Monday, December 06, 2010

‘The Walking Dead’: Zombie spectacle, scarred survivors

(Published Dec. 6, PDI-Entertainment)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit


The horror-drama series “The Walking Dead,” developed by filmmaker Frank Darabont, depicts a bleak world swarmed by hungry zombies. Based on the critically acclaimed comic book written by Robert Kirkman, the TV series incredibly recreates the essence of the source material, while introducing some new characters and situations that keep the concept fresh and unpredictable.

It follows the post-apocalyptic activities of a small band of survivors in Atlanta, led by cop Rick Grimes (Brit actor Andrew Lincoln), who is believed dead by his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs).

Like the comic book, the show focuses on the uneasy alliance between traumatized humans, who must constantly evade the undead and scavenge for food and supplies.

The first “Walking Dead” episode aired simultaneously on four cable channels, a few days after airing in the United States. The show debuted impressively, with an estimated 5.3 million viewers tuning in for the season opener last Halloween. Its success in 120 countries has already guaranteed a second season next year.

Darabont “can’t wait” to get to certain story lines and two important characters from the comics, according to reports. “Walking Dead” presents an eerie, almost agoraphobic atmosphere; the zombies clogging up city streets are extra-menacing, thanks to grotesque prosthetics and tight “choreography” (go online and check out how “WD” extras are trained in “zombie school”).

Dramatic moments are just as memorable. Whether it’s Rick tearfully reuniting with his family, or other characters remembering life before the zombie onslaught, the quieter scenes substantiate, and are accessible. “Walking Dead” also examines human behavior; this harshly changed world has scarred the survivors differently. Some in Rick’s small group are alpha males, and that dynamic has proven problematic to their coexistence. And some survivors are already dangerous in their own ways, threatening to destroy the fragile new community in ways that the relentless zombies can’t.

“The Walking Dead” airs Fridays, 11 p.m., on FX. The season finale will air on Dec. 10, while the season one marathon will air on Dec. 18, 11:10 p.m.

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