AMC nails it with “The Walking Dead”

Over two weeks ago, the AMC channel premiered “The Walking Dead,” a television show based off a graphic novel series of the same name created by Robert Kirkman—and it was awesome!

Over two weeks ago, the AMC channel premiered “The Walking Dead,” a television show based off a graphic novel series of the same name created by Robert Kirkman—and it was awesome!

I wish there was a more eloquent way to put it, something a bit more snazzy, but the three episodes that have run thus far have been so grand that every time I think about it, I am overcome with giddiness and all I can muster is: “Awesome!”

And it better be so grand—”The Walking Dead” had been anticipated by many who eagerly awaited its Oct. 31 premiere. Portland’s Bagdad Theater even held an event and showing for the Halloween-night pilot that left viewers in awe.

For some time now, AMC has been pushing the boundaries of cable programming and reaping the rewards. Just about every show they put out is a masterpiece, whether it be “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad.” So it comes as no surprise that when “The Walking Dead” hit flat screens across America, it brought the same high standards of cinematic excellence the network has enforced with its other shows.

“The Walking Dead” follows Sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, a small Georgia town lawman who, after being shot in the line of duty, wakes up from a coma in a hospital bed. He stumbles out of the hospital to find the empty—well, almost empty—streets of a world gone to shit. The zombie outbreak had occurred while he was asleep and the dead even walk in his small town.

Grimes meets other survivors struggling to make it in the new post-apocalyptic world as he searches for his wife and son—the only thought that keeps him going.

Now, I must say that I was skeptical of the show after the whole waking-up-from-a-coma routine, which seems to borrow a little too much from “28 Days Later,” but in the end it works and is worth it. The story is highly in-depth on many fronts, and is complimented rather well by its production. AMC’s shows boast a cinematic quality, and for this addition the network went all-out, bringing in writer, producer and director Frank Darabont of “Shawshank Redemption” and “Green Mile.” Darabont also directed the 90-minute pilot for the series.

AMC didn’t stop there, however. Darabont is accompanied by executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, known for producing a great number of immortal films including “Terminator,” “Terminator 2,” “Aliens” and one of the greatest Kevin Bacon classics of all time, “Tremors.” With so much talent behind the pilot, it’s no wonder it has taken off as such a success.

In addition to the cinematic ambiance, the show has also incorporated filming techniques mimicking a comic book feel. In other words, some shots give viewers a dramatic sense of a comic book frame, similar to the style used in modern movies based off of comics and graphic novels such as “30 Days of Night.” This style grants the show a certain cinematographic beauty not often found on basic cable.

Another great innovation the show brings is its own addition to the zombie genre. For years, nerds have debated the pros and cons of slow zombies vs. fast zombies. Some may have wondered what speed of zombies this show might embrace—slow zombies such as those in “Dawn of the Dead,” or fast zombies such as those in the remake of “Dawn of the Dead.” “The Walking Dead” decided to go its own way—medium paced zombies; not too fast and not too slow, but just right. Fast enough to keep you on your toes, but these zombies aren’t going to run a marathon anytime soon.

With its initial success, and with only a mere two episodes under its belt at the time, AMC cleared “The Walking Dead” for a 13-episode second season to follow up its six episode first season. Kirkman has already laid out quite a storyline in the print series, providing much material for the small screen version to pull from—ensuring more excellent axe-swinging, gun-slinging, zombie-bashing action to come.?