The Walking Dead Season 1 Episode 1 – Days Gone Bye

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), a sheriff from a small town, lapses into a coma after being shot in the line of duty. When he awakens, he discovers that the world he knew and loved has gone – people have become flesh hungry zombies, or Walkers, his wife and son are missing, and civilisation has pretty much broken down. Rick is quickly taken in by Morgan (Lennie James) and his son Duane (Adrian Kali Turner) and filled in on the situation – bites kill, fever burns you out. After a while, you come back.

The Walking Dead is based on a graphic novel by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. Of all of AMC’s original shows, it has the most potential to fail, not because the material that it is based on is bad – quite the opposite actually. The graphic novel that the show is based on is so good, and the show is so faithful to it that it will either become a massive hit, or be crippled by it’s desire to remain faithful to the graphic novel and fail. Let’s hope for the former.

The main thing that comes across in this first episode of The Walking Dead is the look of the show. Each shot is wonderfully designed to communicate the desolation of the world that Rick has woken into – there are grounded helicopters, lines of bodies in the hospital car park and general destruction but silence at every turn.

There are very few answers given in this first episode of The Walking Dead, but it doesn’t matter. The focus of the show is the relationships between the characters and how they are going to survive by leaning on each other, the details of what happened while Rick was in a coma to transform all of these people is secondary. Of course, those of you who have read the graphic novels already will know. No spoilers, please!

The cast of The Walking Dead are fine so far. The standout for the first episode is Lennie James as Morgan James. It is this character that brings depth and emotion to the episode, through his relationship with his living son and Walker wife. It appears clear that Rick Grimes, as a character, has a long emotional journey ahead of him, and there is no doubt that Andrew Lincoln is capable of this, but he needs to live through a lot more before he plumbs the depths.

Overall, a really strong first episode for The Walking Dead. Lots established, loads of characters and best of all, some we can identify with on an emotional level. That always helps to draw us into the story.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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