I haven’t quite decided yet if I like AMC’s new Sunday night drama The Walking Dead enough to write about it weekly (or even watch it beyond the first few episodes). I know that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but I have my reasons. To wit (and in the name of full disclosure): I am not a zombie fan. OK, I confess; I liked Shaun of the Dead, but of all the horror sub-genres, I’m probably least enamored of zombie-anything. I’m actually not even a horror fan.
It’s actually taken me several days to decide whether to watch it again this Sunday night, if only because the zombies that roam (well, mostly they sort of amble) a post-apocalyptic United States are pretty darn creepy. And yes, I am a wimp.
So, you may wonder, what compels me to watch at all? I do like science fiction, especially sci-fi that tends towards post-apocalyptic dystopias. And this series seems to have that vibe. I have to say I was intrigued by the hype.
The series is being cast as less a horror show than a character drama wrapped in a sci-fi thriller, wrapped in a horror-suspense story, wrapped in a comic book. A rural cop wakes up in a hospital after being shot while chasing bad guys. He’s been out of it for a month and when he comes to, he finds a world completely altered. The hospital has been trashed and abandoned: everyone is either gone or dead.
There’s no electricity, no water (no IV drip—so the guy’s been without fluids for a month, and we won’t even talk about that logic). Behind a chained door a rumble is heard and sickly fingers try to work the chain as our hero Rick Grimes (British actor Andrew Lincoln, Love Actually) reads the ominous warning painted in blood. “Do Not Open. Dead Inside.”
So starts The Walking Dead. What the hell has happened over the course of a month to cause this level of utter destruction in a normal town? Is it nuclear devastation as in the defunct CBS series Jericho (which died after a season and a half)? Is it an environmental disaster? Terrorism?