Walking Dead S1

The Walking Dead: The 1st Season’s Report Card (So Far)

So we are merely days away from the end of the first season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. If you’ve followed us on Facebook, you’ll know that we’ve been just a little bit excited about this show hitting the air. The show has shattered cable ratings and has given us some quality TV for the last month, mostly because the show comes off as a new zombie movie every week. The show’s been impressive enough that I will officially declare it my “LOST Replacement”.

While I am happy with the success of the show so far, I am slightly disappointed that the first season is only 6 episodes. My disappointment is mostly fueled by the rumor that the second season will not be airing until October 2011!!! However, I expect big things for season 2 (which I’ll address further into this column) and I’ll be OK with the wait knowing that there’s some really heavy stuff about to happen on the show and they may need that extra time to get everything together.

Without further adieu, here’s my breakdown of the inaugural season of The Walking Dead:

“Days Gone By

Grade: A

This was the one everyone was waiting for! The comic book fans were able to see how a very beloved comic book series would translate to the TV screen and people who’ve never read the comic were being introduced to the awesomeness of The Walking Dead for the first time.

The episode followed the comic pretty closely, I personally enjoyed seeing an extended part for Morgan & Duane Jones. They were the first non-zombies that Rick Grimes met, and they are the ones who let Rick know how crazy things have got. So i was thrilled that they kept them in longer.

Overall, this was a very awesome, very strong episode.

“Guts”

Grade: A+

This was probably my favorite episode of the show thus far. It was very gore-filled, the violence was top notch and we meet a few characters that weren’t even in the book (T-dog & Merle namely). This is where the series first took a turn away from the source material, but it worked out just fine.

“Tell It To The Frogs”

Grade: B

While Rick’s reunion with his family should stand out the most in this episode, for me the part that really stood out was the casting of Norman Reedus (aka Boondock Saints Guy) for Merle’s brother Daryl.

Some of the stuff that will definitely come to play later (not spoiling the fine details) is the relationship between Shane and Lori Grimes. Previously in “Guts” the episode began with her and Shane doing it….but it turns out that they thought Rick was dead, mostly because that’s what Shane told Lori. So now she’s blowing him off (not literally) and Shane becomes sexually frustrated. Fortunately though Shane gets to take out all his frustration on the wife-beater Ed when he gives his wife her daily slap, to which Shane delivers a nice beatdown and comes off as an OK guy making us almost forget about the whole bit with doing his friend’s wife.

We end the episode with probably the biggest unanswered question of the season as a group of survivors go to rescue Merle, only to find his hand on the roof he was handcuffed to. (DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!!)

“Vatos”

Grade: C

I will go on a limb here and say had it not been for the very end I would have probably hated this episode. For an episode written by Robert Kirkman (aka the guy who wrote the comic!), i kinda expected a little more out of it.

We started out as “chick talk on a boat” which dragged out WAAAAYYYY too long and made me hate Andrea and her sister. Somehow with all their talking they managed to catch a crap-load of fish???? I’m pretty sure my dad and everyone else that I fished with as a kid told me that talking would scare the fish away.  Anyway this long scene alone made me consider changing the channel.

As for the rest of the episode, it wasn’t too bad, we got to see Jim go crazy and dig several graves and things don’t end up so well for Rick, T-Dog, Daryl when Glenn is kidnapped by some tough looking survivors. However it turns out that the other group is protecting a nursing home whom, the staff abandoned. So with a few gun trades everything is ok with the thugs with a heart of gold.

Back at camp, the episode finally turns good when the zombies make an attack. Had it not been for this ending, i probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the episode too much.

“Wildfire”

Grade: B+

This episode was starting to remind me of “Girl talk on a boat” when we had another drawn out scene of Andrea talking to a now-dead Amy. Never in this show did I want someone to get bitten so badly, but Andrea is a pretty big part of the comics, so I knew it was only wishful thinking.

Everything else was pretty good, Jim decides to stay behind after being bitten so he can be with his zombie family, and we get to see Shane aim his rifle at Rick and enjoying the thought of pulling the trigger…that is until Dale noticed him.

More importantly I officially have no idea where the first season will end. In my mind I expected 2 things to play off as the season finale: (highlight the blank space if you don’t mind spoilers) I expected the season to end with either Shane being killed by Rick’s son after trying to kill Rick, or the group going into the gated community failing to notice the “All Dead: Do Not Enter” sign which was hidden from view by some snow.Now that we have this whole CDV curveball (it wasn’t in the comic) I think we’ll now be ending the first season there. It also kinda ended on a LOST “Hatch moment” complete with a “Desmond” if you will so that was cool. So it looks like this will be a series that will keep even the comic fans guessing and I welcome the challenge.

Overall, the season has impressed me. I am one of millions suffering from Post-LOST depression and this may very well be the cure for it.  The casting turned out great, with the exception of “chick talk on a boat” and “chick talk 2: dead boogaloo” I really enjoyed every episode. Having the advantage of reading some of the comics, i know we have some awesome stuff ahead and I look forward to what’s to come.

With that said here’s some of the things that I’m hoping to see next season. For those of you who haven’t read the comic and want to stay “pure” (read: don’t want spoilers) this is where the article ends for you. I mean it….no b*tching about me ruining it for you if you choose to read on (kinda like how if you went to Facebook before watching Lost, you risk being spoiled)

Season 2 Wish-list:

1. Tyreese!!!! Tyreese is probably the most badass character to be in The Walking Dead comics. The guy uses only a hammer as his weapon..yeah no guns, just a freakin hammer!!! Can’t wait.

2. The Prison: Of all the places that the group takes shelter in, this one is probably the best one they’ve used…but some crazy stuff happens first.

3. The Governor: Given that season 2 is 13 episodes, I’m kinda thinking the Governor will show up at the end or season 3 just based on the fact that a lot of stuff goes down first. But he is by far the biggest baddie that Rick and company meets…plus theres a few rumors saying that for TV that Merle will become the Governor. Very Interesting.

4. Shane vs Rick: Shane on TV has officially outlived comic book Shane, but his fight with Rick that ends with Rick’s son Carl shooting and killing Shane is some powerful stuff. Plus there’s a little baby-daddy conflict too for good measure.

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