Zombies trudge on television in "The Walking Dead"
Zombies invaded the households of 5.3 million viewers this past Halloween weekend with the premiere of the new AMC original series, "The Walking Dead." Three-time Academy Award nominee, Frank Darabot (The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption), developed and executive produced "The Walking Dead," a show about the aftermath of a zombie epidemic.
The 90-minute premiere episode introduced Rick Grimes, a county sheriff who was shot on the job and goes into a coma. He wakes up weeks later to find himself in a world that's been taken over by zombies. The zombies, once shown, are grotesque and disturbing. Make-up artist Greg Nicotero, whose repertoire of work include films "Kill Bill" and "From Dusk Till Dawn," is responsible for the make-up effects to make the zombies look as disgustingly good as they do.
The only other people Rick comes in contact with after awakening from his coma are a father and son, Morgan (Lennie James) and Duane (Adrian Kali Turner) Jones.
Morgan has lost his wife, who has become a zombie, and protects Duane as best he can.
Much like the zombies in "The Walking Dead," the show itself may have come off as slow-paced. The plot developed at such rate that once you realize that the show is nearing the end, one might think that not much has happened. But in fact, we have witnessed the transformation of a normal world turned upside down, and the eerie feeling from seeing just how deserted human existence has become.
The emphasis on Rick's perplexed mindset as to what is going on, alongside the excellent cinematography, is where the brilliance lies. A protagonist from the beginning, you come to feel you know Rick and watch him in this terrible predicament. The shots of a destroyed city with bodies laying everywhere, and cars and homes abandoned, added to the sense of loneliness and unease. Unlike in a movie with a time restraint, "The Walking Dead" is allowed the ability to expand with time. It's a benefit that, as a series, it has more time to develop.
The show was gory at times, surprisingly emotional in others, and overall, left you with an appetite for more. If viewers tuned in wanting to see zombies attacking humans left and right, they may have been disappointed in the fact that such actions don't happen. The closest it got to any real suspense was at the end, with zombies surrounding a trapped Rick.
Instead of getting right to the gut-wrenching violence, much focus was on developing a storyline that will undoubtedly play out throughout the season. Morgan and Duane are coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, Rick is in search of his wife and son. All this drama will surely unfold; now throw in the whole zombie apocalypse storyline and the show is set for some good entertainment.
"The Walking Dead" is set to run for five more episodes this fall on AMC, and judging from the numbers, there is no reason why it won't be picked up for next year's lineup.