What’s it about?
The Walking Dead is set after the zombie apocalypse. Sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes and a small band of survivors fight to survive in a hostile world.
Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Sonequa Martin-Green, Emily Kinney, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Scott Wilson, Michael Cudlitz, Seth Gilliam, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden
An Introduction to The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead initially introduces us to sheriff’s deputy, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), all alone in a hospital bed after just waking from a coma. There’s nobody around, it seems… Rick decides to get up and go for a wander to shed some light on what’s going on.
The hospital is deserted, as are the roads outside. Everything looks almost derelict. Clearly, Rick has been unconscious for a good while and missed something significant while he was out – as it happens, the world that he knew has effectively gone to a special kind of hell.
Rick heads for home, concerned for his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son, Carl (Chandler Riggs). On approaching his neighborhood Rick’s heart sinks as he sees further signs of past chaos, abandoned homes, decay. The situation is starting to look very grim indeed.
What happened? Only the zombie apocalypse, or the “forthcoming zombie apocalypse” as fans of the genre refer to it. When people die, they are doomed to become ‘undead’, or the walking dead, mindlessly wandering and feeding on the living. Time to adjust, and fast!
The Walking Dead is based on Robert Kirkman’s comics, with the man himself actively involved in portraying his work on the small screen. Director and screen-writer Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) and legendary producer Gale Anne Hurd (The Terminator, Aliens, Falling Water) developed the show for TV and it confidently hits the ground running.
Unusually for TV, and to the credit of the network, The Walking Dead has been given a wide scope in its portrayal of Kirkman’s dystopian world. In fact, the show’s creators almost couldn’t believe their luck when their vision for the show was greenlit – no compromises! The gore in particular is easily the equal of R-rated horror films, thanks primarily to special effects make-up genius Greg Nicotero who started his career working on zombie master George A. Romero’s Day Of The Dead.
The horror genre dictates that no player is necessarily safe and if you’re expecting everything to turn out ok in the end, don’t hold your breath. This is especially true of zombie fiction, where doom reigns supreme by the very nature of an all-consuming world-wide plague. Traditionally, a person can only become infected by a zombie bite or scratch; The Walking Dead ups the ante as everyone has already been infected by the airbourne strain, the symptoms only manifesting after death.
As anyone is fair game, you’re in for quite a testing journey. Don’t get too attached to any one character as you may get burnt… or not. The Walking Dead offers moments of excitement, intensity and elation but is equally capable of metaphorically ripping out a viewer’s heart. As with Game Of Thrones, the program makers run the risk of losing a chunk of their audience (and sometimes do) when they sacrifice a beloved character, but they are just being true to the harsh realities that these shows portray. It still smarts though!
Highly recommended additional viewing is The Walking Dead’s companion program, Talking Dead, running after every episode from season 2 onwards. Presented by Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick, Talking Dead offers a welcome, light-hearted discussion on events that occured in the main show, with guest stars and behind-the-scenes glimpses. When things get super-dark, Chris feels it too and the show becomes a kind of ‘group therapy’ for viewers. Equally, when things get positively bad-ass, Chris will “hoo-wah!” with the best of ’em.
So are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Walking Dead offers absolutely first-rate horror with some intense action and emotion. Follow Rick and the gang on a journey into the desolate unknown – and the undead may not be the only monsters out there…
Check out the Season 1 Trailer here: