Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Walking Dead Season 1 - Zombie TV show Review

Finally got around to watching the last 2 episodes of The Walking Dead.  Everyone and I mean everyone raved about this show.  A long time ago I saw half the first episode, thought it totally sucked and shelved the series.  Picking it up on DVD I was happily surprised to see the show improves dramatically after the first episode, heck even the last third of the first episode was ace.

The Walking Dead starts with Deputy Rick Grimes being wounded while pursuing a criminal.  He wakes up an indeterminate time later in a deserted Hospital.  Wandering the empty hall ways he comes across signs of struggle, and hundreds of body bags.  Heading out into the Town he soon finds out that while he was laying in a coma zombie apocalypse happened.  Determined to find his wife and child he heads towards Atlanta where he heard that survivors had escaped to.  That is all misinformation though and after a dramatic rescue he hooks up with a group of random people hiding out in the woods on the outskirts of Atlanta including by lucky coincidence his wife and child.

Season 1 comprises six action packed episodes.  Based on the comic book of the same name I expected there would be no surprises but the series soon goes off on a different tangent to that of the comic.  Each episode feels self contained though feeds into the greater plot, all end on cliff hangers except rather disappointingly the last episode of the season which I had thought would make most sense to have a cliff hanger ending.

The comic was known for dweling on the interactions between the humans with the zombies taking a back seat.  The same happens here to a degree, though due to the quality of a lot of the acting of the main characters it is actually interesting whereas the dialogue in the comic books sometimes got really boring. A fantastic thing about this series is that all the characters look like their comic counterparts and feel like the characters from that really brought to life. Andrew Lincoln is superb as Rick, while his best friend Shane Walsh (played by Jon Bernthal) is a great character, with his descent into evil very slowly and subtlety hinted at.  A lot of the secondary characters are interchangeable, especially the female characters for some reason.  Other highlights include Norman Reedus as the redneck Daryl Dixon, and a late entry of Noah Emmerich whose role as a main character in episode 6 steals the show for that episode.

I was worried that there wouldn't be much plot over surviving the apocalypse but there is a general outline for each episode, whether it be heading to a City to retrieve some dropped equipment, searching for somewhere safe to stay or formulating a plan to escape a siege situation.  The last episode in particular was a real highlight going off on a complete tangent from the comic but being awesome with some cool twists setting up plot points for later seasons.

CGI is used lots and lots to simulate zombie deaths and while it is kinda obvious at times it still leads to some cool action.  The zombies all look ace, and are of the Romero slow shambling type, and a great score by Bear McCreary with excellent direction and no scrimping on set design.  I am really looking forward to the continuing adventures of this band of survivors.  Get past the first very generic half of episode 1 and immerse yourself in quality zombie entertainment.


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