If you’ve seen one zombie movie, you’ve probably seen them all. The premise is simple: A man goes on a journey to find his family and/or a safe haven from the zombie scourge, encountering undead trouble along the way. AMC’s new series The Walking Dead follows the same script.
Based on a comic book, The Walking Dead premieres at 10pm on Halloween, the perfect night for a zombie series. The show has the beautiful cinematic scope you’d expect from AMC, but despite a few interesting twists, it all feels very familiar. I wanted to like it a lot more than I did.
The opening features a cop named Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who wakes up in the hospital to find it empty, except for all the dead bodies and mysterious groaning creatures in a locked room. If this sounds like the opening of 28 Days Later, that’s because it is.
This is the show’s biggest problem. Anyone who’s ever seen a zombie movie will feel like they’ve already seen this movie before, only now it’s a TV show. How The Walking Dead will last as a series is a bit of a mystery, but the final scene of the pilot does provide a possible escape plan.
What the pilot doesn’t explain is what caused the zombie outbreak. Instead, Rick meets a survivalist and his son who vaguely explain that the bite infects you and the only way to kill them is by destroying the brain. Other than a few scenes with these two, the pilot is almost entirely a one-man show with Rick in search of his wife and son.
This brings us to the show’s second problem, which is that watching one man wander around, running from zombies, becomes a bit repetitive. Dialogue is only in about half the pilot, while the other half is like a silent movie. More intriguing is a tiny caravan of survivors who will be playing a major role in the future of the show.
Overall, I think the idea of a zombie TV series is better than the reality of it. If you’ve ever seen a zombie get shot in the head or a man quietly walking down an abandoned road only to have a horde of zombies right around the corner, then The Walking Dead will feel eerily familiar.
(Image courtesy of AMC)