TV Review: The Walking Dead Season 1

The Walking Dead

Zombie films a ten-a-penny nowadays but they hadn’t successfully shuffled their way onto TV screens. That is until The Walking Dead came along.

When Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up in hospital having been shot, he finds that everywhere is overrun by the undead, all eager to rip him limb from limb and feast on his flesh. Nice. Believing his wife and son are still alive he sets off to find out what the hell is going on. He heads off into the nearest big city and finds that the place is overrun by zombies but is helped to escape by Glenn (Steven Yeun) who takes him to a group of other survivors. It’s then a battle to survive as they continue to fight off the undead as well as struggling with their own individual issues.

The Walking Dead starts off at breakneck speed with a feature-length first episode which barely lets you catch your breath. However, it does this to its detriment. Simply too much happens in the first episode and by the time it’s finished, it’s difficult to believe it’s a single episode. We start with Rick getting shot and end up with him in a tank being overrun with zombies. There’s just too much going on in between these two events and it does detract from the horror and shock of the situation. A bit of time to digest what’s going on wouldn’t go amiss. Furthermore, Rick seems barely shocked by the zombie apocalypse. One would imagine a sense of shock would set in, an overwhelming disbelief that pretty much everyone has become a shambling bag of rotting meat. Not so; Rick takes it all in his stride with the mild annoyance of someone who has remembered he forgot to put the bins out. Very much a case of ‘pilot episode syndrome’.

After the first episode, things do chill out a little and we get a bit more time to meet new characters and learn of the various subplots going on. There is a healthy ensemble of characters with plenty of variety among them although, inevitably with the season only being six episodes long, some don’t get much exposure. Season 2 will undoubtedly see to that. The zombies quickly become little more than a secondary focus of the show; the characters and the storylines taking centre stage. This adds to the emotional involvement of the story, although those wanting to see relentless zombie action may be left wanting occasionally.

The zombies themselves look absolutely fantastic. The prosthetics and make-up used make them look every bit as repugnant as you’d hope. Rotting flesh, missing limbs, gallons of blood; everything about them is vile and disgusting, which makes them that much more threatening. Every episode has at least a couple of moments that will make you wince or screw up your face; you really will forget that there are real people behind all make-up.

Season 1 does an admirable job of establishing the story and the characters, but it essentially feels like a prologue for what’s to come. However, if this is anything to go by, then there are exciting times ahead.

Words: Chris Thomson

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10 thoughts on “TV Review: The Walking Dead Season 1

  1. ianthecool says:

    Yeah, the first episode is pretty incredible with how exciting it is and how much seems to be packed in there.
    However, I think that that is where the season peaks. As the series goes on, so do the plot contrivances. I found the writing really weak and haven’t bothered with season 2 at all.

    • Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop says:

      I think it has its ups and downs throughout and I actually think they tried to pack too much into that first episode, but it certainly grabs your attention. I thought the finale was weak but I’ll give season 2 a whirl and see how it goes, although I’ve heard it becomes a bit soap opera-esque.

  2. I have to admit that I love this show. I thought the ending to the first series was a bit odd though and I’m glad to say that the plot in series two returns to a more ‘normal’ thread. Series two does seem to drag on a bit in the middle at times, but is definitely worth watching. Very impressed with Andrew Lincoln – the best I’ve seen him since Teachers.

    • Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop says:

      I don’t think I’ve been quite as swept up in it as some people but i did enjoy it and I’ve just got my hands on season 2, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it brings. Andrew Lincoln is very good indeed although at times I think the script does him a disservice. He was great in Teachers and hopefully some may look that up after seeing him in this.

  3. alysonkrier says:

    I am so hooked on this show. My husband and I blasted through both seasons in about 2 weeks. Love how there is plenty of drama along with the zombie action and plenty of gore.

    • Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop says:

      I’m not quite hooked at the moment, but I’m just about to start season 2 so I’m looking forward to it. Interested to see how they double the length of the season this time around.

  4. Great review, man! I’m thinking of watching this series because it’s been recommended to me many times, but I kinda needed that extra push. Thanks.

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