The Walking Dead
(Episode 1) (7.5/10)
I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. First the early rumors from the States, then the massive adverts all around our underground stations, then we started to get bombarded by adverts on TV. FX clearly believe that this is going to be the next big thing on TV. And they’re not completely wrong…
There’s a lot to like and appreciate from this first episode and I am definitely going to mention all the things I love about it, but first, let me just talk about what I didn’t like, so that I can get it off my chest. Was it just me or the whole idea about somebody walking up in a deserted hospital, after a sort of coma to find out the world has been taken over by zombies is just absolutely identical to “28 days Later” by Danny Boyle? I was really shocked to find out similar it all felt (even the fact that Andrew Lincoln wakes up very very thirsty, just like Cillian Murphy did). I suppose the problem with doing anything about Zombies today is that we’ve seen so many of them over the years that the genre seems to be pretty exhausted.
Zombies are not as sexy as vampires, they don’t talk, most of the times they move pretty slowly and all they’re interested about is flesh. In other words, let’s face it: zombies are dead boring! Furthermore, after Shaun of the Dead it’s even harder to take them seriously.
(SPOILER ALERT) However “The walking Dead” does manage to bring back, not just the scary part of Zombies, but also that more poignant and sad side of them. Let’s all not forget who zombies are. They are first and foremost dead people, and not just anybody. They could very well be your recently deceased grandfather, or grandmother… or, like in this first episode, the recently deceased wife and mother. The scene where Lennie James tries unsuccessfully to shoot down his wife, is one of the highlights of the episode and one of the most heat-breaking. All of a sudden you can see the potential of a series like this. It might even became a sort of cross between Six Feet Under and A Zombie movie.
Technically, we are really into feature film territory here. There’s nothing that says TV to me, unless we consider TV like the more refined brother of cinema (at least when it comes to series like the West Wing, Six Feet Under, The Wire, 24, Dexter and so on), in which case, this is really like the best TV can be.
The photography is excellent, the camerawork really impressive and so are the special effects, the make up and the stunts.
I really loved how the music was really spare in this episode (this is actually a trade-mark on AMC, I’ve noticed). We are so used to hear music pretty much back to back in these sort of films, that it’s a big relief to find something so brave, competent and sure of its own merits that it refuses to fall into that usual trap of music overload.
The silence in those hospital corridors, along those empty streets, during those darkest nights, it all works perfectly and it enhances the eerie mood and uneasy feel that permeated the whole hour or however long this first episode was.
We’ve seen very little of all the other actors in the series, a part from our hero Andrew Lincoln and the already mentioned Lennie James. They are both very good indeed and I am looking forward to seeing where it all leads to and how their characters will evolve
So, to wrap it all up, though not completely original the series seems to walk through a path which is somehow fairly familiar and yet it is all so handsomely done that I really want to be patient and give it the benefit of the doubt. I shall definitely be watching the second episode and unless that is a complete disaster I’ll carry on till the end.
AMC has really put a lot of money in this series and it shows. The production values are all there on the screen. After their incredibly good work on series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad or Rubicon, they have all my respect and my trust. The least I can do for them is to give them an hour of each week for the next five weeks.
Looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.
Click here to read the review of EPISODE 2
Click here to read the review of EPISODE 3