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THE WALKING DEAD
TV. AMC (USA), FX (UK)

The Walking DeadThere has been a lot of buzz around The Walking Dead - partly because of the reputation of the original comic books, partly because of Frank Darabont's involvement and partly because over the last couple of years, several zombie series have been pitched at TV shows - Babylon Fields, Alive - but none have actually made it to air. So this show had a lot of baggage and expectations before it premiered. Did it live up to the hopes of the audience? Well, that remains to be seen as the series progresses, but the first episode? Pretty damn good.

The show opens with Sheriff's Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) being shot during a gunfight and ending up in a coma in hospital. Some time later, he awakens to find the hospital abandoned and wrecked, with bodies laid out and warnings about 'the dead' scrawled on chained doors. Making his way home, he finds his wife and son missing, but hooks up with Morgan and Duane Jones, who have been hiding out in the neighbourhood. They fill him in on what has happened - the dead mysteriously returning to life, hungry for flesh - which he takes surprisingly well (me, I might have had a shitload of questions at this point). On discovering that there is a quarantine zone in Atlanta, Grimes heads off in search of his family, only to find the city entirely overrun with 'walkers'. Taking refuge in a tank, he seems doomed until a mysterious voice comes over the radio...

It's always hard to judge a TV show on the first episode - there's too much scene-setting and introduction of characters for the show to really get going. However, this was a pretty solid start, and that fact that it's 70 minute running time passed very quickly is a good sign. Of course, the initial scenario brings to mind 28 Days Later or even Day of the Triffids (man wakes up in hospital to find the world gone to Hell), but once past that, the show developed it's own original feel. It's zombies look impressively gruesome (none moreso than the half-corpse crawling along the ground) and if this episode is anything to go by, the show won't be too stingy with the blood.

Having not read the source material (something I intend to correct soon) I don't know where this is going - zombies are, after all, a limited threat to sustain over several weeks (or seasons) and so I'll have to see if it can hold my interest. A good start though and I'm looking forward to the next episode.

DAVID FLINT

 

 

 

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