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TEotWaWKI TV Review: The Walking Dead (Episodes 1 and 2)

The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead

Developed by Frank Darabont

It's been more than a decade since the initial zombie outbreak, but only now are we beginning to see it portrayed in drama. The new TV series on AMC, The Walking Dead, is the first serious portrayal of the period just after SHTF. I've only seen two episodes, but beyond a few nitpicks and similarities with other TEotWaWKI stories, I'm hooked.

The focus is on survivors in the Atlanta area starting a week or two after the outbreak reached a crisis. Those poor bastards down south had it much harder than even up here in Virginia. They had no appreciable winter to slow the ghouls down, so they never got a break. Even today, the Florida peninsula, surrounded as it is by water, is still pretty much a wasteland.

The main character, Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln), is a cop who was severely wounded before the outbreak and in a coma during it, only to regain consciousness in an eerily empty hospital, scattered with corpses. This is reminiscent of Stephen King's The Stand and 28 Days Later. He's trying to figure out what the hell happened while still staying alive. I'm surprised he's lasted this long, given his proclivity to fire off all of his ammo at anything which stumbles. He's lucky, though, to encounter folks willing to help out.

His motivation is to find his family. This drive is a common theme to most stories that cover this period. It, too, was my spur as I was in Manhattan when hell brook loose and had to make my way back to Northern Virginia. Alas, I have yet to learn what happened to my family. In this case, Mr. Grimes makes it back to his house, but his family is missing. We learn separately that they are alive, but there should be some interesting fireworks should they reunite.

The nits I have are how the undead are portrayed. For the most part, it is in line with reality: dumb, slowly stumbling and killed with a headshot. Occasionally, though, we encounter some outliers. Some use tools like the one with a rock used to break through a glass window. Others are agile and rather speedy, being able to climb a fence. These are rare, though, so not enough to kill my disbelief.

I am happy to see that this show has been extended another 6 episodes. I will surely watch them all.

2 thoughts on “TEotWaWKI TV Review: The Walking Dead (Episodes 1 and 2)

  1. Encrazed Crafts

    I can see your trepidation on the whole 'how fast and how smart *are* they?' aspect of these zombies, but all in all I think it is necessary and does not feel out of place. For starters, they are clearly planning on making this a full blown series, so zombies have to be fresh in the long run. Dumb zombies that cannot react new *ever* is going to get boring fast. Also, it's nigh Hollywood. If you don't have some form of ''oo! OOO! Run! They are almost there!" it makes for an empty scene. That's why there was only *one* zombie with a rock, and only *one* zombie capable of climbing a fence. I don't really think the zombie climbing the ladder got far, he was just pulling himself up with his forearms so they really could have stayed and just kicked him off when he finally got up to them hours/days later (if he didn't fall off before then).

    Without distilling the idea into a plot pushing device, the common argument is to keep zombies slow and dumb, but throw a lot at the survivors. The problem there is a slow zombie can easily be avoided, thus a group of slow zombies can still be avoided when using a simple bottleneck. Some movies make zombies smarter over time (very bad move in my mind, Romero made them basically able to hack computers later on in his series) or make them run fast. It seems as if they are using the slower zombies in place of running ones, which is good. Too fast = all action, no story. If the trade off is to make one out of fifty able to heft a brick that still takes forever to bust down a glass window, I'm ok with that 😀 (More importantly, why didn't any one of them block off the view with the massive amount of clothing/other goods on that floor? "welp, we're gonna die now... /twiddlethumbs" totally feeling the urgency here, guys >.>)

  2. Bill Drinkmore

    You raise some excellent points. I am not overly concerned that zombies should be canonical. I enjoyed the Dawn of the Dead remake with sprinters. I agree that as long as these outliers are rare, it should still make the story work. It will be interesting to see how the biology of the undead evolves over the course of the series.

    I'm also interested to see what happens when/if the Sheriff reunites with that hussy of a wife.

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