rest of the season...


  1. I have seen part of one episode, but unfortunately I just don't have the time to dedicate to this right now. I am thinking I can pick up the whole season some time down the road and watch it on DVD. Great analysis.

  2. Very interesting.
    I haven't seen these and probably won't seeing as I don't have a TV and I'm just not a fan of Zombie themed works. Still I enjoyed reading about it, great work!