To say that I've been looking forward to The Walking Dead is a shambling hulk of a flesh-seeking understatement. I'm a longtime fan of the Robert Kirkman comic series on which the show is based, and I had enormously high hopes for last night's premiere.
Happily, I wasn't disappointed. Even if you hate zombie movies, here's why you should be watching the show:
It looks great. No cheap horror-flick visuals here, this is full-fledged big-budget AMC cinematography, and some of the scenes are stunning. The visual of our protagonist Rick riding his horse on an empty street into zombie-desecrated Atlanta trying to escape the city while the side of the highway is clogged with jammed-up, abandoned vehicles is particularly amazing. The zombie FX is top-notch, too, for those with discerning taste in decomposition.
It's a human story as much as it is a zombie story. This is what's going to make this series shine: the fact that it isn't just about jumping at every creepy noise or splattering the screen with gore. Yes, there will be scenes like that, but this is a story about the people trying to survive. From the moment Rick is dropped into this fully formed apocalyptic madness (via wakening alone in a hospital after the outbreak has occurred), you're brought along with him as he struggles to make sense of what's going on. The fragile humanity displayed by the first living people he meets is handled beautifully, and if you can watch a scene of a young boy sobbing in his dad's arms while his undead mother rattles the doorknob without choking up (and having your hair stand on end), you're made of STONE, my friend.
There's a lot of story to go. By the end of the first episode we know Rick's wife and son are alive. We know Rick's former deputy buddy is with them, and that he's making the moves on Rick's wife. We know Rick is left in a seemingly hopeless situation, trapped in a tank and surrounded by an entire city of zombies. And we know someone's out there watching him, as evidenced by the crackling voice that came over the radio: "Hey, dumbass! Comfy in there?"
What's going to happen next? Man, I don't know about you, but I'll be glued to the set next Sunday night to find out.
Image via AMC