Rather than have another assaultive post like yesterday, as promised, I want to talk a little about The Walking Dead. For those VERY FEW who are not in the know, The Walking Dead is a new AMC series dealing with a post-apocalyptic scenario where, surprise, surprise, there’s a zombie outbreak. The series is based off the popular black and white comic (I feel the need to point that out, mostly to point out its low production value), also titled, The Walking Dead. What makes The Walking Dead storyline stand out from other zombie stories is not an easy thing to sum up. There have been stories dealing with the aftermath of the outbreak, notably, World War Z, Day of the Dead, even a webcomic I recently discovered titled The Zombie Hunters. It’s also not wholly singular that main characters get snuffed out fairly often. I actually think most horror/thrillers have picked up on that meme. “Oh, the hero can’t die, so I know…oh, he’s dead.” The thing that really sets it apart is the actual story. The Walking Dead’s creator, Robert Kirkman, wanted to write a story about humans in an extreme situation. People pushed to their limit. He even as much said that the title doesn’t refer to the zombies. It refers to the survivors. I’m not breaking new ground here, I’ve read other reviews pointing this out. What sets it apart for me, is the fact that not only does the story revolve around the survivors and not focus on zombie attacks 24/7, it really conveys human weakness (no, I’m not going to get into another rant about vulnerability) and portrays how I REALLY think people would act in this situation. It really thins the curtain for me.
Now I was going to wait until a few more episodes were out to speak about the differences between the comic series and the TV series, but three have been out, and I think it’s enough for me to make a few decisions. And just to make sure no one gets their dander up, SPOILER ALERT. I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH THAT YOU SHOULD STOP READING IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FIRST THREE EPISODES AND PLAN TO. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK, LAMERS. IF YOU HAVEN’T, GO WATCH THEM AND COME BACK. WE’LL WAIT. First of all, cinematography is good, it’s generally agreed the soundtrack is LAME and the casting is SOLID. I mean really solid. Lennie James as Morgan was also a nice treat. I really like that guy. They did an excellent job and I have very little complaints. They made it very clear that even die hard followers of the comic will have a few surprises, but they are sticking pretty close to the spirit of the book and the general storyline. So far, that part I’m also pleased with. Now. They right away made it clear that this will not be a gore fest. The makeup and special effects are good. This is good. But will lose viewers. I think they’re going to have to gore it up a little. Not for the fans’ sake, but actually for ratings sake. Which makes me sad, but it’s a fact. Some people are in it to see some people get et’ up. A few complaints that I have. T-dog? Really? Am I the only one who seems to think that’s a bit cliche’ of a name for the black guy? Yes, I know there are people who still use 90s colloquialisms. But….ehhhhhh. It lost me a bit. Also, I was a bit worried that the actor playing Rick, Andrew Lincoln, might be TOO tough. He saved it for me at the end of the first episode (“I’m sorry this happened to you.”), but sometimes I worry if he’ll be able to portray a sympathetic or more important, empathetic character. I’ll reserve judgment on that a bit, he’s doing a good job, but it’s something to look for. Also, I wasn’t thrilled with the second episode, but I read they were trying a “thing” where the first three are very different from each other and I appreciated that a bit. The first episode was all setup and establishing a world, the second was more action, the third was all drama. I can handle that. And lastly, I’ll make another spoiler. IF YOU DO NOT READ THE COMIC, STOP READING. I’M SERIOUS. DON’T BLAME ME IF YOU READ SOMETHING YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW YET. THIS MEANS YOU. One thing I do worry about is that the HEAVY stuff (the prisoners, death of Lori and Judith, the rape of Michonne, the cannibals), not so much will be cut out, but I could see it being either a) downplayed or b)somehow turned comical. I don’t know why I can see that, but especially with the prisoners and the cannibals. It bordered on it in the comic. The death of Lori and Judith is going to be a BIG hullabaloo. I guarantee it. That’s a slope I’m glad I’m not on. Either you’ll have fans in an uproar because they don’t show it or lessen the blow immensely or you’ll have parents and the Right Brigade up in arms over showing something that’s horrible. You can’t win that one. Also, just to be a SUPER ANNOYING nerd, am I the only one who sees Dwight ending up being the Governor? It seems obvious to me. Maybe they’ll surprise me. I hope so, because that’s a bit too…clever. Okay, back to the non-nerds. OKAY, UNTIMES, SUPER NERDY SPOILER OVER.
So, what’s my take? I really think this could be one of the best series’ ever put on television. It has the potential and has the tools. Keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully, they don’t take a right turn into Survival of the Deadville. Ugh. So bad. SO bad.