This weekend I had the pleasure of watching the first season of The Walking Dead. Based upon Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel series of the same name, this AMC series is an excellent addition to any zombie lovers library. While I do plan on picking up the title in print, this is about the TV series, which will start it’s second season in October of this year. This review does contain some spoilers, so be careful
The series centers around Rick Grimes, a sheriff’s deputy in King County, Georgia. He is your typical everyman, who wants to help everyone, but is helpful to a fault. People flock to him because of his confidence, and he takes that responsibility hard. He always wants to do the right thing for everyone, which sometimes leads to dangerous situations. But people respect him and look to him for leadership. While Rick spent most of the start of the zombie panic in a hospital, trapped in a coma-like state due to a very damaging gunshot wound, he manages to bring himself together in time to make it to his house, and meet a man and his son. While they are initial scared of his wounds (assuming it was zombie-inflicted), he gains their trust and takes them to the sheriff’s department station for hot showers, guns, and ammunition. Despite splitting ways so that the father could teach his son how to use a gun, he gives them a walkie-talkie so that he can keep them posted on if he finds survivors, and safety. There are several scenes of him at dawn, trying to reach out to them.
There are many characters that are introduced throughout the season. Some are there for the long haul, like Rick’s wife and son, as well as his former partner from the police force, Shane. Shane is an interesting character, a conflicted hero. He lied to Rick’s wife that Rick had died, in order to get her and Rick’s son to safety. However, the two bonded over their grief and grew closer, which only hurt him more when Rick arrives at the refugee camp, and the wife basically shuns Shane from that point on. You can tell that he is happy to have his old partner and friend back, but he sees the way that the wife and everyone else flocks to him, and his jealousy quickly grows.
The rest of the refugee camp is full of colorful characters, from a racist hick whose crossbow skills end up making him an invaluable addition, to a hispanic family just trying to survive, to a mechanic whose family died, and it takes a severe toll on his mentality. There is a pair of sisters who have more survival skills than you might assume at first, a kind old man who seems very comfortable with a gun and has an RV. There’s also a family whose father is quite abusive to his wife, and potentially child…but karma has a way of giving him some hard times.
The story really is about the humanity, or lack thereof, of the refugees, and the other people you meet along the way. During an outing into Atlanta, Rick and his group runs into a group of thugs, who act tough and savage, but in reality are the only thing keeping a group of old folks alive, after they had been abandoned and left to die. The redneck who seemed to just hate everyone actually becomes an invaluable member of the group, often being one of the best in the fights against the undead, despite his personal feelings towards others. The story really draws you in to each character, and while the zombies play a big role in the story, it’s more about the people. It makes you really care about them, suffer with their loses, and cheer on their successes.
The first season was over before I knew it, and I was desperate for more. I plan on marathoning the graphic novel soon, and I look forward to the second seasons this fall. If you love zombies, you definitely need to watch this. I’m not sure what took me so long, but it’s definitely worth the watch!