Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

“The Walking Dead” Pilot Review

Posted by Marlo Stanfield on November 1, 2010

And I'm Back.

Zombie kid gone.

And so begins “The Walking Dead,” the first zombie based TV series…uh, of the year.

FYI – I love zombies; for Halloween this year I went as Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s (more of a pseudo-Zombie than anything else, but still).

The Walking Dead follows a small group of survivors traveling across the USA to escape the hundreds of thousands of zombies that now exist.  The group is led by Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln), a police officer who awakens in an abandoned hospital to find the world to be basically ended.

I have always felt that the performing and media arts do not work enough with fear.  Outside of horror movies, which only on occasion are actually terrifying, do we ever get a legitimate bone chilling thrill from consuming media?  The Walking Dead may be the first show to do so at least in my memory. And I never saw Dark Shadows.

Mr. Feeny's Next Project

What makes this show work is that it’s unpredictable.  Just enough suspense to keep me going.  I’m certainly feeling that Sunday night void of Rubicon and Mad Men, and The Walking Dead could very well fill my AMC addiction.  I also don’t think there has to be much here to keep me enthralled.  As True Blood proved a long time ago, good television doesn’t have to always come from clever writing and great acting.  Throw in some sexy vampires and you have a hit.  Or, in this case, rotten zombies.

Now I’m going to interrupt my review for a related item of business.  Ok, divisive poll, but Zombies are easily the scariest of all scary things.  And I’ll give you the reasons:

  1. Zombies don’t think rationally – all Zombies want is to eat you, or your brain.  They all have malevolent tendencies, and don’t care about anything.  Well, except eating you.
  2. Zombies are never alone.  See the last scene in the pilot.  They come in packs.  Large, large packs that will always want to eat you and nothing else.
  3. They are totally in the realm of possibility.  I’m not talking about the dead rising again necessarily, but I do mean a vast outbreak some brain altering disease.  That makes you want to eat other people.
  4. They want to eat you.  I know I’ve said this like nine times, but think about it.  It’s scary enough if a monster wants to kill you, it’s a whole other ballpark when they want to eat you.  Many times when you’re still alive.
  5. And just in case you weren’t paying attention to this episode, if you are bitten, scratched, basically touched by a “Walking Dead” Zombie, guess what?  You become a Zombie.  That wants to eat people.

No question: the scariest.  I’m up for people arguing about this, but I promise you they are the hardest to stop and the last thing I want to be around.

Try to make an argument. I dare you.

Ok, back to my review.  I really enjoyed this show.  I just think Zombie invasions are incredibly enthralling.  And while I love my satirical zombie movies (e.g. Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, and the 80’s classic Return of the Living Dead), there is something to be said of the George C. Romero tributes.  The Walking Dead will be a hit, I promise you that.

Grade: A


6 Responses to ““The Walking Dead” Pilot Review”

  1. CJ Cregg said

    Ugh. I hate zombies. I know they’re all the rage now, but I find them terrifying. In fact, this picture that you’ve posted is going to give me nightmares. Consensus among my friends is that this show is pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to watching it this weekend.

    And then not sleeping for a week straight.

  2. Mr. Feeny said

    Love this show. I realized while watching the second episode last night how brilliant it is to do an entire series on this. By now, most movies would be wrapping up. We haven’t even had one character die on screen. I also get the feeling that anyone could get bit at any moment, except for the four main characters. That adds to the suspense. I just wish the first season was longer than 6 episodes.

  3. Mr. Feeny said

    And I will make an argument, Marlo. Vampires are scarier than zombies. Here’s why. (and because there are so many different models, I’m using the “Buffy” vampire)

    1) Depending on the series/movie, zombies are usually much slower than humans. You can outrun them as long as they’re not in a mob. BUT…vampires are equal in speed, if not faster. They’re superhuman, in fitness and strength. You’re not going to outrun a vampire.
    2) They’re easy to kill. One (Walking Dead) or two (Zombieland) shot to the head, and that’s it. You don’t even need bullets. You could just decapitate them or hit them really hard in the head. You could run over them with a car, slice them in the gut, etc. Easy to defeat. BUT…vampires can only die three ways: steak to the heart, sunlight, and decapitation. Not much flexibility.
    3) Just like zombies, a vampire bite turns you into one of them and causes you to lose your soul. Your only motive is evil.
    4) And most importantly, there’s no mistaking a zombie. They’re gross, smelly, can’t speak…you’re not going to find out midway through dinner that your date is a zombie. BUT…vampires can pose as humans, as long as it’s the evening. You can fall for their charms and wind up in a precarious position because you had no reason to suspect otherwise.

    I wouldn’t want to come face to face with a zombie. But I like my chances more against them than a vampire.

    • Marlo Stanfield said

      Well, for my sake, we’re going to use “The Walking Dead” zombies.

      1. These zombies can run, but you will probably outrun them. I agree that Vampires will always win physically with a fight of humans. So I agree – vampires are more powerful. But there’s always more zombies than vampires. So I don’t know if just by sheer number zombies win, or you that the pure strength of a single vampire makes them more capable.

      2. I would say that a headshot is not that easy. And I think it’s more than that, you have to destroy the brain. Also

      3. I have to disagree with you on the only motive being evil part. Nerd alert: Angel fought alongside Buffy for a long long time and fought against his urges to bite her. So vampires are capable of other motives than just being evil.
      4.) Agree. There’s no mistaking a zombie. But there’s a ton of them. Who want to eat you.

      5.) If the question was a single vampire vs. a single zombie, yes I’d fight that single zombie. But you have to account for the context. Per Buffy vampire, there’s probably at least 100+ Walking Dead Zombies. I think I’d take on the single vampire before I fought a 100 zombies.

  4. CJ Cregg said

    Heh. You guys are hilarious. Just got around to watching the pilot, and I agree with you, Marlo about the extremely effective use of fear.


    Sidenote: Don’t ever watch this while eating lunch, either. There’s a lot of gore.

    I want to keep watching this show, because I’m interested to find out what’s going to happen to the characters, but I honestly think it’s too scary and too gory for me.

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