Sunday, April 17, 2011

Walking Dead Review, because Zombies are the new Vampires

Rick Grimes, total hotness.

Zombies have definitely have had a reemergence of popularity in the last decade. It could be due to the creation of the “28 Days Later” super zombies, or the next logical step after vampires to be cashed in by the entertainment industry due to the Twilight craze. Whatever the reason, nearly half a century after George A. Romero's “Night of the Living Dead” comes the first zombie television show; “The Walking Dead.” While I'll admit I was supportive of the show to the point of being over-zealous, after the initial bias comes the first solid zombie drama.

Based on the 2003 long running comic of the same name. The show follows Rick Grimes as he searches for his family in a zombie ridden world. The pilot can be a little misleading, the show sets itself to be horror in the traditional zombie fare. However the show could be put in the same category of “Tru Blood.” A drama set in a distinct setting with heavy horror elements instilled into it. It works for the most part, though some of the drama falls flat on it's ass with forced moments of emotion. The show has some solid actors in it's lineup, but its obvious that this show was a bit of a risk with the network. The first season only has six episodes, with that comes the issue of some poor character development and not much in story progression either. While it still yet is to be seen if the show will be successful, it is getting a second season. So hopefully these issues will be resolved.

Considering the setting of the “Walking Dead,” the show would be an utter failure if the actors couldn't portray their characters as sympathetic citizens trying desperately to survive in world that as completely collapsed. Luckily, the main cast are all skilled enough for viewers to connect and like them for their quirks and flaws. Though Laurie Holden and Steven Yeun, who play Andrea and Glen respectively, prove to be the most enjoyable to watch. Holden specifically does an amazing job as Andrea who also is the only character who shows any growth throughout the season. And if anyone does not connect with her in her most touching scene does not have a soul. Walking Dead has a large supporting cast, and the show tries to flesh them out a little bit, but due to a small amount of episodes, most of them seem a bit flat and uninspired. Merle is a completely irrational and dangerous character is odd to believe that the group would take him anywhere. Though his brother Daryl is slightly more accommodating, considering how many times he's willing to threaten people's lives, its hard to see why others would ever put up with him. It seems that with little given time the producers choose to focus on it's main cast, while that was the smart decision, it still feels like a missed opportunity to create a “Lost” like character study.

Given the short amount of episodes in mind, the show never seemed to grasped me emotionally as it does in the first episode. The pilot does a fantastic job introducing a sympathetic character in a world transformed into a horrid wonderland. (Although Rick proves to be pious to the point of absurdity) The rest of the season moves at a molasses pace, and even the season finally is a bit of a letdown. The conflict of Rick Grimes searching for his family is quickly resolved, and the show makes a drastic story change involving the CDC. The final episode does a sufficient job of leaving the viewer intrigued in what happens next, although it ties absolutely no loose ends. Also the big last discovery isn't much of a discovery as any zombie enthusiast will probably collaboratively “meh”. However, the one exception is the episode called “Vatos.” What I thought first to be an episode full of long believed stereotypes and forced filler came to be the best in the season next to the pilot. It grabbed me from the touching fishing scene between Amy and Andrea, to the old Latin lady you might not understand but is hilarious nonetheless. It all builds up to a classic horror rule that will leave you breathless and understand what the Walking Dead is capable of doing. Most other moments fall ridiculous short of this. It is doubtful considering the subject matter that characters dying in the show would be surprising. Most of how it's handled feels boring and rushed. Oh this random character we only met the episode before is in trouble, neat. One particular situation in the season finale comes to mind. One character wishes to stay behind, it's supposed to feel tragic. Yet, considering the little amount or depth of the character in question the viewer will feel the monumental emotion of “meh.” Luckily, two other character's conversation prove to be a lot more substantial and important.

Most of the issues could be contributed to the small amount of episodes, so it's still unknown how the show will do in its second season. With a full amount of time to flesh out its characters, create a more interesting story, while keeping the shocking moments fresh and well timed. It's still a solid start for a what was a risky bet for everyone involved. It will be interesting to see where they stay fateful to the comic and where they will implement original ideas. But I'm glad it was successful enough to warrant a second season. So I guess we will see.

Female zombies, total hotness

1 comment:

  1. When does season 2 come out? Luke and I want to watch the first season before this happens.