On the surface, The Walking Dead may appear to be just another horror show about zombies (or Walkers as they are called in the show), but the core of the show are the characters and their struggle to survive in this post-apocalyptic environment. Aside from the great characters, one of the best aspects of the series are the smart decisions the characters make and the accuracy of the Georgia setting. Many of the characters throughout the first season make smart decisions. When I watch television there are often many times during a show that characters make really dumb choices and forget to do things that end up putting them into compromising situations. However, the Walking Dead is often void of those problems. For example, when a character is out of ammo, they check dead bodies for more. The show does a great job of focusing on survival and the gathering of supplies. Something else that the show does right is the setting. As I stated in my review of the first episode, the series takes place and is filmed in my home state of Georgia. Although not many films or TV shows take place in Georgia, the ones that have are not usually accurate with the accents or the setting in general. However, The Walking Dead has the best representation of the state I have seen with the accents sounding right (even though only one actor is from Georgia) and many character seem like real people, not caricatures. If a zombie apocalypse were to happen, Georgia would probably have one of the best shots at surviving because we own guns and we know how to use them.
Since the season only consisted of six episodes, it is a quick watch and I watched over half of it in one day with my friend, who was kind enough to re-watch it with me since I do not have Netflix. However, I was able to find a venue to watch the show afterwards so I watched the final two episodes not long after. That brings me to an important point about the Walking Dead. The show is best when binge watched (viewed in short succession) since it almost feels like an extended movie and the viewer is more easier caught up in the experience and invested in the characters. While I am not saying that you cannot enjoy the series when watching it over time, I do believe that I would not have enjoyed the series as much if I could not watch the next episode immediately after viewing the previous one. Watching the entire season in less than a week also makes a slow or setup episode less noticeable since you just watch the next episode, and therefore judging the show on an episode to episode basis is difficult.
Genre: Zombie, Survival, Drama, Apocalypse, Horror,
The Good: Superb performances across the board, Great character development, Impressive special effects and production value, Character focused, Smart choices by characters, Accurate Georgia setting and accents, Likable characters, A kid that is not annoying, Eerie main theme, Great atmosphere, Unexpected twists, Not much plot armor for most characters,
The Bad: Forgets some background characters,
Plot: 9.5/10- The Walking Dead's plot is a very character focused story of survival. What makes the series great are the characters and the character development as they deal with how the world we used to know is gone. While the pacing can be slow and one episode is all setup, season one is consistent and ends with a satisfying conclusion. My only complaint is that Glenn's character is all but forgotten after the second episode and I really wanted to see more of him (which I did in season 2) and a couple of the other background characters were just kind of there, but the main cast were well developed.
Action: 7.8/10/10- While nothing topped the second episode in terms of zombie action, the action that is present is very good. Often it is suspenseful and intense.
Acting: 9.6/10- The acting is excellent across the board without a single weak performance from the main cast. Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes gives a compelling performance as a man struggling to maintain his morals in a lawless world. Jon Bernthal's performance as Shane Walsh is top notch, however his best acting comes in season two. In a future post I will discuss the characters and the actors in greater detail.
Special effects: 9.6/10- The show has, hands down, some of the best practical effects makeup I have seen on television. Each zombie had a unique look and the shear amount of them is staggering in a few scenes. My only complaint in the effects department is an explosion that looked very fake and CGIed.
Soundtrack: 7.9/10- The main theme is one of my new favorites from any American TV series. It sets a creepy and eerie vibe for each episode perfectly. Aside from the stellar main theme, the music is not particularly noticeable, and while I typically hate songs at the end of episodes, the Walking Dead's choice of licensed music is not bad.
Comedy: N/A- Aside from a few occasional remarks by the characters, the series is mostly humorless.
Overall: 9.0/10- Season one of the Walking Dead is an incredibly strong first outing for the series with great characters, a focus on survival, and high productions value, for those who do not mind violence, the series is highly recommended.
Closing comments: Considering that I am neither a fan of the zombie or apocalypse genre, the fact that I am now a fan of The Walking Dead is a testament to the series high quality.
Recommended for *Mature*: Zombie fans, Survival fans, Drama fans, Action fans, Apocalypse fans, Fans of TV,
Also a big thanks to my friends Rebecca and Jamie for convincing me to watch the series!
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