Sometimes when a new programme is broadcast I don’t watch it. I’m not great at remembering when programmes are on, so I don’t often commit myself to watching a multi-part programme as I know I’ll probably miss at least one of the episodes and be left behind. So when “The Walking Dead’ was shown, to great acclaim, I had little idea of what it was. Last week I gained possession of the first series, and decided to give it a try.
I bloody loved it.
The whole zombie/supernatural genre of programmes is hard to get right, and I’ve seen my fair share of crap attempts ( The UK’s 2011 Bedlam, anyone?). So I didn’t have high hopes, but this programme is fantastic. It starts with the hero, Rick Grimes, coming to in a hospital bed and slowly realising that he’s slept through something major. Yes, I know this is almost exactly what happened at the start of 28 Days Later, but it is a good way to introduce the viewers to what is going on ( and I have it on good authority that the Walking Dead comic pre-dates 28 Days Later by some time). We get to experience the bewilderment and panic first hand, and discover the cause all at once rather than having it drip fed to us, what is what would happen if the zombification (that’s now officially a word, all right) occurred in ‘real time’.
Any hoo, Rick gets taken in by a man and his son, who explains what’s been going on. Rick then sets off to find his family etc., dispatching the un-dead along the way. One of the things I loved about this series is that it all felt immediate. There was no long drawn out questions, no series long artificial tension of ‘will he find them?’ “Will someone die?” “Why am I watching this shit knowing that they’re going to milk it for all it’s worth and never answer any questions, whilst being pseudo-intellectual and philosophical to the point that I don’t care about any of the characters and actually begin to hope that they just die so I no longer have to suffer?”. You may have gathered by the above statement that I watched ‘Lost’. I did persevere through the first series of it, then I really just couldn’t be arsed any more. Fuck the lot of ’em
Well ‘The Walking Dead’ just isn’t like that. In every episode something major happens, and most of the time it is a complete surprise. You get the feeling that any of the characters could get chomped on at any moment, and some of them have already been deaded (another new word) completely. The characters are all believable, and make you kind of care about them.
Some of the scenery and camera shots are spectacular, and all of the actors are great. The writing is good, with not too much cliché and over sentimentality banded about. In my opinion most of the comedy from America is poo compared to British attempts, but they just cannot be beaten on their action-drama’s. Why can’t us Brits do something like this? Andrew Lincoln is excellent as the lead, and his American accent is flawless. He’s doing us proud, and definitely deserves the attention he is now receiving.
There are some lovely men in this series, which certainly helps to keep the attention, and there are pretty ladies too for those of that persuasion. I can’t wait for series 2, which is currently showing in America. Will we find out what happened to Merle, the now short-handed hick? What is the cause of the illness? What did the scientist whisper to Rick? And will any of the men get their bottoms out? Only time will tell. And this time around I’ll be watching with everyone else.