Walking Dead: Season 1 Review

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I came late to the party on this one.  I remembered seeing the previews for the show, but never got the chance to see it. Recently, I watched all six episodes of season 1 back to back and I am so glad I did. Walking Dead is a AMC television series about a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse. It is based on a graphic novel and season 2 is being filmed now and is set to premier in October.

When I first began watching the series, I was pleased that AMC kept the gory nature of zombie movies. Believe me when I say there will be blood, gore, and death, but it is done well and fits with the story so it is not gore for gores sake.

The season begins in a small town outside of Atlanta, and by the way, it is shot on location there. The story follows the town sheriff as he wakes up in a hospital after being shot in the line of duty to find blood and bodies everywhere. Soon he discovers some of those bodies are walking and after being saved by a manand his son he learns the recently dead have begun walking.

Since this show is based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel I knew, right away the story would be decent. While it is true the survival horror of zombies has been done a lot recently, so far, this television adaptation has been excellent. The beginning visuals of the hospital with blood splattered everywhere to the rows of bodies scattered across the streets. Even when it came to killing a zombie the action is brutal with clear headshots and lots of blood, brains and guts.

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The story immediately begins exploring the human condition with the father and son duo knocking out County Sheriff Rick Grimes. They were not sure who he was and because of his bandage believed he may be infected.

These are slow-walker zombies and for those who read and watch a lot of zombie flicks you will be able to understand what these people are up against. While it is not clear exactly how the zombie outbreak began, we know that a bite or scratch can turn you within a day and you can return from the dead within hours. Now while the zombies are slow there are a ton of them and we see more swarm kills than anything else. Another great thing about the show is some of the zombies are badly decomposed with some even missing parts or half their body so it’s not just a ton of extras with make-up.

The father and son story is short and leaves open the possibility for them to meet up later. The sheriff meanwhile was desperate to find his wife and daughter. The story continues with Sheriff Grimes arriving in Atlanta and being overwhelmed by the amount of zombies and finding himself trapped.

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There are many great visuals in the show. From the empty streets of Atlanta to the swarm of zombies and the gruesome way they devoured a horse, this show does not pull any punches. The story makes sure to hit many common points in zombie movies like the father and son in which the father watched his wife die and turn. There is a great scene where the father has a clear shot to kill his now zombie wife, but cannot.

Grimes ends up being recused and discovers a small group of people held up in a department store. We quickly learn big cities are to be kept away from and we get to another big point in zombie stories, human survivors can be just as bad as the zombies can.

There are a lot of different character types in the show as well as races and nationalities and they do not always get along. We get to see how people lose hope and revert to their animalistic tendencies when faced with death and fighting to survive.

We also learn a little bit more about the zombies. These zombies cannot see very well, but can smell death and react to sound.  Shooting off guns just brings more of them so it adds a nice plot device. At one point, the group has to cover their scent and walk through the zombies to escape.

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With the group free, they meet up with a large group near a rock quarry and finally Grimes is reunited with his wife and son. Unfortunately, the peace is short lived as the group has to return to Atlanta for a left bag of guns and a person left behind. During the split, we see how the effects on the zombie attack has devastated families and we see some social advance redacted like the women being made to wash clothes while the men hunt.

There is a small amount of peace at the camp and then an attack happens. Another great thing about Walking Dead is people die. There were a few storylines you believed would continue only to find one or both persons dead the next episode. After the attack, it is decided that the group should leave and head for the CDC, but one of the men was bitten and we see how the disease attacks the body.

The story then slightly switches to that of a CDC doctor who has locked himself in the CDC while attempting to find a cure. Eventually the group arrives and the doctor lets them in. For a while there is peace as the CDC has food, water and power, but when questions on the outbreak are asked the group soon discovers it is worse than most of them thought.

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I don’t want to spoil the ending, but as you can guess there are not going to be many happy endings in this story. It is not clear how much of the story will focus on the outbreak itself or the character stories, but so far it is a decent mix of both. I at no point found the story boring or slow so the pacing is well done.

As said at the beginning of this article, season two is filming now and will be released in October. Overall, Walking Dead is a great series and if you like zombies or survival horror, this does it extremely well.

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