By Miles Baxter
I consider myself one of those people who, in spite of it being an irresponsible and absurd idea, can’t help but think that a zombie apocalypse would be, well, fun.
At first anyway.
I heard about the Walking Dead a few weeks ago; before I had any notion that AMC would care to do a show about zombies. Yes, we see all around us the “mass media” beating the zombie concept into the ground, but for a show to take the concept of zombies seriously seemed too good to be true.
Upon watching the first season, I saw what could be achieved with an inspired show about a band of survivors dealing with their newly dead brethren.
The Walking Dead starts us off with town Sherriff Rick Grimes and his partner Shane talking about the wives. It seems Shane’s wife can’t quite remember to turn the lights off and Rick and his wife have had another bad night.
Typically when watching a natural disaster movie, I can accurately judge the degree of skill in the script writing by seeing if in the short time they have to introduce the characters, they can make us forget that the impending “disaster” was ever going to happen.
When watching Cloverfield for the first time, I got so sucked into the characters and the drama concerning them that I forgot that a monster was ever supposed to attack the city. When they finally heard a noise and raced to the roof to watch, I felt the same suspense they did because I was equally caught off guard.
The Walking Dead pulls this off easily. The scene of two Sherriff’s complaining about their wives is so human and so real that it’s easy to forget for a second what these people are about to go through. Grimes falls victim to an injury and ends up in the hospital. In 28 Days Later-style he reawakens in a zombie hell and we’re just as disoriented as he is. That’s the kind of writing we can happily expect for the duration of the show.
The Walking Dead was made for the general public, as well as hardcore zombie fans. (You know what I mean. No one is actually a fan of a zombie *cocks shotgun*). The characters are great and we’ll see in-group drama just as often as we see zombie slaying. What the Walking Dead delivers is a gritty, in-your-face zombie killing spree mixed with group politics that aren’t just a breather from the carnage.
A side note worth mentioning for the zombie experts: the writers of the Walking Dead do hold true to the rules of the zombie folk. The “Walkers” will never move quicker than a fast stumble and the only way to kill them is a shot to the head to destroy the brain. Minor point, yes, but I really enjoyed that writer(s) kept the zombies the way they should be. Zombieland is a modern zombie movie that failed to uphold these rules and aside from the movie not really being that great, it should have least stuck with the rules. And then Twilight… let’s not even get into that.
Altogether, I’m glad the Walking Dead is a bandwagon I jumped on.