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Zombies. They have been influencing my collective pop culture conscience for most of my life. From Night, Dawn, and Day of the Dead to Fulci’s Zombie and Return of the Living Dead. I love me some zombie mayhem. Now that you all know that very important information, it goes without saying I fell madly and deeply in love with the comic series The Walking Dead.
And then AMC made a little TV show based on it. And it was mind-blowing. Now while I wasn’t particularly a huge fan of the CDC end of the season arc, the rest of the show was so fantastic that I was highly anticipating Season Two.
I wasn’t let down.
Despite all the turmoil surrounding the production of this season, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” continues to kick much ass, and having only seen the first two episodes, it’s safe to say it’s already matching the previous season in quality.
I’ll try to continue this review with as little to no spoilers as possible, but here goes a plot synopsis of the first episode.
Rick and company are kissing Atlanta goodbye. The episode opens with a melancholic and strangely desperate speech by Rick to his ol’ pal Morgan on the walkie-talkie. Of course there is no response, and Rick must pack up and leave the godforsaken city.
Some of the camera work early on here is absolutely incredible. One of the things I’ve always loved about post-apocalyptic settings is the generally unnerving and ultimately beautiful view of things. A once crowded city completely empty, a freeway once clogged with vehicles now vacant. The production design on the show is incredible, as is the filmmakers’ eye for showing it off.
The story moves along briskly down the highway until Dale’s RV breaks down, and our heroes must go scavenger hunting in the car graveyard (again amazing production design) for spare parts.
And this is where we get our first glimpse at what one would call a “herd”. A traveling pack of undead numbering in hundreds begins roaming up the highway toward our characters.
Maybe it was the sound design, maybe it was the camera work, maybe it was my friend Annette Slomka screaming, “OH FUCK SHIT STICKS!” but for the first time in a long time, I felt fear from the walkers.
A single zombie just isn’t that frightening to me, but a hundred shuffling mindlessly forward to our unsuspecting heroes. Whoa, boy. That shit was intense. All the zombies this season seem to be a lot more imposing than previously. Somebody has been hittin’ the books at zombie school.
Because of this “herd” a character runs off into the nearby woods, and Rick must go in after them. This event seems to set things in motion for the rest of this episode and the next.
Prepare for some gut-wrenching (literally) drama in the second episode of the show.
I really do not want to reveal anything for it’s quite shocking when it happens. (Yes, even for those of us who have read the comic, the surprises keep coming. In a good way!)
With that being said, there is a character on the show that didn’t get to show off much last season but shines this year. Chandler Riggs (the kid that plays Carl) acts the hell out of a few scenes. I wish I could go into more detail, but I shall heed my own request! Spoiler free! Oh, and let me take this time to say I love Daryl. He’s been created entirely for the show (as in he’s not in the comics), and he just rocks. Easily my favorite character on the show. Also, I’m absolutely loving what they’re doing with Shane. He went from a one-note blueprint to a fully dimensional character.
Also, Herchel’s farm! It shows up a lot earlier than I thought it would. This of course is a great thing.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the first two episodes of “The Walking Dead”. The cinematography, editing, writing, and acting are all in top form. I cannot wait to see the rest of the season and hope against hope that it does not suffer from Darabont’s public firing from the show. If it continues on this path, though, we’re in for some great television. While it’s no “Breaking Bad”, it certainly holds a place being one of the best damn shows on TV.
To stay up-to-the-minute on all things walker related, follow @WalkingDead_AMC on Twitter and visit “The Walking Dead” on Facebook. For more be sure to hit up the official “The Walking Dead” page on AMC.com.
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