When I learned that Frank Darabont was involved with the tv adaptation of "The Walking Dead," I couldn't have been more excited. Darabont directed one of my favorite movies from a few years ago, in "The Mist" and he also directed Green Mile and what IMDb considers to be the greatest movie of all time, "The Shawshank Redemption." Couple his involvement with the fact that the show was going to be on AMC. Well that's just insane. AMC has shown a knack for quality television. They're 2 for 2 with "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad." So, this is clearly a good home for something like The Walking Dead.
The premiere episode introduces us to our main character played by Andrew Lincoln. His name is Rick Grimes and he's a deputy sheriff. After a brief opening scene involving a little girl turned zombie, we flashback to how it all began. We are quickly introduced to Rick's partner, Shane, played by Jon Bernanthal. The chemistry between these two was clearly evident. In such a short scene, we get to know who Shane is and we also get some insight into Rick's home life. After this, there's a altercation with some local townsfolk and Rick is shot. He wakes up in a hospital ala "28 Days Later" and the world has gone to shit. The hospital is in ruins and it isn't too long till Rick starts discovering bodies and zombies. I don't want to get into many details regarding the content of the episode (I'll do that a bit more in later reviews) but the storytelling here is phenomenal and the pilot episode sticks closely to its source material. Later in the episode, we meet Morgan (Lennie James) and his son who take Rick in and whom try to explain what's going on in this crazy world Rick woke to. What excited me most about this episode was how well the characters and story were fleshed out. With tv as a medium, you're allowed much more time to craft characters and tell a grand story and it suits Walking Dead perfectly. Also, with the show being on AMC it allows the creators to have no restrictions in regards to the content of the episodes and the graphic nature of the gore. KNB are the minds behind the special effects of the show and whoever knows KNB, knows they're gold. Their effects work captures the illustrations of the comic brilliantly.
Walking Dead is based on a comic by Robert Kirkman and is something I adore. The most important thing to know when adapting something like The Walking Dead is to realize what makes the material great in the first place. The comic is all about the characters. It's about the people and who they are and the situations they find themselves in and how that makes them react and ultimately, how it shapes them. Darabont and co. clearly understand this. While watching the premiere, I was telling myself I can watch this shit for hours and hours. The first season is a mere, six episodes long and I can tell how agonizing it's going to be once the season is over. I really cannot wait for the second episode because I'm so excited to meet the rest of the cast. It's what I should be excited about. It's what The Walking Dead should be and is.
Walking Dead premieres on Halloween Day on AMC.