REVIEW: The Walking Dead

We have entered one of the worst times of year for a television fanatic, the winter hiatus. With nearly a month to go until fresh episodes grace my screen, I am desperate to find shows to keep me entertained during the interim. I found the first of these this past week. This show has zombies, violence, graphic death sequences, love triangles and a kick ass title sequence, which as you know are just a few of my favorite things. I’m talking about AMC’s The Walking Dead.

I am happy to report that after a brief sabbatical due to the truly disturbing nature of The Human Centipede, I have finally been able to return to the happy land of the horror genre. The Walking Dead is the first successful horror television show that I have found believable and entertaining. Each episode feels like you’re watching a mini-Dawn of the Dead. I’m usually not one for zombie movies, especially ones where the zombies move at .0001 miles per hour, but I’m just drinking this show in.

The Walking Dead takes place in Georgia after a zombie apocalypse. Andrew Lincoln stars as Rick Grimes, a sheriff’s deputy, who wakes up in a hospital post-zombie attack. He goes off in search of his wife, Lori, and son, Carl. In the meantime he runs into another group of survivors who help him escape a hoard of the undead. Of course, it turns out that Grimes’ family is a part of this group and they’re reunited. Little does he know, however, during the time the fam thought he was dead, Lori got a tad down and dirty with Rick’s best friend, Shane. Enter pesky love triangle drama. There’s also some domestic abuse and racism thrown in there and all whole season culminates in the blowing up of the Center for Disease Control and the group of survivors running for cover…their fate unknown.

The acting on the show is also truly believable. In the second episode, Rick and fellow survivor, Glenn, disguise themselves as zombies by covering themselves with zombie guts and adopting the trademark zombie swag. They walk down the undead-infested streets undiscovered until it starts to rain and their cover is blown. My eyes were literally glued to the screen. You feel the terror and adrenaline just as much as the characters.

I’ve got only a few gripes when it comes to this series. How does one become a “walker” exactly? Theoretically, once someone gets bitten by a zombie they become one too, right? So if the “walkers” are “the walking dead,” why does shooting them with a gun finally do them in? How does burying them in the ground render them powerless? You’d think that once they morph into zombies they could bust out of their graves and continue to raise hell. We learn from Dr. Jenner at the CDC that the “walkers” don’t exactly get resurrected; their brainstem only reboots enough to facilitate movement. That would technically make them “the walking half-way dead.”

Now, I love my friends and family, don’t get me wrong; but if they got bitten by a zombie, I’m not going to cradle their mutilated body. Sure, seeing Andrea’s love for her sister after her being used as a zombie chew-toy was touching, but if I were to find myself in that situation, I’d be nowhere near. Sorry Mere, but you’d do the same.

If you are looking for a way to pass the time before the spring premieres, look no further than The Walking Dead. Even if you aren’t a fan of the horror genre, it makes for some great entertainment. Unfortunately the first season only consists of six episodes, which of course is conquerable in a matter of days, and the second season isn’t expected to air until October 2011. How’s that hiatus for you? Oh well, what’s next?