The Walking Dead has captivated viewers from the very beginning with its unique and eccentric story line, jaw dropping visual effects, and characters so diverse with so many hidden secrets, it is quite difficult to not like TWD even if you hate Zombies.
The Walking Dead brings out so much about life after a Zombie Apocalypse, and thanks to the creators of the comic series and AMC, we now have this story in the middle of the third season, waiting for the second part to begin in February!
This post will start off with a “review” of how The Walking Dead has evolved and caught the attention of so many, and a second post will be based on Season 3 and what to expect.
But what truly makes this show so popular and so addicting? I can tell you, not very many television series’ have caught my attention like TWD has. (just a note, a few shows I have always and will continue to enjoy are LOST, The Simpson’s, Malcolm in the Middle, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and a few reality shows; so my genres vary widely)
The only other show I can think of which I have watched before that closely relates to TWD, would be LOST, another captivating show with twists and turns and hidden gems throughout each season that kept me at the edge of my couch cushion.
TWD has three aspects that have made it grow so much and gain so much popularity: the storyline, the characters, and the visual effects, makeup artistry, & settings. These three are, from my point of view, what makes TWD the best television series out and the best we have had since LOST.
First off, the story line; now, I have never read the comic series or graphic novels, so the only accuracy I am aware of between the show and comics is from friends who have read and seen both. So from that, I will not compare the story from the comics to the story of the show; but, I will have my own inferences based on the story of the show only.
The series has a story unlike any thing else I have seen; With the episodes starting with either flashbacks, introducing new characters, continuing from the previous episode, or giving foreshadowing secrets and hints of what is to come. Then the intro and the episode is on! The scenes before the intro are something never to miss! They set off the mood and expectations or hopes for the rest of the episode, but they also offer something that will become unexpected later on in the episode or in the rest of the season. The creators and writers have done a fantastic job at this, creating somewhat of two parts to the introduction, one with those mentioned a few lines earlier, and then the cast and crew, music, scenes etc.
The overall story is also fantastic, again an amazing job by the multiple writers this series has had; other television shows with multiple writers lose track of what the story is about, or try to add in their own twists or plots that end up ruining that episode, and eventually creating a domino effect for the rest of the season. But with TWD, all the writers have done their research, and understand not only what we the viewers want out of it, but what is in the best interest for the producers and cast portraying the characters.
The main story line has myself,(and I am sure others too) in an “awe” when each segment returns from commercial break; one moment there is family and friends in turmoil, the next they make up and love one another; then Walkers could come and bite someone in the group, another person gives birth, a jealousy and revenge plan turns the tables and kills a best friend, someone loses their leg, and so much much more that it is too much to explain here! Just go watch the show!
But honestly, The Walking Dead has continued to throw out practically every emotional and psychological aspect of life itself in front of viewers that you sit back and think “Wow, who would I turn out to be like in a zombie Apocalypse?” As I am a College student taking Psychology courses, a lot of what is happening in the show can relate to what I have learned and discussed in class; I even made my last Analysis Paper on TWD and it just so happens my professor loves that show and I was able to pinpoint every aspect of our course into the series!
There is love, hate, anger, jealousy, romance, loss, lust, grief, pain, hunger, death, life;
mind games, perversion, controlling, hopelessness, depression, positive reinforcement, violence, revenge, education, survival of the fittest, adaptation, a changing environment, maturity, degradation, and again, so much more that can be said or written about The Walking Dead, because it is a show about LIFE. What would truly happen of LIFE if family was lost to a Zombie Disease, Friends fight you for food and warmth, strangers become egocentric and lose all sense of humanity? The Walking Dead offers this type of story line that could never all fit into a movie, and enhanced by real people playing the characters with emotions and senses and bodies; bodies, life, and your mind. TWD simply and surely offers an amazing and outright breathtaking script.
Now going along with the story, the show would need actors and people to portray those characters with the emotions that can actually be taken seriously and sometimes think this is happening right now right outside your door step. There really is a Walker scratching at your door, another breaking through the glass; a town run by a man with an unknown name, killing innocent and turning around to his people as if the murdered were the issue; there really is Rick Grimes searching for hope and security, with his wife lost, his growing son, and newborn daughter.
Andrew Lincoln plays Rick Grimes with such heart and emotion, that I see very, very few others who could have played him. Along with that note, I am happy to see upcoming and new actors with such roles to reprise themselves in such an environment, I don’t believe many big name actors in Hollywood could be.
Andrew Lincoln has done some great work creating his “Rick-tatorship” as leader of the group, from stumbling out of a coma, from the hospital into the streets of dead and undead bodies, to finding his family, fighting for and against his friends; yet he feels he never does enough, but some of us see him being the true hero of the group; coming from his background, and almost immediately after realizing what the world has turned to, he takes charge; But Lincoln is not the one doing all this; Rick Grimes is, yet Lincoln has done such a fantastic job, it is hard to see Andrew Lincoln as “Andrew Lincoln” and not “Rick Grimes”.
Jon Bernthal has that well built, rugged look, which comes in handy when we discover Shane has been sleeping with Lori and becomes jealous of Rick, seeking to kill him and get rid of him; Bernthal does a good job at his anger and jealousy towards Rick, and has his own moments of becoming a horrid Walker. Sarah Callies as Lori shows the “ass kicking” mother with an affection of unconditional mother love, but kicks in the Walker butt kicking when she needs to!
Steven Yeun was a great choice for Glenn, the young kid who first is afraid and ultimately gets thrown into every “mission” yet eventually falls for the Farmer’s Daughter (literally) and finds someone to love and care for. Carl Grimes is played by Chandler Riggs, and for being only 13 years old, he has done a job not many young actors have been able to accomplish; Riggs has shown his childish and immature side in the first season, being naive and trying to act like Shane or Rick; but then his father comes in and he has to grow faster than young kids would in a normal life; he has to mature, learn how to use a gun, and learn the strategies of killing Walkers and staying in formations. Riggs accomplishes this in a short turn around from a fun kid, to a serious and mature growing teen after the loss of Sophia and his dad’s philosophy.
These and more characters including Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon)
Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene) Danai Gurira (Michonne) and Michael Rooker & David Morissey (Merle and The Governor) they all have the look and heart to play difficult characters yet never cease to amaze at the emotional and soulful characterization.
And lastly, the final reason why The Walking Dead is the best series on television;
The prosthetics, makeup, visual effects, sett designs, all things to do with what we see throughout the show.
Sure there are plenty of zombie movies with okay make up and fake limbs, falling guts, losing jaws and eyeballs, but TWD takes it to an entirely new level. With makeup from head to toe, some other movies have even failed at simple tasks when TWD never misses an inch. To compare, I am bringing in Star Wars Episode I:The Phantom Menace. Before you hound me either of your Star Wars fandom or hate for Episode I, i’ll make this point: I am a HUGE Star Wars fan and yes, Episode I was not THAT great, but here is what I am getting at: a few scenes, such as the one after or during the Pod Races, almost every alien and creature has a mask or some kind of head gear and clothes, right? Well, if you did not notice something that stands out quite a bit, every persons’ hands are. . . human hands, there are no makeup, paint, gloves, nada nothing on the hands, yet each person has a different mask. Sorry to LucasFilm to rag on them, but hey, the small things count and in the Walking Dead, not a minor inch is missed. The skin so dead, gray, pale, no life whatsoever in the Walkers. The intestines spilling out, blood squirting on the faces, jaws falling apart, bones cracking through the skin, and none ceases to amaze the gore and gruesome factors I love about these these types of shows. Even in a recent interview with Andrew Lincoln, he states how he loves being covered in dirt, grimy water, dirty and torn clothes, and when he walks into Woodbury, he actually hates the set because it is so clean; unlike his group has been. It is these simple things that make a show so fascinating!
Even the set designs make you want to go there, live in those scenarios, feel what they feel; the hospital grounds with bodies and tanks left everywhere; the CDC with a senile researcher; the prison grounds with fences and reinforcement on all sides, except for one side left untravelled and blown out walls; then there is Woodbury, a “hope” for those living there, but a threat and horror for outsiders.
I hope all you Walking Dead fans have enjoyed this post; it is probably my most extensive post so far, and for those already or new to my blog, you can see how “new” it is.
The Walking Dead will not be fading away or dying down anytime soon at all. With part 2 of Season 3 quickly approaching in February 2013, there is much to discuss and reminisce until then. On New Years Eve and Day, AMC will have a marathon of seasons 1+2+3.5 for your viewing pleasures! Look out for my next post, possibly two about The Walking Dead for news, reviews, and more!