AMC are fast becoming one of the best tv channels. They say talent attracts talent, and that must surely be the case here. Following the success of Mad Men and Breaking Bad AMC have released two new TV shows this year: Rubicon and The Walking Dead. I found Rubicon to be a little slow and I’m more dubious than ever about mystery based long running TV shows. They seem to go for story arcs that are greater than a single series enabling the show to continue running easily over multiple seasons. Unfortunately this means you’re sometimes left with the fact that mysteries are just never answered which is very frustrating.
The Walking Dead on the other hand is different, not just the talent involved either although Frank of Shawshank is surely an atttraction. But it’s based on comic book source material, so you know that the show has a direction to head in and that writers are not continually having to create new ideas as they drive themselves into ever trickier creative corners.
So with that I approach The Walking Dead with high expectations. Talent, budget, ZOMBIES! I wasn’t let down with the initial episode being stylistic and interesting. As the episode title indicates this first episode was about loss, loss of the previous world and the loved ones now gone. After the initial pre-world exposition on how our main character ends up with the standard “waking up in a hospital alone and the world has changed drastically back story” (See 28 Days Later, The Day of the Triffids and countless other examples) the initial 2/3 of the show is an interesting and often lonely experience.
Our main character explores a gruesome and very well delivered world of death and collapse. Long shots of a man on horse walking deserted highways, burnt out cars and lots of bodies. The final third of the show is more what you’d expect from a zombie show with a tense action packed finale. Alan Sepinwall indicates that how much you’ll enjoy the show probably depends on which half of today’s episode you enjoyed more, those who enjoy the action will probably enjoy the show more.
This isn’t a surprise for me. It’s a TV show based on a comic and action packed sequences are what the genre is about. Given the initial ratings it looks like the show should get at least another season so there’s plenty here worth investing your time in.