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'Mom, why isn't Grandma talking anymore and why is she trying to eat fluffy?'
The Walking Dead Season 1 (DVD)
Member Name: Jojoborne
The Walking Dead Season 1 (DVD)
Advantages: Good actors. Good script. Good direction.
Disadvantages: None for me but the gore may put some people off
I have had The Walking Dead season one for over a year now and have only just gotten around to watching it due to the huge backlog of other shows I have been watching.
The show originally aired in 2010 on the American channel AMC. It has gained a huge cult following and is now currently airing the third season.
Season one was like a pilot that was stretched into a whole mini-series of six episodes. Seasons two and three have since moved to the usual thirteen episode format so prominent since the writer's strikes.
I have always been a fan of zombie movies but in particular the George A Romero offerings as they at least contained a storyline and plot instead of just zombie bashing gore like some of the older titles; 'Zombie Flesh eaters' springs to mind.
The Walking Dead does contain a lot of gore and zombie bashing but it is built on necessity to aiding the plot rather than gratuitous, violent purpose.The idea is taken from the original graphic novels and comics of the same name and is directed by Frank Darabont. I'm a Darabont fan as he has bought to film a number of Stephen King books and King is one of my favourite authors. Darabont directed the huge cult hit 'Shawshank Redemption' and 'The Green Mile'; both King books. He also directed 'The Mist', which was atrocious or at least it was in my eyes. So when I heard he was directing the Walking Dead I was pleased but also a little wary and really hoped it would be more Shawshank than Mist.I wasn't to be disappointed. The series is as classy and atmospheric as the brilliant comic series. I'll talk about the direction and look of the series in a little while, but first let's take a look at the premise.
Rick Grimes, played by the impressive Andrew Lincoln, is a small town sheriff's deputy who was shot on the job. He wakes up in the local hospital to find the place is empty and full of dead bodies. He staggers around until he comes to a door with a crudely made sign attached to it. The sign reads 'Do Not Open, Dead Inside'. The door is padlocked and a wooden beam has been placed across it. The door begins to move and zombie like hands try to force it open. Rick manages to find his way home and discovers that his wife and son are gone. He is encouraged by the fact that the family photo albums and all their clothes are gone and he feels sure they have made it out safely. He encounters a man called Morgan and his son Duane. They tell him about 'The Walkers', which are basically the walking dead. They also tell him about a place called the 'CDC', which Morgan says is a safe haven, run by the army and the government. He says the CDC is working on a cure. Rick tells Morgan that he has to find his wife and child. Meanwhile, Ricks wife and child are holed up in camp with a group of survivors, including Rick's best friend Shane, played by Jon Bernthal, who is now romantically involved with Rick's wife Lori, played by Sarah Wayne Callies from Prison Break fame. One of the group, a young Korean named Glenn, helps Rick in the city and he meets up with a scout group from the camp. What will happen when Rick gets back to camp and sees his wife and child? Will they find their way to the CDC? How did the outbreak start? Can it be reversed? You will have to watch to find out.
My additional Thoughts
The Walking Dead is a brilliant TV series and I am glad to say that it takes the subject seriously. This could so easily have ended up a 'Zombieland' or tried to become a cult hit by being funny and too over-the -top. As I said it does take it seriously and the result is a great story that is involving and interesting to follow. If you think you've seen every angle on the zombie story then think again. OK, admittedly it does have the outbreak story and the end of the world as we know it plot, but it is a lot more than that in that it strips down the layers of each character and delves into their psyche. This gives us a much more personal involvement in the storyline and makes it easier to follow it or be sucked in.I think Andrew Lincoln is superb as Rick. He's an English actor but you wouldn't know it from his American accent as it doesn't seem put on in the slightest. He has that Viggo Mortensen look about him and you want him to succeed. Sarah Wayne Callies is instantly recognisable as Sara Tancredi from Prison Break and plays another brilliant role as Rick's wife Lori. She has that ability to appear vulnerable and steely-strong at the same time. Jon Bernthal plays the over-zealous Shane Walsh who is laden with guilt but still wants to lead and protect the group.There are a lot of unknown actors in this series but they all perform extremely well and when you watch it you will find that it is some of the lower profile characters that you will like best. I particularly like Glenn, who is played by Steven Yeun and brings that normality to the group in the fact that he doesn't hide his fear or his misgivings.
One of the surprises of season one for me was the Daryl Dixon character played by Norman Reedus. He is one of those characters that you love to hate and even if you hate him you know he is needed by the group. He plays the brother of Merl, who is played terrifically in episode one and two by Michael Rooker. They are a couple of redneck, racist white trash hicks that get up everyone's nose but I really began to like Daryl by the end of season one.Darabont's direction is really cool throughout and he manages to bring the comic's and graphic novels art to life. The make-up on the zombies is superb and there is not an abundance of CGI. Most of the blood and gore is done by special effects artists and they are superb. From the opening credits you know that is going to be stylish. It has that sepia type look that works really well with the empty streets and deserted towns. When the story moves to the city of Atlanta, the greys and graininess of the photography really helps give it that empty and scary edge.
The music throughout the series is also pretty cool and not just thrown in for the sake of it.I was a fan of Charles Adlard due to him working on the X-Files comic as an artist and even more so on the Walking Dead series so it was great to see the comic made into a TV series.I have just watched the first episode of season two and can't wait to see what happens. I will inevitably review that when I am done, so I hope it will be a favourable review like this one.The DVD box set contains a 'Making of Documentary', behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast and crew. It can be purchased quite cheaply now as paying a full box set price for six episodes is a bit much. At least season two and three can be justified in charging the standard price as they contain thirteen episodes.
All in all I would recommend The Walking Dead as a show with a difference. If you have previously thought of not watching it because the zombie theme put you off, then I would seriously consider because it is a well-made show that gets you involved and keeps you interested.Five stars out of five for me.
Summary: Can you survive in a world where the dead walk the earth?