I think it was back late last winter/early spring that AMC announced that they would be making a six-part first season based on the comic Walking Dead. Seeing that AMC is a basic cable channel, I was not that enthused about this. I have been a HUGE Walking Dead fan since day 1. Have all the single issues up to the mid 30’s when I switched to only buying trades. Great, great series about what happens after the zombie apocalypse and how a group of survivors try to get on with their life with death waiting around every corner. Robert Kirkman deserves each and every award he has ever gotten (or been nominated for) for his outstanding work on this book, along with the artists he has worked with. I think the fact he chose to go black and white for this adds so much to the story. Anyway, love the book, was not looking forward to what I expected to be a water-downed, fairly gore free version that would be showing up on AMC.
This year’s Comic-Con was very Walking Dead heavy. Lots of posters and fliers pushing the show, folks in zombie make-up ambling around outside the convention center, the works. I didn’t get a chance to see the panel on the show, but did get to go to a signing with the cast and creators. All nice people. Got a chance to chat with Kirkman a few times during the Con, VERY cool guy who was obviously very happy with how things were turning out. Once I got home I finally saw the extended trailer for the series. Hmmm…if this is any indication of how the series will be, maybe there was some hope for this after all. In the past decade or so there have been a ton of comic-to-film/TV adaptations. Some really good, some ok, and some leave you feeling like you want to track down the makers and beat them to a bloody pulp. I was starting to get my hopes up for Walking Dead, but at the same time preparing for the disappointment that I was sure would happen.
As I write this, five episodes have been aired. I won’t go into a prolonged breakdown of each episode, I like to keep these reviews as short as possible. But I will say, I LIKE THIS SHOW! Everything I feared was for naught. Let’s make something very clear, it does NOT exactly follow the comics. I have read a lot of online reviews taking them to task for this. Screw them. If you went into this expecting an exact copy, you are an idiot. And I really don’t think I would like it as much. They have introduced new characters and have taken on some different adventures, but the story is basically the same story. I like not knowing exactly what is going to happen next, it helps keep the story fresh for those of us who have read the comics. I read a review yesterday on the Bleeding Cool website (http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/11/29/look-it-moves-by-adi-tantimedh-76-more-dead-more-walking-less-braaains/), that just ripped it to shreds. It did a bunch of comparisons to past zombie movies and found Walking Dead lacking because it failed to have an “underlying message”. Pfft…whatever. Sometimes I just like to be entertained, and this does a great job of doing that.
So in closing, if you aren’t watching The Walking Dead, you should be! I am sure you can find the past episodes on your cable’s on-demand service, and if not I am sure they will release a DVD set for season one before too long. It has done great ratings wise, and a second season has already been ordered. The ONLY bad thing, only six episodes in the first season! This series is just another example of what basic cable is capable of.