Kirkman’s Walking Dead comic sucks. I sat down and plowed through all of the issues to date, and it’s just a train wreck in terms of storytelling and characterization. But who can really say no to a zombie apocalypse roadtrip epic? That’s what keeps the readers riveted, I think. It’s just such a goddamned good idea and, even on the worst pages where you need to be tortured Clockwork Orange style to stay awake, the promise of a good story shines through.
When I first heard that a TV series was on the way, my heart sank. I’m a post-apocalypse nut, but I’ve watched the genre falter horribly on television. Logan’s Run The Series, Planet of the Apes The Series, both Battlestar Galactica’s, the second season of War of the Worlds, Jeremiah, Jericho… All the greats. And all deeply flawed. Some have more gravitas than the others, but all of them, in the end, are sad fuck ups. Even though they’ve fed my post-apocalypse addiction, they’ve always let me down.
But Walking Dead had a lot going for it. These days, AMC can do no wrong. And the crew behind it not only know how to tell a good story, but they’ve proven in the past that they know exactly the right temperature for boiling shit. I mean, hell, Darabont made Young Indiana Jones watchable. Sorta.
Unable to contain myself, I turned to piracy when the review copy of the pilot episode leaked a couple weeks ago. It was one of those midnight downloads where I had work the next morning but decided to fuck that concern, get some coffee going, and wait for the download like a kid listening for Santa on the roof.
Within one minute, I was sold. In those first few minutes, our main character – Rick Grimes – is a richer, more likable person than in the entire comic series. Translating characters from comic to screen is always difficult, and always requires a certain finesse, but they all came shining through in the pilot episode. They were all perfectly done, even though we only see the bulk of them in a last minute cameo as Rick makes his way to Atlanta.
I actually watched it again as soon as it was done. That’s how much of a sad loser I am. But it deserved a second viewing because – seriously – it was the best hour of TV I’ve seen in a long time. And no punches are pulled… The zombie makeup is off the chain, the way they handled the story is nothing short of breathtaking, and the tough scenes are tough… There aren’t any cheap scares, either. That’s what really wins my heart over. This is all about the classic lurking horror of a zombie apocalypse. Repulsive monsters who move just slightly too fast, and are pitiless and inhumane in every way, and yet inspire pity and humanity in both the characters and the audience. It taps into the vein that Romero mastered long ago – we are the zombies.
The official premiere is on Halloween. Six episodes. It should be a beautiful ride and, if they can maintain what they did in the first episode, then we finally have a decent post apocalypse show we can enjoy.
Don’t miss it!
Comments are closed.