The Z Word

The Walking Dead bites back

It’s safe to say that ever since Comic-Con the world of geeks has been eagerly awaiting AMC’s new prime-time drama and for once in the history of modern television it isn’t about vampires!

Though the apple doesn’t fall too far from the genetically modified tree and we are given the chance to see another of the typical movie monsters on the small screen. Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s long running zombie comic The Walking Dead has finally arrived.

What a man to bring it to us! Darabont, who is known as the man behind the adaptation of everything in Stephen King’s expansive back catalogue gives us a stunning take on what the apocalypse holds though I doubt the reality would look this good.

I was slightly apprehensive at first about the casting of Andrew Lincoln as main man Rick Grimes, who is known for his turn in 20-something British sitcom This Life, but Scruffy and I quickly came to the consensus that he pulled it out of his oversize sheriffs’ hat. He has the screen presence needed to pull together an ensemble cast, a decent American accent, and a chiselled jaw never hurt anyone.

Coming in at over an hour the first episode kicks off the plot with sheriff Rick Grimes waking up to an empty hospital. It all sounds very 28 Days Later I know, but don’t worry there are no sprinting zombies in sight. Instead the zombies we do get are bloodied, dismembered, ice white, and of course sticking with the golden rule of zombies they are never referred to by the ‘z word’ but as ‘walkers’. Basically what this all means is they are fucking scary and very very cool. The clever thing about The Walking Dead is that you don’t actually see an abundance of zombies’ walkers, but the ones we do see, ironically, have personality. The first of the affected is a little girl, dragging a teddy, and missing half a jaw. Then she growls at us. Zombies growl now. Its touches like bones still in the sockets and minus all the flesh that will leave fans groaning for more (I couldn’t help myself) and make the show a must-see week after week. Sadly after the glacial pace of three episodes that’s only for another three weeks and at this rate the walkers will be eating themselves. Don’t get me wrong I love the show, but it takes its damn time to accomplish anything and if the characters are going to find secret things that only us comic readers are aware of then they will need to MOVE at some point in time.

The characters are another thing entirely. If you’ve read the comic then you will be aware of the fact that it’s heavily based on characters rather than plot. They don’t even say that much, though I’m not as scathing of the dialogue as Scruffy it’s not exactly mind boggling, but they have a lot of back-story which is important. The T.V show has decided to go and add extra people to an already bustling assortment of jack-asses. They need a bloody tour bus not a campervan. Having said this I do like the characters that are present and the cast are suited to the roles they play particularly Glenn and Shane, who has the slimy ‘I’ll do what I want’ attitude down to a tee. The show needs to keep going because the best characters will come into next season or probably when we are under threat of our own zombiepocalypse.

The Walking Dead is going to be massive and rightly so. The directing is artful and the photography spectacular. If you only watch two minutes of the show, which you won’t be able to do, then watch the two minutes where Rick rides a horse down the empty freeway into Atlanta. It’s haunting.

The imagery of the show is cunningly crafted to look like it has the budget of a film, or an HBO show and many will probably be shocked to find that it’s not by them. With The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad under their belts AMC are getting a roster to rival them.

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About sharpiemarks

I always assume I am cooler than anyone else in the room. View all posts by sharpiemarks

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