Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Walking Dead

I need to let it be known that I am a huge fan of the comic that this mini-series is based on. It's one that I save up until I have about ten issues and then I read them in one shot. There is no other way to do it with this story. The cliffhangers are so great that I would go crazy if I had to wait a month to see what was going to be the outcome of the latest bad thing to happen to the group of survivors I have come to like so much.

The genius of Kirkman (the writer of the comic) is that he makes you care about people who may not be the best or nicest people in the world. They are very human and often more notice is placed on the challenges they have staying 'human' in light of their situation.

The biggest thing to fear as they move around the country looking for supplies and a safe place to lay their heads every night are not always the zombies. It's often other survivors who the plague has not yet touched.

Those feelings of fear mixed with quiet moments of joy are what I want from the live action program. The fact that it's on AMC, a cable channel that has done such good work on 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad' gives me enormous confidence that I will get into this show.

If you haven't read the comics, I hope the TV show puts you in search of them. They really are some of the best stories the medium has ever told.

The first thing that I noticed about the first episode of the TV series was the QUIET. The quiet that came with the end of civilization. No cars, no radios, almost no birds or insects - just silence. As a survivor I would most miss the background soundtrack of life but would only hear my own voice or the shuffle of death coming towards me.

The story begins in classic zombie tradition with a wounded cop who awakes from his hospital stay to a world that is vastly different from the one he knew. We follow him and discover what has happened to civilization while he had been out of it. The wilted flowers at his bedside should have been his first hint to the decay he would eventually be facing.

The little things would be missed the most - hot food, hot showers, clean cloths, entertainment. Everything would be replaced by thoughts of survival and of regret - plus overwhelming despair and feelings of hopelessness. All you could offer the zombies is a merciful death. They could be you tomorrow. They are you tomorrow.

How unbelievably disheartening would it be to come across abandoned tanks and machine gun nests in the cities? If the army couldn't stop these things, or even save themselves, what hope does one man have?

This is going to be a wicked character driven series if the first episode is any indication of what to expect. If I can get through the overwhelming sadness, I think I will be rewarded with some great acting and writing.

I know after my viewing of the premier that I wished I had ten more episodes to watch in a row. I don't think in this case that I can wait that long to collect them. I have to see what happens next week. I think you will feel the same.


Sam G said...

I. Can't. Wait.

Kal said...

I will be interested in hearing what you think about it Sam. Have you read the comic?

Colin Lorimer said...

With Darabont behind the wheel it should be a great series. Who would have thought we would ever get a zombie soap opera!

Kal said...

I love his stuff and to do this kind of story right you need to put the characters through the ringer. It's not an action story - it's more of a character study about how these group of strangers deal with each other as well as the constant threat from the zombies. Darabont is a good choice for this. I have a lot of faith in AMC. This kind of heavy character stuff is right up their alley. If they get even close to the greatness of the comics I will be very happy. You don't need to reinvent the wheel here. Everything you need is in those pages.

Wings1295 said...

Looking forward to it. Between this & horror movies, I will be up all night!

Budd said...

I plan on picking up the TPB for volume one at the library.

Kal said...

I think you will be reading them all once you start, Budd. Those cliffhangers are tough to deal with if you don't have the next issue in your hands and ready to read.

I like that they are in black and white also. Just seems to fit the story better if there is no color.

Kirkman is a real talent. I would love to see 'Invicible' become a TV show also but 'Heroes' may have ruined it for the superheroes on TV. I am not sure what kind of ratings 'No Ordinary Family' is getting but if it goes off the air then anything similar won't be seen on TV for at least a decade.

That's too bad because Invicible is as much about character as it is about superheroes. Having powers is almost incidental to what the people in the book are dealing with.