The Walking Dead
Season One, Episode One: Days Gone Bye
Directed by Frank Darabont
It’s testament to how well Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist) has developed The Walking Dead from comic series to tv that it seems like a personal love letter to each and every single fan of the books.
It’s the sort of dream production that simply never happens and is something that this reviewer has spent years pining
The Walking Dead, written by Robert Kirkman (who serves as an Executive Producer here, occasional writer and even future director) is quite simply one of the finest comic book series currently running, if not the best. From the outside it may seem like merely yet another zombie apocalypse narrative, but where-as any of it’s genre competitors focus on gore, action, thrills and fast-paced set pieces to entertain; The Walking Dead takes a far more mature, slow-burning realistic approach, sucking you into it’s moralistically fascinating and complex characters as they try to find a safe haven to rebuild their society in. Watching them gradually having to incorporate laws, trials, and sentences in their day-to-day life is part of the books hook as they struggle to exist in a world without boundaries and it makes for deeply affecting and engrossing reading.
The tv series is packed full of plenty of recognizable faces from Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), Jon Bernthal (The Pacific), Laurie Holden (The Mist), Jeffrey DeMunn (The Shawshank Redemption), Emma Bell (Frozen) and many more. But don’t get too attached to them as part of the brilliance of the books is how unpredictable each issue is – you never know who’s going to survive. That is, as long as the tv series follows suit.
But early indications are positive as this debut episode, which only focuses on the first 36 pages or so of the initial
I don’t want to get into the specifics of events as to be honest it doesn’t really matter and would only serve to hinder your enjoyment for no real purpose or gain. The core events are very close or similar to any other number of zombie films / books / games that you may have experienced (the opening scene is essentially just a remake of 28 Days Later for instance). Rather it’s the way in which it’s all handled that is so unique and praise-worthy.
Whether you’re a horror fan or not; I really can’t recommend this enough.
– Al White.