Friday, June 15, 2012

The Walking Dead (Season 1)

Not more than a week ago, an officemate asked me what kind of apocalypse I would believe to see or try to survive. This was while I was playing Infectonator (post-office hours, of course) after wrapping up an article about a zombie-themed fun run, so my answer was pretty obvious. There was a lot of other end-of-the-world possibilities: dropping meteorites, the sun exploding, extraterrestrial invasion, the earth plummeting in endless winter…but yes, I chose a zombie apocalypse. Not only because I have a quintessentially morbid fondness for the living dead, I guess it’s also the most survivable among the shiver-inducing options. I mean, you’re not technically against Mother Nature’s wrath; you have to gear up and fight your way out. There’s a bigger chance of starting all over again…

…which of course was a thinking I got from almost all the fictional zombie-themed stories I’m encountering lately. Books, movies, TV Series, you name it. AMC’s The Walking Dead, of course, is one of them.


With the third season just around the corner, I’m definitely late to the party. But no matter! I finished watching the first season and I’m puncturing my mini-thought balloon about it.

The synopsis reads: “The Walking Dead tells the story of a small group of survivors living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Most of the story takes place in the Atlanta, and then the surrounding countryside, as the survivors search for a safe haven away from the shuffling hordes of predatory zombies (or "walkers," as they are referred to in show) who devour any living thing they catch, and whose bite is infectious to humans. The plot is focused primarily on the dilemmas the group face as they struggle to balance their humanity with their survival against the zombie horde, and later, how they cope with members being killed and deal with other human survivors they encounter, many of whom are dangerous and predatory themselves.”

Shane, Rick, and Lori
Shane, Rick, and Lori

Glenn, Daryl, Dale, Amy, and Andrea

I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: I love good characters, ones that possess  the intricateness you can only see in real, living humans. Perhaps one of the things that drew me into the show is the presence of the developing characters and how the story focuses not just on their heart-stopping encounters with hordes of the undead, but also the realistically flawed depictions of their relationships, decisions, problems, and overall mental and emotional stimuli to their post-apocalyptic surroundings.

I must admit, the characters did start out as flat at first. As subplot and back story unfold, though, the creators and actors are able to add one layer upon the other until the folks populating the show can be considered three-dimensional. That does not mean I have a fond regard for everyone, of course. Admittedly I still need another season so I could warm up to cool-and-calculated and slightly Gary Stu-esque Rick Grimes. My current favorite would be Glenn, not only because he’s the comic relief, but also because he never loses humanity despite all the things he’d seen. I’m looking forward to their further molding in the next seasons!

Plot-wise, though, I think it’s pretty…mundane. I’m not the biggest zombie fan around, but I’ve read and watched enough living dead stuff to know the basic formula of a post-apocalyptic story like this. So there’s some kind of virus, the dead starts walking the earth, and then there’s this group of folks who are trying to survive. The whole first season showed the bare bones of this formula, although as I’ve said, the presence of the characters gave it more depth.

I hope the second season will cover more grounds; truthfully, the six episodes I’ve watched felt like they were chopped off versions of a very long movie. I enjoyed them, though, and I’m looking forward to see more of this in the coming nights. I even want to pick up the original comic book series this show was based on. :)

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