The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye (10/31/10)

the walking dead days gone bye

So what did you guys think of the first episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead?

I actually watched the first episode last week, but wanted to hold out to write a review until after the episode aired as to not spoil anything for anyone. Personally I loved every minute of it, but I can see where some people might have had some complaints, but being a fan of the graphic novel, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. If you were expecting the show to be all zombies, all the time, then you may be disappointed. The Walking Dead is more about the characters as they try to rebuild and survive in a world that has been overrun with the undead, not necessarily about the undead trying to kill the survivors.

The first episode is obviously going to have to set the tone of the series as well as introduce us to the characters, so it moved a bit slow, but I bet if you woke up in a hospital and found that the dead had come back to life you wouldn’t really know what to do at first either. I think my favorite part of the episode is the fact that there was absolutely no music used until Rick found other people living in his neighbor’s house. For the first 30 or so minutes of the show there is no background soundtrack at all, which made everything extremely eerie. My girlfriend was sitting on the couch next to me watching through her fingers and over a magazine just because the lack of a soundtrack made her that much more nervous. It actually brought you into the world as if you were standing right behind Rick. I thought the pacing of things were good and it followed the intro of the graphic novel very well. Obviously there were a few slight changes, but they didn’t feel like they were forced just to make for good TV, they felt natural… but they also made for good TV.

The acting was pretty good. There were a few parts where I felt that Andrew Lincoln (Rick) may have gone a little over the top, but it wasn’t distracting or laughable. Jon Bernthal (Shane) was also pretty good and based on what happens later on in the books regarding his character, he’s playing it well. I liked Sarah Wayne Callies in Prison Break so I like her as Lori, but as for most of the rest of the cast, we haven’t seen enough of them for me to make a judgement call. Lennie Jones was good and I liked him in Jericho (yes, I actually watched Jericho), but I don’t think his character will be returning unless they stray from the books, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Overall I really liked the first episode and I’m really interested to see where they take it next and how close they keep it to the books. I can already tell, based on the preview for next week, that they stray a bit from the book storyline so I hope they didn’t do it just for the sake of making better TV, but with Robert Kirkman (the creator of the books) on board as a producer I’m sure he wouldn’t let anyone rape his baby, so I trust where it’s going. The zombie effects were also extremely cool and the show is quite gory even though there were only a handful of scenes that required it. I can’t believe that AMC let them get away with shooting a kid in the face… awesome. I don’t think this show could have been put on any other network (aside from premium channels), so thanks AMC for allowing the creative freedom that is necessary when it comes to this kind of stuff and I’ll continue to write about and promote the series as it continues for hopefully many more seasons.

Update: Looks like I’m not the only one that thought it was good. According to the numbers, 5.3 million people tuned in to watch the premiere on Sunday night with another 2.8 tuning in to watch it again at 11:30, making the final numbers for the night around 8.1 million. The Walking Dead is now the highest-rated cable series to premiere in 2010!!!