Up Close and Personal with the Walking Dead
AMC’s latest horror offering The Walking Dead may be serial television’s most emotionally disturbing, graphically violent experience to date. The premiere episode tells the story of a deputy sheriff waking in an empty, ransacked hospital with no knowledge of what seems to be the standard zombie apocalypse.
What makes this hour of television stand out, however, is a pair of powerful performances from Andrew Lincoln and Lennie James, plus a stunning adaption which fully reveals the emotional toll of a world populated by thoughtless killing machines that resemble your loved ones and neighbors.
After a gunshot wound, deputy Rick Grimes wakes up in an empty, ransacked hospital dehydrated and weak. As he explores the surround area, he comes to realize that the world he knew is gone. His wife and child seem to have fled, but he has no idea where the could be heading until he meets up with a few other survivors that talk about a safe haven in Atlanta.
This first episode feature more drama and tension than all-out undead combat, but that combat was intensely personal and profoundly graphic. The creatures are rotten, decomposing corpses that move, and only repeated heavy blows or a well-placed bullet are effective in returning them to an inanimate state. Coupled with the inevitable edible casualties of a zombie apocalypses, the overall effect is easily one of the most disturbing television worlds you may ever visit.
As disturbing as The Walking Dead may be, it is far more compelling. Following Rick in his quest to find his family and exploring the skills and willpower necessary to withstand a world gone mad will promises to be an interesting — and grisly ride.
Written by Jeff in November of 2010. Last edited September 2014.