A Look Back at Season 1 of The Walking Dead

the walking dead

I was quite disappointed last night when I sat down to watch TV at 9PM only to remember that The Walking Dead had ended last week after only 6 episodes. Despite the short first season, it actually felt like we learned a good deal about the characters and their situation. I wanted to take a couple minutes and do a quick post about the things I liked and the things I didn’t like about the first season of The Walking Dead and what I think should happen in the future.

Before I get into any of this I want to be sure we’re clear, I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead books and have enjoyed the show thus far, but like anything I enjoy, there are some things that I wasn’t thrilled about. There will be plenty of spoilers in this post in regards to what happened during season one of the TV show as well as what should have happened based on things that happened in the books. So if you haven’t read the books I suggest you stop reading this post if you don’t want to know how things may play out in the future. I wanted to keep this spoiler free in that regard, but I think it’s going to be too hard because a lot of the things I didn’t like are because they never happened on screen and did in the book.

I understand that the TV show is not going to follow the book 100%, I’ve known that from the beginning, but there are some major plot points that progress the story that I feel need to be in the TV show in order to make it as compelling as the story I know already, and that leads me to my biggest complaint about the first season… The CDC. In the books, up to this point, we really have no idea what caused the zombies or what happened while Rick was in a coma in the hospital, but in the show we’ve already seen a flashback to Shane trying to save him, but failing as well as the whole CDC storyline which tries to explain this virus that is causing people to die and come back to life. None of the CDC stuff is in the books and that’s the way it should have been. It would have saved us from the sight of some absolutely terrible CGI explosions and there are a million different ways they could have taken the story without it. I don’t think it’s going to affect anything going forward from here on out as that storyline has played out completely already, but I still feel like it was all just pointless in the first place. I am glad that they killed off Jacqui as I was really hoping they wouldn’t lead her into the Micchone character who comes along later in the books. I remember the first episode when I saw Jacqui, she immediately reminded me of Micchone, but far less bad ass… Thankfully they blew her up with the CDC and we never have to see her again.

That leads me to another couple of characters that I can’t decide whether I like them or not, as in like them as additions to the cast, not liking them as characters, cause I hate their characters, but that just means they are playing their roles well. I’m obviously talking about brothers Daryl and Merle. At first I felt like they were just thrown in to the story to add some tension between the group of survivors that was maybe missing from the books (which I didn’t feel), but then I actually started to almost feel bad for Daryl. Merle is/was a total jackass racist and I really have no sympathy for him, but for some reason the lengths that Daryl was going to, just to find his brother made me feel for him. Neither of these characters are in the books so it was a little strange at first, but then I (along with a lot of the internet) began speculating what happened to Merle after he cut his hand off on the roof. Now, if you’ve read the books you may remember a character known only as The Governor… as much as I don’t want this to happen, it almost seems like they are setting up Merle to be this character. I’m not sure how it’ll work like it did in the books, since none of the survivors knew anything about the Governor when they met him, but I think they’ll have a pretty good idea of what type of person Merle is when they run into him again, cause you know they will.

Now for a few spoilers from the books that haven’t been in the show yet, so if you don’t want to know I would suggest you skip this paragraph completely. Back to the Governor character and his missing hand. If you’ve read the books you know that at a certain point it seems like people start losing limbs left and right in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus after being bitten by zombies… one of these people is Rick, who loses his hand at one point fairly early on in the story. I’m not upset that it hasn’t happened, yet, but I feel like since they took Merle’s hand so early in the series that if Rick does lose his hand like in the books, it’s going to be a lot less shocking. And speaking of shocking, I was really hoping the season would end how the first volume of the books ended… with Carl shooting Shane in the neck and Shane ultimately dying from the wound. I really can’t stand the Shane in the show, which is how I’m supposed to feel about him, but his death is long overdue. He’s just turning into a bitter rapist and I really really hope they kill him off in the first episode of the 2nd season. There are some other very shocking deaths fairly early on in the books that I really hope they stick to in the show, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they took things in a different direction. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Ok, now that spoilers from the book are gone, let’s talk about some of the things I did like about the show, since everything above would indicate that I didn’t like it… The fact that the show is not constantly focused on the zombies is awesome. A lot of my friends have been complaining that there aren’t enough zombies or enough gore, but I don’t think they realize that the story is a drama and it’s more about how a group of people adapt in order to survive in a world overrun by zombies. They constantly live in fear that they will be attacked whether they are or not and they have no way of knowing if there are other people out there or help waiting in another city. They are just living day by day in order to survive, and that’s what the show is about, not zombies attacking at every turn. I do think that the 2nd season will have more zombies and gore, but I hope they continue to do it the way they have been and keep it as realistic as possible given the subject matter.

I like the casting choices, although the kid who plays Carl doesn’t quite seem like he’ll be able to handle some of the scenes that come along further in the story, but we’ll have to see. I like the style of the filming, the grittiness of everything. I like the little to no use of soundtrack which makes things seem that more realistic and scary in my opinion. And even though I complained above that things aren’t happening as they do in the books, I actually like that as I don’t know exactly what is going to happen and when, but like I said, I think there are a few major plot points that do need to happen in order for the story to maintain the same feel as the books, which is what I think they are going for. With that being said, I’m really looking forward to the 2nd season of the show, which I believe will start up again next October with 12 or 13 episodes lined up.

So what did you guys think of the first season of The Walking Dead? What were your complaints, what would have liked to see that you didn’t see? Have you read the books and upset that something didn’t happen?