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THE WALKING DEAD (Series)

TV Series produced by AMC and directed by Frank Darabont

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Hopefully The Beginning of A True Zombie Epic Series!

  • Nov 2, 2010
Rating:
+4
One of my favorite comic book series currently is the horror-action series called “The Walking Dead” written by Robert Kirkham and illustrated in black and white by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. The series had a very ambitious, darkly brilliant premise that just went to push the envelope while maintaining sincerity with its character-driven approach. I truly believed that it out “Romero-ed” George Romero himself (yep I said it) in creating a zombie epic that just grabs one by the throat and never lets up until one actually passes out.

Well, when I heard about AMC upcoming plans for a live-action series, I was both excited and optimistic, but at the same time afraid that TV would ruin one of my favorite comic series. I was excited and optimistic since I know a series is the best bet for this premise to succeed and worried because the series is being made by AMC and not HBO or the other guys. Frank Darabont is at the show’s helm as producer and director and so I was more worried since his movies are a hit and a miss with me.

The following is my review of the 79 minute pilot movie that launches the first season of “The Walking Dead” and in no way does it reflect any of my feelings of the series that may develop with my future viewing.

                     

                   The Walking Dead Publicity Still

A sheriff’s deputy named Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up from a coma to find the hospital he is confined in deserted with dead bodies being loaded up a huge truck. Puzzled, Rick wanders around and finds that the small town he had served as a deputy has been deserted, and his own home seems all but abandoned. Frustrated, Rick stumbles upon a father (Lennie James) and son (Adrian Kali Turner) team holed up in a house nearby. Apparently, the whole town has been overrun by the ‘walking dead’ and everyone has fled to the larger cities for protection. Rick now sets his sights to Atlanta where he believes that his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) may have fled. But Atlanta is not the city that Rick had hoped to find, and coming there may not be a reunion but the end of his life….

I know what you are thinking…so is this series a watered down version of the comic series? Well, honestly it is too early to tell but it is pretty violent for a movie-pilot. Of course I am pretty sure that this series can never match the sheer dark appeal of the source material, but for a pilot movie, it is stunningly faithful to the comic series’ first storyline “Days Gone Bye” (this pilot has the same title). There are some differences in the script but Darabont keeps things on point with the source material (writer Robert Kirkham is present as consultant) and I was happy to see that this movie managed to expand on the father and son (Morgan and Duane) characters this early on and may have set up the groundwork for future development . The source material was a character-driven endeavor so this pilot seems to have established its footing as such.

         The Walking Dead Publicity Still

I am glad to report that this pilot actually carries a lot of the emotion in the comic series. I was so happy that the series seemed aimed to mimic the black and white approach of the source material by muting its colors, I thought it had the bleak and somewhat gloomy atmosphere that mimics the grittiness of the source material. For a premiere episode, it grabbed my interest and satisfied my needs as a fan of the material; it had enough blood and gore to keep me interested, but it never wallowed in its violence. The make up effects are very good as we see some pretty unnerving sequences, but I was a little turned off by the CGI blood. This pilot also had some added flavor but only time will tell whether it’ll be able to maintain its momentum, since it may mean that it showed its aces so soon. The comic series was successful because of the way it timed its bleak and unnerving mood and balanced out the light and blackness in its premise.

               


The acting was good. I loved that heart-breaking scene with Morgan Jones wanting to end the existence of his “zombie” wife; I have to say that this was a welcome addition to the storyline. Lori and Shane’s (Jon Bernthal) relationship appears to have shown its nature too soon that may ruin its future episodes but as I said, it is too early to speculate. I loved the set designs and they appear to have been ripped from the pages of the comic as the camp gave me a sense of nostalgia. Dale and Andrea (Jeffrey DeMann and Laurie Holden) already make appearances. Darabont is also to be commended that he made the characters immediately recognizable to the source material's fans--this is a sign of great casting and character designs.

For a pilot movie, I have to say, Darabont’s “The Walking Dead” has my attention. So do I think it will be as great as the comic series? Well, not really, but I am at least given more reason to be optimistic. But however, I am a realist, and I know this will divert some from its thrilling dark premise since it is on late night cable. On the bright side, I do feel that it will give the source material justice judging from this pilot movie. Now let’s hope that it can keep up the momentum, it'll surprise the devoted fans of the comic series and recruit more folks to love zombie epics.

Good Luck, Frank, may the zombies be with you...

Highly Recommended! [4 Out of 5 Stars]


                
 
 
Hopefully The Beginning of A True Zombie Epic Series! Hopefully The Beginning of A True Zombie Epic Series!

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November 24, 2010
Wonderful write up!!
November 24, 2010
Just the write up ?.... thought I was wonderful too :P
November 25, 2010
Bless your heart - you are wonderful too as usual!! LMAO Didn't want you to get tired of hearing it LOL I just luv ya Woo....
 
November 09, 2010
Great write-up to a stellar program. I hope they can preserve much of the lightning that captured in the first bottle of the premiere. They set the bar high, but I think they can do some great things with this show. I've only read the first graphic novel collection upon which the program is based, and I can say that it's very faithful.
November 09, 2010
Thanks! I became very optimistic after I saw this pilot movie. I'm trying to keep reasonable expectations, and I did like the 2nd episode. AMC may have itself a winner after all. I'll send you an invite to where all the WALKING DEAD graphic novel reviews are being posted--it is a comic book community that deals with mature content. :)
 
November 08, 2010
Excellent write up! Interesting, informative, and entertaining without being burdensome or revealing too much. :o) wishing you laughter
November 09, 2010
Thanks, Quinn! I appreciate the kind words :)
 
November 07, 2010
Oh hell yes!! pakman Im interested in this and I'm still trying to figure out how I didn't know about this one. Thanks for watching and reviewing my friend always a pleasure reading your reviews
November 09, 2010
Thanks, Keith! Like your reviews too. :)
 
November 03, 2010
I missed this. I'll have to watch out for the next airing.
November 03, 2010
If you have cable, it should be ondemand. :)
November 17, 2010
So how has the series been since you wrote this?
 
November 02, 2010
Excellent review. I saw this last night and was thoroughly impressed at how emotionally and frightening it was "The Walking Dead" has become one of my new must watch shows on network television.
November 03, 2010
Me too. There are only a few shows I watch on TV: Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, Supernatural and Nikita. This is now one of them.
 
November 02, 2010
Excellent critique dear William. Saw the previews for this series but didn't realize the comic connection! I agree, cable is able to get away with more mature content in the late hours than ever before. Props to AMC for doing it right.
November 03, 2010
Thanks, Jason. I am optimistic as to how they are going to play out this series.
December 30, 2010
Well, Jason, not sure if you followed the series, but I finally dropped a review for season one of THE WALKING DEAD.
December 31, 2010
Beautifully done William! I caught the first two episodes but fell out before the conclusion (no fault of the show so much as the usual too much to do, too little time excuse). Thanks for the link and Happy New Year my man!
December 31, 2010
I'll catch you later and here's the link when you have time: http://www.lunch.com/reviews/d/UserReview-Th...mic_Book_Series_is.html I need to run and will be back to full reviewing mode next week!
 
November 02, 2010
I loved it WP, excellent review of course. Now we all know it won't match the wonderful comic series [I am thinking of reviewing them] but it was really good for a live action series on AMC.
November 02, 2010
agreed, Alex. This was impressive for a TV series on cable. Thank goodness it stayed at a late time to keep its mature content.
November 02, 2010
so...you want me to cover the series episode per episode or wait till season one is over?
November 02, 2010
Can you imagine if it would have been on Showtime or HBO or something like that. Also you can do either WP and I will read it. You could bless us with an episode by episode review and then do a summery or something after the season is over. Or wait for the DVD release or what ever, what ever you choose I will read good Sir.
 
November 02, 2010
I haven't caught the source material so I came to it fresh and I have to say that I was impressed. Whether it's a success or not does remain to be seen. There's always the danger of something like this dissolving into a Stephen King mini-series.
November 02, 2010
I have to say I share those fears, Karen. I am impressed so far and I LOVED the comic series; while I am not expecting a full-on 100% faithful adaptation, I am hoping for at least a close 97% with its characterization intact. I know the violence may become toned down, but I wouldn't mind as long as its message and main concept remain solid.

Hey, did you know they originally asked George Romero to direct this series and he refused? The comic's writer is a HUGE fan of his.
November 07, 2010
Too bad Romero didn't take them up on it. Maybe he'll come in as a guest director later on. We can hope anyhow.
 
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More The Walking Dead Pilot Episode reviews
Quick Tip by . November 01, 2010
posted in The HuB
Full Review coming tomorrow evening. Pretty good start...
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William ()
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Based on the groundbreaking comic mini-series that became an international sensation, AMC's "The Walking Dead" takes the viewer to the depths of human error, the questions of morality and what humans would do to insure their survival.

Directed by Frank Darabont and produced by AMC, the series is set to air every Sunday at 10 pm starting Oct. 31, 2010
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Details

Original Air Date: Oct. 31, 2010
Description: Pilot Movie Episode
Genre: Horror

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