Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Right, Fred's Dead: The Walking Dead TV Show
Considering how pathetically bad festive TV has been (with only Dr Who being of any interest and the new Lucas/Williams show being woefully bad), I was lucky to have a disc with the first series of The Walking Dead series to watch.
Although not a huge zombie fan, there's something about the modern post-Romero zombie that has always had an effect on me. I think that as most such tales focus on a small band of survivors staving off an onslaught of ravenous cannibalistic reanimated corpses, it's the tension built from facing death literally stalking you that gives zombies their appeal.
I started following The Walking Dead comic with the first trade makes and have just read the 13th. Like many, I loved director Frank Darabont's adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption and seem to be the only person alive to not hate his Green Mile: so how does his adaptation of the comic fare?
Well, it starts off incredibly faithful before branching out to follow its own story while still parallelling the plot of the comics. The first series shorts just short of the first six issues, roughly, anddeviates enough to be original but still honoring its roots. The first episode is utterly silent at first as we follow Rick Grimes into the post-zombie world but gradually dialogue is introduced as he starts to meet fellow survivors.
I like Andrew Lincoln, but he looks nothing like Rick Grimes (the rest of the cast looked pretty much spot on to their comic counterparts, though the TV Andrea is maybe a decade too old): fortunately, he manages to nail the character pretty well, as do his regular cast mates. The inclusion of a larger band of survivors means there's more to lose to the zombies, who are a more potent threat than in the comic. One or two are no great threat, especially as they loll about fairly slowly until they start bearing down on you, when they DO become a threat, especially when assembled into hordes. Some of the zombie killing would definitely rate an 18 at the cinema and are probably the bloodiest effects I've seen on TV, yet still manage to avoid being gratuitous.
There are some really great moments in the series and the acting, direction and great effects more than compensate for the show's few missteps. Roll on (the 13-episode) Season Two!