Before I went on vacation, I was all, “Scarina, you’re going to take a break from your blog. You don’t want to get burned out.” But then I got to my mom’s house and she had a tape of the first episode of The Walking Dead. My head flew off my body like a balloon. I don’t have cable where I live so I figured that I would have to wait for it to pop up on Netflix. But, my good mommy has agreed to tape the episodes for me and send me the tapes when they’re full. So my posting may be sporadic but at least I get to see them at all.
I was so excited when I first read about the series, a couple of months ago in Rue Morgue magazine. you should be too, because there are some pretty prominent people attached to this project. Frank Darabont is directing. You know him from The Mist, The Blob, and, one of my favorite Nightmare on Elm Street movies, #3 Dream Warriors. Greg Nicotero is the effects supervisor. You should remember him from Diary of the Dead, The Mist, and Piranha 3D.
Plus, there’s the fact that it’s based on the amazing comic by Robert Kirkman.
The first episode is “Days Gone Bye” and establishes the rules of the universe.
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was shot after a high-speed chase and left in a hospital.
He wakes up and realizes that he’s been 28 Days Latered. Might I add that Andrew Lincoln is hot in a Viggo Mortenson kind of way. The episode is basically about him trying to get home and find his wife, Lori, and son, Carl.
Sadly, when he gets home he finds it empty. He meets Morgan Jones and his son, Duane. Morgan and Duane have been holed up in one of Rick’s neighbor’s houses. They explain the rules of the new world.
1. Light and noise attract the zombies.
2. They’re more active after dark.
3. Bites infect you with their disease and you die, then become one of them.
Rick decides to try to find his wife and son in Atlanta, where a refugee camp has been set up. Plus, the CDC is there. He leaves Morgan and Duane behind and takes a squad car to Atlanta. He briefly makes contact with some survivors via the radio but there’s too much static. Turns out his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son, Carl (Chandler Riggs) are there. So is his best friend, Shane (Jon Bernthal). Also; he is totally macking on Lori. I want to feel bad for Lori because I know that this is a crisis, people lose their heads in desperate situations, and she probably thinks that Rick is dead. It still seems pretty slimy though.
Rick runs out of gas but gains a horse. There’s something so awesome about him riding up the highway on a horse. Sadly, in a moment of supreme newbie foolishness, he allows himself to get surrounded by hordes of zombies. I’d like to add a fourth rule:
4. They will eat animals (Including your horse).
The episode ends with Rick trapped in a tank. Yes, a tank. I guess some of the National Guard was able to get to Atlanta. But there’s hope, because the radio starts to crackle and someone says, “Hey, dummy.”
Can I say how much I love AMC for making this show? First they give me Mad Men, and now they give me this.
The show is full of realistic gore, which is somehow scarier than if it were drenched in blood. Plus, there’s an attention to detail that I love and appreciate. When Rick wakes up the flowers that Shane got him are all crumpled and brown. The bodies that are covered in shrouds in the hospital parking lot are covered in flies. This seems to be a detail that is missed in a lot of the scary movies I’ve seen. Dead things attract flies and I bet they’d be everywhere in the Georgia heat.
There are also some genuinely creepy moments. There’s this amazing old lady corpse that has no skin from the neck down. Also, Rick finds a door barred shot in the hospital that says “Don’t Open Dead Inside.” The creepiest, whitest hands creep out through the crack of the door.
The music is understated and sad, like a lament for humanity.
What I really like, though, are that there are moments of levity interspersed with the sadness. Just like real life.
Seriously, this series is one of the smartest, and well-crafted shows I’ve seen on t.v. in a long, long time. Plus, I love that zombies are getting the attention they deserve. If only zombies could eat Edward and Bella.