Andrew Lincoln, Frank Darabont - First View: The Walking Dead

Joe Coyle 14/11/2010

GITTV's Joe Coyle evaluates 'The Walking Dead' the new TV show based on the comic book of the same name.

Based on a monthly black and white comic book comes the latest supernatural drama from the states developed by Frank Darabont, the director of the Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.

This time the vampires are nowhere to be seen.
Set in the deep south of the U.S.A. Andrew Lincoln(This Life, Teachers) plays Police officer Rick Grimes who wakes up in a hospital after being shot in a high octane car chase to find a post apocalyptic zombie nation and sets out on the search for his missing family. Lincoln follows in a long line of Brits losing his accent for the part. He affects a very convincing Southern American accent and his performance in general is fantastic as most of the pilot rests on his assured shoulders.

Eerily bleak, the first episode grows very cinematically. While some of the early scenes are reminiscent of 28 days later, quickly the plot steers away onto its own we are dragged into Grimes' world filled with unknowing and fear. Always authentic with no mention of the word zombie! The silence pervades every piece of the pilot and the gore is not paired back at all. The special effects are exemplary and oh so real. Its shocking and scary and the atmosphere is unrelenting and keeps building until you reach the edge of your seat.

Rick's search for his family gives the first episode an emotional resonance and his meeting with Morgan and his son both serves as a exposition for the audience and a clever plot device to show the personal devastation the apocalypse has caused and points Rick in the direction of possible fellow survivors.
Its use of wide open spaces and daylight make a change for the horror genre but they add to the desolation of the piece and the atmosphere is heightened by the ever impending attack by the “Walkers”.

The scope is vast and it has fantastic production values. Darabont's camera work and direction highlights the post apocalyptic world perfectly with wide shots highlighting the journey of Rick searching for his family. Sometimes neo western in its feel, it is an excellent start to a TV show which has to now build on a impressive beginning and in Darabont they have a creator who provides a safe and talented pair of hands.
For once a TV show that lives up to its hype!

The Walking Dead is shown in the UK on the FX channell every Friday at 10pm.