I congratulate AMC on being the only network, with the exception of ABC Family, to do Halloween right. I think they understand how to do quality programming better than networks with bigger budgets and audiences.
Last night was the premiere of their newest series, The Walking Dead. Based on the comic book series, it places a zombie apocalypse in Atlanta, Georgia, sparing New York this time. I haven't read any of the books, but fans seemed to be pleased that it featured scenes that mirrored those in the series. Some people saw parallels to Danny Boyle's 2002 film, 28 Days Later (also shown by AMC in October), mostly for the "wake up in an abandoned hospital" scene. At this point, there are many zombie movie tropes that can't be avoided, only improved.
We are introduced to Sheriff Rick Grimes at the beginning, searching for gas he encounters a young girl, dead. He has no choice but to shoot her. I found this scene weird given that we don't really know when this happened. Cut to Rick and his partner Shane having a conversation about the difference between men and women. This will become important later, and we learn that Rick is having problems with his wife Lori. Responding to a high speed pursuit, Rick is shot twice by two of the men and finds himself in the hospital. When he finally wakes up, he's alone in the abandoned hospital. Why do they leave people in the hospital in zombie movies? Is it like, hey, we're all going to die anyways so you might as well sleep it out! He makes his way out, after encountering zombies locked behind a door, and finally sees what has happened while he was unconscious. The scenes of him walking down the stairwell in the dark, with only a match to light his way, and walking through the dead bodies behind the hospital were especially creepy.
He makes his way back to an empty home, and breaks down calling out for Lori and their son Carl. Going back outside, he is hit in the head by a young boy named Duane who thought he was a zombie. Duane's father, Morgan, shoots a zombie that was about to attack Rick and asks him about his bandages before he passes out again. He wakes up with Morgan caring to his wounds, and he explains what has happened in the month that Rick has been in the hospital. Zombie Movie Trope #2: Someone always has to explain what happened. A car alarm goes off and Duane panics. Outside, a number of zombies stumble around and one even comes to the door and tries to open it. The zombie lady is Morgan's wife. The next morning Rick takes Morgan and Duane to the police station where they shower and arm themselves. I still don't understand why Morgan and his son didn't go with Rick, you always stay with a group! He gives him a walkie- talkie and tells him to turn it on every day at dawn.
Back at their hideout, Morgan practices his shooting, aiming at his former wife. This was heartbreaking to watch, especially because Duane knew what he was trying to do. Zombie Movie Trope #3: At some point, you have to kill someone you love. Returning back to the park, Rick sees the bottomless zombie again and tells her "I'm sorry this happened to you," before putting her out of her misery and shooting her. I have a feeling that after a while, he stops being sorry. Sending out a broadcast over his radio, he almost makes contacts with a group of survivors. Among them are his partner Shane, and his wife and son. While zombies have been terrorizing the streets, Shane saved Lori and Carl and apparently has been comforting Mrs. Grimes. So going back to the conversation at the beginning, how long had Rick and Lori been having problems? Did Shane know before Rick told him? Had Shane and Lori been knocking boots that whole time?
After he runs out of gas, Rick stops at a farm where he discovers a dead couple, another harsh reality of what happened while he was sleeping. So he decides to saddle up and takes a horse on his way to Atlanta. Once he makes it to the city, he spots a helicopter and decides to follow it. Never mind the fact that there were a bunch of cars on the other side of the highway leaving the city. He runs into a massive group of zombies, who pull him of the horse and swarm him as he tries to hide underneath a tank. Just as he was about to give up, he is dealing with fast zombies here, he climbs into the tank and shoots a dead soldier. Once the ringing in his ears stops, he hears a voice on the radio talking to him. "Hey you, dumbass. You in the tank. Cozy in there?"
As the zombies surround the tank like ants and eat that poor horse, how will Rick get out of there alive? I have high hopes for this series and hope there is just as much gore as there is drama. The blood looked a little too fake for me, but the zombie makeup was great. Can't say I'm all that interested in Shane and Lori, but Rick finding them, and finding out about them should be good. I would also like to see what happened with Morgan and Duane and their zombie wife/mother. Rick Grimes is no Don Draper, but who is? He's interesting enough but you're in a zombie apocalypse, don't apologize to the zombies they're trying to eat you! So, needless to say, The Walking Dead gets a full season pass for me.
Written by: Brittani