Thursday, October 31, 2013

Walking Dead "Days Gone Bye" Review

Today is Halloween and what better thing to review than a show about zombies?

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.
*End Spoiler*

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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  1. YAY YAY YAY I'm so happy right now! :P

    Episode One hooked me and I thought it was just right for it's purpose, which was to introduce Rick and us to a horrible apocalypse. The ending had me so on edge, especially since it was pretty much my first introduction to real nail-biting suspense with something like crawling for you life away from something that wants to eat you! The Walkers and their consequences certainly raise the stakes of what it means about worrying for your favorite characters!

    Can't wait till you see more, I am glad you've been able to get into Season Two already! :D


    1. Yes, I can see that. ;)

      Oh yes, that ending was great. It was a perfect ending to the episode. So far, I can't stop watching it and I have no intentions of doing so. :D


  2. This is one of the more interesting series on TV for me. I have watched it from the beginning and just be warned that it is a highly inconsistent show. There are some great highs (most of Season 1, the last few episodes of Season 2, much of Season 3, and all of Season 4 so far) but there are some really bad lows (Season 2's first half is borderline bad and the Season 3 finale was disappointing).

    It's one of the more entertaining shows on TV, but also the most inconsistent. Just be warned. When The Walking Dead is good, it is REALLY good. When the Walking Dead isn't good, it's usually really bad or poorly thought out.

    Great review, James!

    1. I agree with Jordan, there are some really strong episodes and some real clunkers. I like the show enough but don't love it, the comic though was some of the best writing I'd read in comics in a long while.

    2. @Jordan: Inconsistent, interesting, I have to watch for that. Although, the first three episodes of season 3 have been fairly strong thus far.

      Thanks for the warning Jordan.


    3. @Daniel: I am interested in the comics for sure after watching the series, I will probably check them out after I watch the series.


  3. Last Weekend I watched Season one again for the first time since I saw the original. Wow it still blew me away. Right now I am watching the first season of the Sopranos. I would put it as a little better than Boardwalk Empire but compared to todays cable shows not fantastic.

    1. I just finished season one and I completely, that season was amazing, one of the best shows around. I haven't seen the Sopranos, but I have heard a lot of about it. Thanks for the comment Steve!



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