Last night AMC broadcast the first episode of The Walking Dead, directed by Frank Darabont and based on the Image comic created by Robert Kirkman. It’s the first mainstream television series to revolve around zombies and one of the most serious takes on the subject matter you’ll ever view. No surprise, mind you, seeing as the comic book is the best interpretation of zombies you’ll come across. A bold statement, to be sure, especially in a world that reveres the work of George Romero, the Godfather of the undead. But that’s just how good Kirkman’s series is.
I’ve been reading The Walking Dead almost from the beginning and was justifiably excited upon hearing that it would be coming to life, courtesy of Frank Darabont. If you don’t know the name off the top of your head, he’s the brilliant director behind The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist. A pretty spectacular pedigree and one that lends itself to The Walking Dead brilliantly. You see, while the comic book may have it’s basis in horror, there’s more it than blood and guts. There’s quiet moments between the revolving cast of characters where death’s place is taken by dialogue. Darabont has proven time and time again that he can handle both effortlessly.
With last night’s premiere episode, he did it again. The main character of Rick, played surehandidly by Andrew Lincoln, is our guide through a world that’s suddenly become overrun by zombies. We don’t know why or how (and those who want that info will surely be dissapointed – this isn’t a series about why, it’s about what do we do now). It’s his experiences that draw us in as he discovers what’s happening and as the show progresses it will be Rick that root for. And while there are moments where guns are drawn and the brains of zombies go flying, there are also quiet and chilling moments when our hero chances upon a few survivors. Those are the ones that stick with you
There’s more where The Walking Dead came from. We’re guranteed 6 episodes of a first season, and with the strong ratings the show scored on Halloween night (5.3 million viewers, the most for an AMC original series), we’re bound to see the already green lit Season 2. Will viewers be patient enough to let the television series unfold the way readers have been with the comic book? I’m really not sure. TV has never been about patience, has it? But here’s hoping, because it’s about time the dead got their due on television.