With season 6 of The Walking Dead due to premiere 11 October 2015, I’m taking you back to where it all began with my season 1 review published on AMH Network…
The Walking Dead – Season 1
While on holidays recently I was stranded indoors due to inclement weather. Although I was unable to enjoy the beauty that is South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula I was able to enjoy what the remainder of the world has long been obsessed with: The Walking Dead. In hindsight I am thankful for the storm that hit us because otherwise I would quite possibly never have been privy to such awesomeness on my television screen.
As an avid viewer, reader and at times believer of all things undead since the age of 12, I was prepared for the newest instalment of the genre. I was not disappointed.
Based on a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, The Walking Dead premiered in the United States in 2010 and in Australia in 2012. It focused on the zombie apocalypse and how the survivors well, survive.
Protagonist and Sherriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was shot in the line of duty pre-apocalypse. He awakened to zombies, or walkers as they are referred to, roaming the streets. His initial quest was to find his wife and child who he was adamant had survived. Indeed they had and by all accounts had also moved on with their lives. Rick’s wife Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) and their son Carl (Chandler Riggs) had joined forces with Rick’s partner and best friend Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal), Andrea (Laurie Holden) and her sister Amy (Emma Bell), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), Glenn (Steven Yeun), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Carol (Melissa Suzanne McBride) and her daughter Sophia (Madison Lintz) amongst a handful of others whose presence was secondary. Curiously, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon was credited only as a guest star during season 1 despite portraying a character that was more prominent than some permanent cast members. One imagines this indicated there would be a rapid demise for the character.
The first 3 episodes of the season introduced almost all the key characters and laid the foundation for pending storylines. In a nutshell Lori was sleeping with Shane a few months after Shane convinced her Rick had died. Imagine her shock when Rick arrived at the camp very much alive. Awkward! Shane was unable to extinguish his love for Lori and this storyline continued for the remainder of the season. Lori, the loving wife that she is, didn’t tell Rick about her affair.
Episode 4 ‘Vatos’ slightly altered the path being followed and prepared you for events that eventually became the norm in this new post-apocalyptic world: additional survivors were introduced. This had the group not only struggling to overcome the myriad of walkers that they were faced with, but the new survivors also. After an initial standoff the two groups exchanged pleasantries and parted ways. This meeting served to highlight that pockets of survivors existed across the United States who were also fighting for survival and were potentially unwilling to fight for the same cause. The conclusion of the episode was gruesome with a large proportion of the group being attacked and killed by a herd of
walkers and subsequently re-killed by others in the group.
Episode 5 ‘Wildfire’ and episode 6 ‘TS-19’ had the group reach and inhabit the Atlanta Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where Dr Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) was attempting to ascertain the cause and possible resolution of the process that created walkers. However, the group’s time at the CDC was short lived as was season 1 which concluded after episode 6. This tactic was extremely effective for it was just enough time to allow you to become involved with the storyline yet left you hanging and yearning for season 2.
The impact of The Walking Dead is apparent from episode 1. It picks you up without warning and slams you to the ground with such force that you’re left stunned yet strangely wanting more. The gore level is high but watchable, even for the squeamish, thanks to the exceptional 24 person strong series make up department. The volume of the cast is ample to begin with but approximately half of them are culled before the conclusion of the season including key characters, but not Daryl rendering my prior prediction incorrect. This is a timely reminder to audiences that loss is a primary component of this series and to expect it often; become attached to the characters at your own will.
Season 1 successfully grabs you hook, line and sinker. The question now is whether season 2, due to air in the United States in October 2012, can continue along the same amazing path that has been paved.