Thoughts: The Walking Dead is a critically acclaimed and immensely popular zombie survival series on AMC. Virtually everyone has heard about it and millions of people watch it, making it the highest rated series on cable TV. Can a series with that much hype actually live up to the expectations?
While "Days Gone Bye," the first episode of the series, is not the most impressive thing I have ever seen on television, it was certainly a solid start and setup episode that got me intrigued enough to watch three more episodes before the day was done. Since many of the readers have yet watch the series, I will provide ample warning before any spoilers, although there is not a lot to spoiler about the first episode.
The episode starts by introducing the star of the series, Sheriff Rick Grimes, and his backstory and how he ended up of his situation. As usual with most stories taking place in a world different than our own, there is a character that is new to this situation and he is used as a narrative device so that the audience will know what is happening. Rick is a likable and noble character in a world without laws. The only other character to note is Morgan Jones, however he has yet to reappear in the series and may be just a one time appearance like the comic. The pacing the episode is a tad slow, on the other hand the pacing is necessary since the show has a lot to setup for future episodes.
Even though the ending with Jones trying to kill his zombified wife was good, that scene tried a little too hard to "tug at heartstrings" and ended up a little overly dramatic, however the rest of the episode was done very well.
My favorite part of the entire episode though was when Rick traveled to Atlanta and ran into the huge wave of zombies.
Another surprising part about the episode is that it was less gory than I was led to believe, although the series is certainly not recommended for the squeamish. There is obviously a lot of violence and gore in general because this is a show about zombies of course, but I really do not care either way about violence and gore. However, I do stress that the show is not recommended for younger audiences.
Something interesting to note, is that the series is filmed in my home state of Georgia, and while I have never seen the crew actually film, they have filmed in many places that I recognize and I have been, which is cool. Also few movies or TV series actually take place in Georgia and the setting, thus far, is represented fairly accurately.
Genre: Zombie, Survival, Drama, Horror,
Premiere Date: October 31, 2010
Running Time: 67 minutes
TV rating: TV14-TVMA
Action: Even though there was not a ton of zombie killing in "Days Gone Bye," there was enough to keep me entertained and the filming of it was done well.
Acting: Andrew Lincoln as Rick gave a fine performance in a very likeable role. Lennie James as Morgan Jones was excellent as well. Other than those two actors, there were not many others to note.
Production Value/Special Effects: The Walking Dead has a very cinematic feel to the episode and the effects for the zombies were mostly believable. Every Walker (zombie) had a unique look and personality. The only weak aspect from a technical perspective are a few backgrounds that are obviously computer generated.
Soundtrack: While the song at the end was slightly annoying and the rest of the actual soundtrack was forgettable, the main theme is great and perfectly compliments the series.
Overall: 8.2/10- Even though the pilot episode is not the best thing I have ever seen, "Days Gone Bye" introduces the main character and sets up an intriguing zombie apocalypse world.
Closing comments: Having now seen all of season one and part of season two, I have to say that I am hooked and will most certainly continue watching the Walking Dead because it is great thus far.
Note: I have several things to say about the series as a whole, however those thoughts will be reserved to my review of season one.
Recommended for: Zombie fans, Drama fans, Horror fans,
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