Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Walking Dead (An Introduction)

There is a new zomdrom (zombie drama) currently airing on AMC television called The Walking Dead. I first heard about it on Exfanding Your Horizons. Despite being a horror junkie with an interest in good zombie apocalypse stories (and there are plenty of zombie stories out there, though not all of them good), I wasn't originally going to catch this new series on AMC. Why not? Well, it was premiering on Halloween, and I already had plans for a movie marathon that day. And above all, I'm not a huge fan of television. I don't watch a lot of TV because the commercials are annoying, and like Nathaniel described in a recent Exfanding post, unlike other media, with TV, you have to plan your schedule around when your show is on, instead of watching it whenever you're good and ready.

But despite all that, I ended up deciding at the last moment to watch it. I had read an article in the newspaper (of all places) earlier that week that really hyped up the series, making it out to be more than just another run of the mill zombie story. And when the hallowed day came, I happened to be on a break between movies (for my marathon) when The Walking Dead came on, so I sat down and watched it. And I liked it. Enough to come back the following week. Did it live up to the hype? I'm probably spoiled by all the gory zombie features I've seen in my day, so it wasn't any scarier - or any gorier - than what I expect from a good zombie story. I hear people talk about how extreme it is, and I have to think to myself, yeah, I guess if you watch a lot of TV rather than a lot of horror movies - and this series seems to be getting a lot of notice in TV Town (to the extent that I can tell from my perch over here on Movie Mountain) - then this must be pretty extreme. After all, the gore I'm used to in the theater isn't exactly standard fare on the smaller screen, even for late night television. And I have to admit, the concept of a zombie series on TV of all places is not conventional - but very exciting.

So is it a good show? Yes. It's a good zombie story. As I mentioned, I came back, and I plan to continue coming back, to see where the story goes. The gore and scares may not set this series apart from other zombie stories, but I don't think that's really its claim to fame, is it? This story does have something unique, and it's the drama - the human drama. Which, I guess, makes it a prime suspect for a TV series. The Walking Dead puts the heart back into the decaying corpse of zombie horror. As scary as the zombies are, they're just walking bags of flesh. Sure, they pose a very real threat to anyone still living. But it is the living who have to deal with the feelings - fear, and anxiety, and desperation - that the unfeeling zombies instill. The Walking Dead is not really about the dead, it's about those who are still alive.

Join me and my friend Scott as we watch the series, and discuss it episode by episode. Stay tuned for our discussion of the first episode, coming soon!

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