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The Walking Dead: Season 1 [Blu-ray]
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318 of 346 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
NOTE: Some are claiming that the 3-disc edition is edited. IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT EDITED. There are no missing scenes. There is an international version available that is somewhat less than complete (edited for gore), so beware of third party sellers. It appears that some U.S. copies may have a playback quirk, though (mine doesn't). On the episode "Guts," if you Play All you might see some material edited. If you select the individual episode from the menu (instead of Play All), there is no issue. Otherwise, the official U.S. release is absolutely fine.

So now that all The Walking Dead TV fans have purchased Season One, here comes the inevitable double dip for the 3-Disc Special edition. I always find this a dubious way to reward fans, by making them regret buying your initial product. It does, however, seem to be a commercial reality that continues to disappoint and exploit consumers. Whether or not you will indulge in the new version will depend on how appealing its additional material strikes you. Here is a run down of the new features with the old features (also included) to help you decide.

5 Stars for the show itself, 1 Star for the repeated practice of double dipping.

NEW Material for this re-issue:

Pilot Episode: The B&W Version
Audio Commentaries On All 6 episodes
We Are The Walking Dead
Bring Out The Dead: KNB And The Art of Making Zombies
Digital Decay: The VFX of The Walking Dead
No More Room in Hell: The Walking Dead Phenomenon
Adapting The Dead
Killer Conversations: Frank Darabont & Greg Nicotero

ALL Previous Bonus Material Also Included:

The Making of The Walking Dead
Inside The Walking Dead: Episodes 1 - 6
A Sneak Peek with Robert Kirkman
Behind The Scenes Zombie Make-Up Tips
Convention Panel with the Producers
The Walking Dead Trailer
Extra Footage (Zombie School, Bicycle Girl, On the Set with Robert Kirkman, Hanging with Steven Yeun, Inside Dale's RV, and On Set With Andrew Lincoln)

Original Review:
When I heard that AMC was going to produce a television series based on the zombie epic "The Walking Dead," I was both concerned and delighted. A bona fide classic in undead lore, Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead" graphic novels are brutal and surprising--not really what I would picture for a basic cable TV show (the first season is only 6 episodes, we'll see where it goes from there). But AMC has produced terrific and prestigious shows like "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," so I was pretty stoked to see what they do with this. Add Frank Darabont of "Shawshank Redemption" fame as the creative force behind the show, and I'm pleased to report that we've got a winner!

For years, I've maintained that the principle themes of Kirkman's vision have little to do with actual monsters. This is a story of human survival, of morality, of loyalty, of sacrifice--of doing anything necessary to carry on without losing the basics of what makes life worth living. The fact that this is occurring within the midst of a zombie apocalypse is just a bonus! Darabont and team are fully on board with the notion that it is humanity, not the undead, driving this epic struggle. So while "The Walking Dead" expertly crafts its horrors, the real emotional weight is conveyed through its characters and the decisions they face on a daily basis.

The story in these six episodes, for the most part, adheres to the first few individual comics or the collected "Volume One: Days Gone By." This is the series' jumping off point--and, in truth, sets things up in a fairly typical way. After being involved in a shoot-out, cop Rick awakes from a coma isolated, but not alone, in a local hospital. Apparently, in the time he was out, something has shifted in the world and now the dead walk. The program introduces Rick and many other principles as he tries to figure out what is happening while he crosses the state to locate his family. On the outskirts of Atlanta, Rick is reunited with his wife Lori, son Carl, and police partner Shane with a group of other survivors. I was afraid, with so much story to draw from, Darabont might rush things. Instead, "The Walking Dead" takes its time setting up the premise, introducing the cast, and establishing a bleak new world. It is a tremendous accomplishment that really allows the viewer to identify with the action, to become emotionally connected with the horror.

There are a few diversions from Kirkman's text, but they actually enhance the drama. I particularly enjoyed the possible introduction of one of the series' greatest villains at a much earlier point--rounding off his back story for a reemeergence in the future. With such a large cast, the standouts in the beginning have got to be the leads--Andrew Lincoln as Rick and Jon Bernthal as Shane. Hopefully, should there be a second season, more of the supporting cast will get to shine--but their early contributions are uniformly fine. Lincoln displays an intriguing balance of strength and vulnerability, but it's Bernthal who is the break-out star for me! The gore and effects are absolutely top notch and should be appreciated by horror aficionados. Those that love zombie mayhem should have more than enough to whet their appetite. But, and this I stress, "The Walking Dead" is sophisticated, adult entertainment that should appeal to viewers who might not ordinarily target this genre as well. This is just great TV, plain and simple, and something unexpected fresh (if you can call rotting flesh fresh) on the TV landscape. KGHarris, 11/10.
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232 of 278 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
When I heard that AMC was going to produce a television series based on the zombie epic "The Walking Dead," I was both concerned and delighted. A bona fide classic in undead lore, Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead" graphic novels are brutal and surprising--not really what I would picture for a basic cable TV show (the first season is only 6 episodes, we'll see where it goes from there). But AMC has produced terrific and prestigious shows like "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," so I was pretty stoked to see what they do with this. Add Frank Darabont of "Shawshank Redemption" fame as the creative force behind the show, and I'm pleased to report that we've got a winner!

For years, I've maintained that the principle themes of Kirkman's vision have little to do with actual monsters. This is a story of human survival, of morality, of loyalty, of sacrifice--of doing anything necessary to carry on without losing the basics of what makes life worth living. The fact that this is occurring within the midst of a zombie apocalypse is just a bonus! Darabont and team are fully on board with the notion that it is humanity, not the undead, driving this epic struggle. So while "The Walking Dead" expertly crafts its horrors, the real emotional weight is conveyed through its characters and the decisions they face on a daily basis.

The story in these six episodes, for the most part, adheres to the first few individual comics or the collected "Volume One: Days Gone By." This is the series' jumping off point--and, in truth, sets things up in a fairly typical way. After being involved in a shoot-out, cop Rick awakes from a coma isolated, but not alone, in a local hospital. Apparently, in the time he was out, something has shifted in the world and now the dead walk. The program introduces Rick and many other principles as he tries to figure out what is happening while he crosses the state to locate his family. On the outskirts of Atlanta, Rick is reunited with his wife Lori, son Carl, and police partner Shane with a group of other survivors. I was afraid, with so much story to draw from, Darabont might rush things. Instead, "The Walking Dead" takes its time setting up the premise, introducing the cast, and establishing a bleak new world. It is a tremendous accomplishment that really allows the viewer to identify with the action, to become emotionally connected with the horror.

There are a few diversions from Kirkman's text, but they actually enhance the drama. I particularly enjoyed the possible introduction of one of the series' greatest villains at a much earlier point--rounding off his back story for a reemeergence in the future. With such a large cast, the standouts in the beginning have got to be the leads--Andrew Lincoln as Rick and Jon Bernthal as Shane. Hopefully, should there be a second season, more of the supporting cast will get to shine--but their early contributions are uniformly fine. Lincoln displays an intriguing balance of strength and vulnerability, but it's Bernthal who is the break-out star for me! The gore and effects are absolutely top notch and should be appreciated by horror aficionados. Those that love zombie mayhem should have more than enough to whet their appetite. But, and this I stress, "The Walking Dead" is sophisticated, adult entertainment that should appeal to viewers who might not ordinarily target this genre as well. This is just great TV, plain and simple, and something unexpected fresh (if you can call rotting flesh fresh) on the TV landscape. KGHarris, 11/10.
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89 of 115 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
++++ NO SPOILERS ++++

I love horror and outre film and television, but, no pun intended, I thought until "The Walking Dead" that the zombie genre was a played out mining town. Starting far back with Bela Lugosi's fantastic "White Zombie" all the way up through the masterpiece "Night of the Living Dead" and ending in satire with the hilarious "Army of Darkness" and "Shaun of the Dead," I thought myself to be on safe ground in this harshly critical assessment. Sometimes, it's a pleasure to be flat wrong.

I watched all six episodes of this, and cannot wait for the next season. It's an ensemble acting piece, so focus never lingers too long on any one particular character. This is a brilliant opening gambit for television since the viewer can, in a way, vicariously share the dread of "just getting to know someone" and then have them ripped away, either by the evil of men, mischance, or zombie attack. Some think that the acting is contrived. I do not. All of the characters are on edge, just up to the point of hysteria, and played consistently thus. True, it can make for one-note dialogue and predictable, archetypal situations, but what other notes might there be in the opening month of the end of the world, and a world not only ending but grown hideously hostile to boot? It will be interesting to see how the actors manage the change into something "else" as they adapt to a zombie-filled world, and I hope they are up to the challenge. From the looks of things thus far, they are.

And this makes the title especially provocative. One would assume that "The Walking Dead" refers to zombies. I am not sure of that at all. Here, the undead are the backdrop to the action, not the action itself. The action lies in the excellent ensemble acting and cleverly turned scripting. It may well unfold that the living are the ones who end up truly meriting that disturbing title, not the once-human shambling mounds of flesh haunting the desolate streets of "Necropolis Atlanta." I have an odd suspicion that by the end of season two, the mindless juggernaut of zombie hordes will be a pale shadow compared to the darker and more malevolent forces that can shape the human soul into something far more fearful and terrifying. And these six shows set up that subtle possibility with suprising elegance as the normal turns suddenly abnormal and the "brave new world" or both urban and rural America comes bloodily undone.

This is not a show for the faint of heart. The make-up and effects for television are very well done and almost entirely convincing. The adult situations, profanity, and desperate sexuality also make "The Walking Dead" unsuitable for minors. But for adults, this is nothing less than a treat and not a "guilty pleasure."

So spread the word. Zombies are back, and very scary again. Almost as scary as the people trying to outlive them. Five stars.
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231 of 303 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
First off let me say I love the series. I like the writing, directing, and the in your face style of filming.
I purchased the "The Complete First Season 3-Disc Special Edition, based on the reviews here.
While watching my new purchase I was EXTREMELY DISAPOINTED while watching Ep.# 2 "Guts" in the scene where they run into the alley to grab the walker to dismember and use his guts and body parts for camouflage, that entire sequence is edited out of this supposedly complete special edition.
It shows them grabbing the walker and bringing him into the building and closing the door and the next thing you see is them walking out the door covered in the guts and parts.
The whole 3-min+ scene is gone where they talk about who he(the walker) was before and starting to chop him into pieces.
One of the most graphic scenes in the series so far and its not on the complete special edition discs!!!

I am equally dumbfounded that previeous reviewers failed to mention this.
Had I known this was an edited edition I would have purchased a non-edited version.

I feel totally ripped off and let down by Amazon and previous reviewers not to have disclosed this until now.

BUYER BEWARE THIS 3-DISC SPECIAL EDITION SERIES IS EDITED !!!!!!!!!!
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31 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
I was riveted by this series. It was fantastic and the quality of every aspect about it made it quite cinematic. It never felt like a television show.

Every zombie movie touches upon the difficulties of adjusting to life once society breaks down. However, in those zombie movies, they are only able to devote a few moments, out of the 90-120 minutes, to that enthralling subject.

In this series they go through a painstaking detail about what it's like to lose your family, dealing with "dangerous" survivors, the logic of racism when there is no longer a real race left, sacrificing survivors for the betterment of the others, how to maintain a family and raise children in an apocolypse, figuring out the vulnerabilities and behavior of the zombies, and whether life is really even worth living in such a bleak world.

The zombies are pretty much secondary since they just exist to create this stunning landscape to establish a top notch drama. This is as good as anything that could be out there. Even my wife, who would never willfully watch a "zombie" movie, was totally engrossed by this captivating drama.

This is a "perfect ten" of a piece of entertainment!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2010
Format: DVD
The first season of AMC's The Walking Dead was subject to a great deal of speculation, hype, and varying degrees of opinion. There were some who thought the hype was too much and that, despite the right components being in place, the show would fail to meet every expectation laid out for it. And there were those who felt that The Walking Dead would break onto the scene and immediately launch itself into the stratosphere of history's greatest television shows while simultaneously reconfiguring the public-at-large's opinion of the horror genre. And, in the end, neither side was truly right. But what is clear is this: The Walking Dead is excellent fare that has occasion to be uneven, but it's tempered in such a way that it takes its time with the characters and never becomes dull or wanders aimlessly. While not the greatest show on television, never mind not being the best show on its network, The Walking Dead is wonderful and innovative television that horror buffs and drama fans alike can stand beside proudly.

As someone who has read the entire run of the comic series to current, I can safely say that Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, and the production team around them manage to hit on the important aspects of the comics and translate them with great efficiency. What they also manage to do successfully is introduce a number of new locales and characters, and deviate (quite distinctly, more often than not) from the source material without infringing on the tone, rather adding layers to the story and planting seeds for future arcs and many happy (or quite the opposite) returns down the road. The Walking Dead strikes an almost perfect balance for adapting a work, expertly recreating powerful scenes that made the comic the success that it is while using artistic license from the considerable talents involved and tweaking the formula in ways conducive to the television format. When the credits roll on the sixth and final episode, the landscape is one considerably different from where the comic left readers after six issues. And that is a comforting thing, as prolonging events (or even altogether avoiding them) that transpire in that first arc allows tension to metastasize and characters to flourish.

The heart of The Walking Dead is, as it is in the comic, the characters. All of the primaries are dutifully played: Rick Grimes, the central protagonist imbued with a natural leadership, is portrayed with conviction and by Andrew Lincoln. The first episodes focus particularly on him and his struggle to locate his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), and their son, Carl (Chandler Riggs). Shane is represented wonderfully with an additional air of menace by Shane Bernthal, who never goes over the top in rendering the character as one on a particularly precarious edge while maintaining the believability that he is, more often than not, a good man and a devoted friend. There seems to be more to do with Lori in the early going here when compared with the comic, and Callies is up to the task, portraying Lori as a strong woman focused on survival, and the deeper exploration of the questionable relationship between her and Shane is made even more potent by their performances. Carl's role is a bit suppressed when compared to the comic, but Riggs handles him well and should serve the role well in later episodes.

What The Walking Dead does extremely well is allow the performers to bring these characters to life, and that extends to the large part of the supporting cast. Jeffrey DeMunn's Dale is the calm, sage-like center, often providing the voice of reason in the wake of the show's darkest moments, and DeMunn plays him with passion and power. Laurie Holden is at her best as Andrea, brimming with real, tangible emotion, particularly in the episodes "Vatos" and "Wildfire," bringing a suitable grace to scenes that pack a heavy emotional punch. Few stones are left unturned, and almost every member of the group of survivors is given nuance. There is very little in the way of cannon fodder characters, and even tertiary characters are given careful consideration. Lennie James' turn as Morgan Jones in "Days Gone Bye" is one that nearly steals the episode away from the main players and certainly calls for a return and a more prominent role in later episodes.

But that isn't to say all characters involved are perfect: Ed Peletier (Adam Minarovich) is little more than a stock domestic monster, and has little to do with his screen time aside from repulsing the viewer as a relatively by-the-numbers wife beater cliche. Merle Dixon is played well by the always exceptional Michael Rooker, but the character is relatively hollow, a racist archetype, who is introduced in the midst of something of a breakdown, spewing racial epithets and endangering (and outright assaulting) other survivors. Rooker's acting (and a bit of timely dialogue) saves the character in the cold open to "Tell It to the Frogs," leaving the hope that the character will return with more complexity and allow Rooker to display his talents further.

What is impressive about The Walking Dead is the verisimilitude with which it carries itself. It plays things razor straight and never deviates into needless exhibition of blood and guts. And for all the emphasis on character and acting, enough cannot be said about the work done by Gregory Nicotero and KNB EFX, rendering the living dead and the gory details in as realistic a manner as possible. And, at times, the show moves at such a pace that one may forget that it is just that: a show about the zombie apocalypse. This is why the show succeeds. It never deemphasizes character in favor of the living dead, rather using the latter as a means to punctuate the story. It succeeds as wonderful television because it can go for nearly entire episodes without utilizing that selling point. There is so much intrigue surrounding the survivors and their stories that when the "walkers" show up, it is not to simply punch things up with some zombies. Rather, it is a reminder that these very human problems are capitulated by the threat of the living dead and the crushing reality of the end of humanity. "Vatos" serves as an exceptional example of this, particularly the ending, using misdirection to make the viewer dread people and what they are capable of before the viewer is reminded of the very real danger of the living dead.

Through six episodes, The Walking Dead relies on extremely compelling performances and pretty exceptional writing and directing, though it occasionally lacks punch, particularly in the wake of the strength of the Darabont-directed first episode. The finale does enough to draw toward the second season, which has quite a bit to live up to. But for the occasional unevenness, the first season of The Walking Dead powers along and serves as something of a screen test for a longer second season. A test that it passed with flying colors, audiences and critics alike eating it up. The first season leaves its audience wanting more, and it makes for exciting, fresh TV and one of the brightest new series to spring up in some time. Fans of the horror genre, as well as compelling television drama such as AMC's own Breaking Bad and Mad Men, should be proud, as The Walking Dead bridges the gap between a well-worn sub-genre and expert storytelling.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )Verified Purchase
I would not describe myself as a zombie fan. That doesn't mean I don't occasionally get lured over to that territory through popular culture or a particularly irresistible bit of story-telling. I have no cable television in my home, but even I'd heard enough buzz on The Walking Dead to be intrigued. After all, it's the same network that brought us Mad Men, and I've been hooked on those DVDs for years. Still, as scary as 60's-era advertising execs are, I wasn't sure I was prepared for zombies. I called my buddy Jimbo and asked, "Will The Walking Dead be too scary for me?" His answer: "Yes. But you have to watch it anyway for the story-telling." As usual, Jimbo was right on both counts.

In the extended pilot episode, a Georgia sheriff's deputy is shot in the line of duty. He eventually awakens, scruffily bearded, in the hospital after an unknown period of time. He is still weak, bandaged, and disoriented. Is he really awake at all? Because he's awoken alone in a nightmare world. The hospital is deserted, and there are terrifying signs of violence everywhere. The morgue has been locked down tight, but there are... things behind the door. Outside, he finds dozens of decaying bodies lined up like logs. So begins Rick Grimes' odyssey in a wholly changed world. Eventually he meets other survivors who explain that the dead have risen and who give Rick the basic info on this brave new world. His only immediate goal is to survive and find his wife and son.

Enough can not be said about the quality of this television series. From performances, design, special effects and makeup, writing, and direction, this series on the small screen rivals anything you'd see on the big screen. I don't believe I've ever seen the horror genre treated with such respect and intelligence. The Walking Dead won't appeal to a universal audience, but there is simply no denying how good it is.

The first season DVDs contain a mere six episodes, but they include a nice variety of DVD extras ranging from several making of-style documentaries to a how to achieve zombie makeup tutorial for Halloween. I was disappointed by the lack of commentary tracks, but hopefully they'll be included next season.

Yes, Jimbo was right. This show is way too scary for me. I watched these episodes one at a time, with the lights on, and not before bed. They truly scared me to the point that I could barely continue watching them. I was cursing Jimbo the whole time and swore that I would not be watching season two. But by the time episodes five and six were viewed, I knew it was hopeless. I'm hooked. I need to know what's going to happen next, but I dread finding out!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
The Walking Dead combines traditional zombie horror genre with traditional soap opera, gives 'em a good shake, and adds a dab of sci-fi for the topping. It's all good -- for those of us who love zombie movies, good old soap opera drama, and sci-fi.

The "high concept" here is the mix of different genres. The zombie genre has evolved to often include some reference into sci-fi -- the question, "Okay, I understand the dead are now walking around eating people -- but, uh, WHY are they doing that, exactly?" (The answer, of course, is always something like "Dr. X mixed the Reanimator serum with the Godzilla Virus, and now it's gone airborne!")

Oh. That explains it.

The weirdo bogus science aside, this series delivers with atmosphere -- the large-scale scenes of deserted streets are more chilling than the scenes of seemingly endless wrecked cars. The gore is not excessive, but it's definitely there -- even if there wasn't a "need" to satisfy gore fans, it's still a realistic part of the plot: dead people walking around, looking to kill living people - something bad WILL happen.

Toss in the tear-jerkers, the messy relationship, and some characters that we can almost but not quite care about, and it's a wrap! It works as a basic thrill flick with some poignant scenes here and there -- it has a bit of trouble (doesn't every movie and TV series?) at times, having an especially bumpy ride due to the lack of any message or central thematic note.

But it gets there. Despite the bumps, the ride gets to its destination, and you wanna be there when it does.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2011
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I bought this box set as I loved the T.V. show and wanted to add it to my collection of movies. And as such, this won't be a review of the T.V. show, as I figure most of you interested in the box set have either seen the show or at least some of it.

I'd like to point out that the video quality isn't up to Blu-Ray standards. By that I mean there are camera shots that are crystal clear then the scene switches to another camera and it is as grainy as an eighties T.V. show on an era correct T.V. To me, that is disappointing and points out that the show didn't have the budget for HD camera's, or something of that sort.

The extras were good and I really liked the mini documentary about the make up used and how they created a "Zombie School" to teach the extras playing zombies how to walk and move about.

Interviews with the cast and director and even Kirkman are also interesting. It was a good jumping off point for me to dive into the books (I bought the compendium after watching season one).

To summarize, the Blu-Ray set isn't worth the money in my opinion as the video quality isn't top shelf all the way through. Let's be honest, you get Blu-Ray because the video quality and sound quality matter to you and you wan that little extra. For me, if the DVD set is the same as the Blu-Ray I can't see why you'd pay the extra money and not get the extra you wanted.

I'm still happy with my purchase and would/have recommended it to quite a few friends.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
The zombie infection is more contagious than even the staunches fan might realize. For the past several days, and this week in particular, I've done my part to spread the infection. My friends, coworkers, and casual acquaintances were unable to protect themselves. My anticipation in regards to the AMC premiere of The Walking Dead has rippled through my social circles. This has almost been like a study on seeing how a zombie outbreak might overwhelm society.

Credit AMC for a brilliant promotional campaign complete with screaming crawlers and even the occasional Emergence Alert screen. The way they kept the initial commercials short, showing larger glimpses as the premiere neared, was a lesson on how to pull off an excellent teaser.

Now, I must confess that there has been a layering sense of concern. After all, I was a huge fan of the Terry Goodkind fantasy epic The Sword of Truth. The only thing the televised version of that series got right was the casting. The program itself had no resemblance to the books other than the names of the central characters. In the lead-up to the premiere of the Walking Dead I went into it almost like a jilted lover.

That notwithstanding, I have recently been likened to a kid waiting for Christmas. My non-zombie-loving friends (gasp! Does such a creature exist?) could not help but be caught up in my enthusiasm. Before long they were pulling me up and asking me questions. Truth be told I have never been so grateful that AMC has built a loyal following with Madmen and Breaking Bad. Their reputation for quality has already been established.

A few even warmed up with the IFC showing of Dead Set. That was sort of like giving steak to an infant, but the British mini-series actually converted a few and amped their anticipation for the Walking Dead.

Most of you are familiar with the story and the characters. If not, I recommend picking up the graphic novels. (feel free to peruse the reviews of The Walking Dead 1-12 posted right here at BuyZombie.com.) what I want to talk about is how this adaptation looked...felt...sounded...adhered. Should the fans who've waited commit to this? Should those new to this amazing graphic novel series open their eyes to what will be the newest BIG THING in horror?

The answer is most assuredly yes.

Congratulations (and a huge thank you) goes to Frank Darabont for not only giving us a faithful adaptation--so far--but added a depth to the characters that further put flesh on the bones to a great story. Not only did he do a superb job in adapting Robert Kirkman's story, you can actually see what he reproduced some of Charlie Adlard picture panels to perfection.

Of course a lot has to be said about the cast. Andrew Lincoln sheds his European accent for a very believable Rick Grimes from Georgia. Jon Bernthal is so likeable that I feel sorry that he is cast as Shane Walsh, Rick's friend and partner.

We can't talk about a zombie story without mentioning the visceral factor...the blood and gore. I think that they (the SFX and production team) set the tone right away in the opening scene. All I need to say is: a little nine- or ten-year-old girl with a teddy bear. YIKES!

Kudos to Darabont and AMC. The Walking Dead is going to be a hit. It is going to bring the entire zombie genre to the next level. Set your DVR, or better yet invite your friends over on Sunday night (who cares if it is on at 10:00 pm.) and make this the event that it deserves to be.
The Walking Dead Part 2
Episode 2 of AMC's brand new mega-hit, The Walking Dead, had a lot of pressure riding on it. The first episode was so well received that it had water-coolers buzzing and even a Monday morning mention from Atlanta based CNN. As a zombie fan, I'm sure I wasn't the only one fielding questions last week by those that got a first taste of our passion. (I use that word collectively, why else would you be cruising this site?)

Tonight was the first time we got to see how Frank Darabont would' flesh out' the story a bit. He gave us some familiar faces in strange places. Readers of the series know that Rick was rescued by Glenn and Glenn alone (also there was no tank.) Andria was introduced in Atlanta and is already displaying the badass female character we have come to love. The biggest divergence is Merle Dixon's introduction. I liked it because it made me hate Dixon right away instead of wondering about him. Michael Rooker did a fantastic casting choice.

Rick's rescue is much more of an event--taking up all of episode 2--and as a fan of the graphic novel, I think I'm okay with it. Getting a glimpse of some of the characters at the base camp as well as part of the group encountered in Atlanta gave me a better understanding of the characters and how they will be used in the series. Obviously, if this went exactly by the book, it would burn through the material much too fast.

One of the side effects of the series as it is currently unfolding is my increased dislike in the character of Lori. Sara Wayne Callies is fantastic at making me dislike her for no real reason. Meanwhile, Steven Yeun amps the likeability factor of Glenn exponentially with every scene.

Here my complaint. The zombie climbing the fence? Not so much. Also...are they fast or slow? I can't tell. Granted, they don't sprint a la 28 days later, but they do get moving in a hurry when they see something they like. I half expected the zombie from episode one that got off the bus and later saw Rick on the tank to recognize them during the escape. The series seemed to tread a fine line with its zombie continuity in episode two.

Enough can still not be said about the effects being used in this made-for-tv series. So far it's enjoyable to watch but I will be waiting to see if Darabont blinks when he has to off the first of his cast that people are getting to know and love. Readers of the series are very familiar with the fact that Robert Kirkman has no qualms with taking out a character or two every so often. We all know some of the casualties looming on the horizon.

Overall the episode was satisfying. I did get elbowed in the ribs once or twice and asked by my friends "can you really smear yourself with zombie guts and get away?" In Kirkman's world the answer is yes and I remember how clever it was when I read it in episode one of the graphic novel.

The Walking Dead Part 3
The worst part about writing these reviews for the hit AMC series, The Walking Dead, is that on the first showing I have to take notes and jot down ideas. This keeps me from actually watching the program for the sheer enjoyment factor. I have to save that for one of the replays. But...enough of my meaningless complaints.

So, we start getting a better look at some of the supporting cast in this episode. We've met Glen and Andria, and of course there is the very likeable (?) Shane, and Rick's family: wife Lori and son carl. This is all about getting a taste of Dale, the adorable Amy, and the "charming" Daryl Dixon. That first group of names are people that we the people already know and have our minds made up on. And then there are the "strangers" (i.e. Daryl, T-Dog and some of the bodies running around in the background). Like former fave LOST, these look like potential cannon fodder as well as bodies to fill out the scenery.

With the rescue mission of the eldest Dixon brother being coupled with the original `gun run' from the graphic novel, we get our first glimpse of hero-complex that will come to define Rick Grimes. What must be commented on and complimented on is how well all of this is being dovetailed and layered in the opening episodes.

Each of the actors and actresses being used in this story are proving to mesh wonderfully. There is a lot being done with body language and facial expressions in the scenes and in the background. Despite any of the credits that these people have piled up, the only familiar face for me was Shane (Jon Bernthal).

So now everything is in place. The normally tedious character introductions have been handled masterfully and are basically over as we hit the half way point in this six-episode season. (We can only hope that the success of this series will bring a longer season WHEN it returns.)

Of course, now is when the questions start to build for many of the fans who have read the series. They're sitting right there on the tips of our tongues, and as we sit next to those unfamiliar to the story, we struggle to hold back and reveal nothing. It is now that we must take that leap of faith and trust that Mr Darabont and company will keep to the structure of the story while continuing to add to the depth that makes this feel almost like we're getting bonus material in a re-release of volume one, Days Gone Bye.

As of now, I am left with one raised eyebrow over a single line spoken by Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) "You were the one that told me that he died." And despite what we know about the future story line as originally written, I cant be the only one who truly enjoyed Shane's beat-down of Ed. Doesn't that earn him at least a few Redemption Points?
Episode three of AMC's The Walking Dead earns an Early Release for more and continued character development as well as a cast that does not have a single weak link.

The Walking Dead episode 4

Doubtless, you know by now, that AMC has renewed The Walking Dead for a second season. I urge everyone to email them with praise and words of thanks. Even better news, we'll get thirteen episodes instead of six. Now...on to the show.

Loss. A very common theme in the zombie genre. What didn't we say when we had the chance? Why didn't we appreciate this or that until it was too late? We now get some very real taste of that from many of the characters -both major and supporting--in the Walking Dead's fourth episode. It ads some excellent depth, and ties us as viewers to the story in a way that the splatter fests that past themselves off as zombie fiction often fall short.

However, this episode is the first to really raise some of those Legend of the Seeker flags. The senior citizens...thugs with hearts of gold...brave granny. All nice touches but Kirkman's story already has plenty of depth as well as material. Ever since episode one, this story has edged farther and farther away from the original. And this time, it felt like somebody grabbed the wheel and yanked it. With only 2 episodes left, the Walking Dead seems to be walking a fine line where it risks loosing its core...the fans of the graphic novel.

Of course, as soon as I started getting that sinking feeling...the campsite massacre happens. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the brutal and violent endings of Amy, Ed, and a bunch of faces in the crowd save the day. As those characters bit the big one(forgive the expression) the ship was suddenly righted once more. One hundred and forty seven seconds. That is how long it took to put everything back on track. All is tight in the Walking Dead world.

Now that all of the serious stuff is out of my system, did Glenn have the best line in this episode or what. After laying out a very well designed plan to retrieve the gun bag, Daryl asked "hey, kid, what did you do before this?" Glenn's answer was: "delivered pizza. Why?"

Daryl's insistence in rescuing Glenn, who he'd earlier referred to as a Chinaman when Glenn is in fact a Korean, offers up a subtle but yet deeper glimpse at a person who, up to this point, could easily be dismissed as a typical red neck racist. It will be interesting to see how his role develops within the group. Also, with the loss of Amy, I think it is safe for fans to assume that lives will not be spared in typical Hollywood fashion. (also this event is a major catalyst for Andria -one of my favorite characters in the graphic novel--who begins to unfold as someone far more complex than we've seen so far.

In an episode that began to scare me in a way that had nothing to do with the content, I am thrilled to see that the story line is back on track in the best hour of the series so far.

Walking Dead Episode 5

There have been some grumblings out there about AMC's newest hit, The Walking Dead. Having read a multitude of interviews, I was already prepared for some story stretching and deviations from the original plot. However, this doesn't seem to be the gripe. Apparently if there isn't a disembowelment or a zombie getting its head blown off in every scene, some folks aren't happy. Heaven forbid there be actual character depth and story content. My guess is that these complaints are coming from the same people who mumble, "braaains!" when they think they are imitating a zombie. Those same people completely miss the idea that if the first wave of zombies ate their victims brains, then there wouldn't be any new zombies. Anyways, enough ranting...onto episode 5.

This episode went a long way to leave an impression in regards to the individual characters in the story. I believe that this sort of cinema is exactly what the zombie genre needs to be taken seriously. Great stories can overcome the stereotype, and the walking dead is proof. How many rehash versions of Romero's Dawn of the Dead do we need? In Episode 5, we now have very real people, full of flaws. They're individuals that we can identify with, understand, or dislike. How many of us have fantasized about the zombie apocalypse? What sort of super powers or McGiver like abilities do we bestow upon ourselves during these musing? The beauty of what Darabont did here in pulling Kirkman's characters out of a two-dimensional medium and giving them 3 dimensional depth needs to be applauded in this episode.

With one installment to go, we now have a group of people that aren't merely faces on the screen. How many of you are still fans of Shane now? I for one am absolutely NOT disappointed in season one. (Other than it only being 6 episodes). We now have proof that the zombie can be main-stream. Even better, unlike vampires, there's no need to make things pretty.

Fans of all things zombie should rejoice. We are no longer second rate citizens in the world of horror. And, while some will doggedly resist this movement by cleaning to B grade standards and stereotypes and being more impressed by body count and blood splatter than by character and content we will embrace what can only be called an upgrade.

As a final note, if somebody knows the composer responsible for the soundtrack of this show, I would love to know who it is.

Walking Dead episode 6

It is almost bittersweet. AMC's the Walking Dead has completed its sixth episode run. For the most part, it has won over the hearts of many, while also bringing fresh blood to the ranks of those who are now fan to the zombie genre.

The fact that this episode spun away from the original storyline and embarked on a tangent unique to the television version, certainly had me curious as to the direction this finale would take. There is a certain smug self-satisfaction to be had when watching the program with foreknowledge of what will occur. Sitting next to someone who is commenting on what a `hottie' the character of Amy is while knowing she is destined for an unhappy ending is fun. But like many fans of the graphic novel series, I had no idea what the hell was going to happen tonight.

Loveable Shane is now the ultimate heel. In a span of the first fifteen minutes. But...we know what he saw at the hospital and he is still a tragic hero...until he tries to force himself on his partner and so-called best friend's wife.

Next, we get one of the most in-depth explanations of the question we always ask, but never expect an answer to. Once again we don't actually get a `why', but we do get a bit of a `what'; as in, "what is this?" the demonstration on the giant monitor of Test Subject #19 gives us something. For many (like myself) that whole segment was almost unnecessary. For folks getting their first taste...I'm sure it was fascinating.

As far as the CDC arc of this story, I guess if they weren't certain that the series would be picked up (AMC is still a business after all) there had to be a decision going into production on how to wrap up this series on such a short run. Doing this leaves an opening to return to the original story. It strayed before and as we saw in episode 4, Derabont and company can be back on track in a matter of seconds.

What we got in the final segment was the bonding of Dale and Andria, the death of another `extra' character (Jacqui) and the deepening of the wedge between Rich and Shane. We even got a whispered secret from the doomed doctor Jenner just before Rick and his people depart (my guess is that the blood test results on his pregnant wife). There is a conclusion of sorts, and a pretty explosion, but of course we all know that there is plenty of story to tell.

This series will be a hit for seasons to come. (Which begs the question, how are they going to keep Carl young unless they've hired an actor that carries the Gary Coleman-Webster gene?) It uses the zombies in small doses instead of relying on them as a crutch. This is not a B thriller or a cheap series, it is a STORY. I said it in my series of reviews about the Kirkman graphic novel series, and I will repeat it here: the zombie genre has a new king. All hail the King.
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