Random fact about me: I cannot stand gory movies. I get queasy on scenes depicting blood and gore. I saw Ninja Assassin with my eyes closed on most of the bloody sequences. The only reason I saw it is because of the lead star.
So why, you may ask, am I blogging about The Walking Dead, a US series about what happens when a zombie apocalypse dawns upon us?
Simple. The Walking Dead is not about zombies. In the strictest sense of the word.
The Walking Dead is a TV series on the US-cable channel AMC which is based on a graphic novel of the same title. It’s now on its second season, with episode 1 airing last week. The first season was aired almost a year ago with only six episodes, with another six-part webisode uploaded in between.
I got interested with this series due to the usual reason why I get interested about most things: people are saying good things about it, so I decided to check it out. It took a while before I made that decision, though, because as I’ve said, I’m not fond of gory movies. But I’ve been reading stuff like, “it’s actually a soap opera; there just happened to be zombies lurking around them” and there were complaints that there weren’t enough zombies to satisfy them, so I figured that maybe it won’t be as bad as I think. My download of Season 1 took a while, so I ended up watching the webisodes first to get the hang of it.
Hmmm… it’s not bad. Not bad at all. It’s creepy in a Twilight Zone kind of way, but it’s the atmosphere that does that. Not the zombies themselves.
So finally I popped in episode 1. Within half a day, I finished Season 1 (well, given that there were only six episodes, it’s not very hard to do). Yes, there were icky moments (I won’t specify for the benefit of those who haven’t seen it and might not want to be spoiled) particularly in the first two episodes but after that, I kinda got used to the zombies (actually, they don’t use the term ‘zombies’ here; they call it ‘walkers’) that I don’t even view them as people who are undead. They’re just… dummies with good SFX work. Yeah, that worked for me.
I think the other factor that made me forget about the yucky undead creatures is the fact that the reviews are right. This is just a soap opera with zombies thrown in. The main issue being dealt is how people cope with surviving amidst the chaos of facing the unknown. Would it be bad to save yourself and your family first and not think of the others? What would you do if someone you deeply cared for has died and became the ‘enemy’ who is out to kill you? Who is the real enemy, is it the undead monsters or the living ones?
And then there’s the individual issues: fidelity and loyalty, family values, bigotry, violence on women, raising a child in the face of adversity, etc etc. I’ve also read the graphic novel because I want to know more about these characters and how different is the TV series compared to the original comics and found out that there’s more to this than what was already shown. Honestly, I don’t think they can completely translate the comics to the drama version. The zombies are something out of Disney compared to what the living characters went through. The issues dealt in the comics are so disturbing that I don’t think the TV viewing public are ready for it. I’ll just give one example: kids with guns.
The story is dark, sad and gruesome. It shows the extent of what a man can do for him and his love ones to survive. It’s definitely not sunshine and flowers and all that, but somehow, it works for me. I get the message. I couldn’t wait for the next episode of both the TV series and the graphic novel to come out so that I’ll see what happens next.
PS: Here’s one motivation to watch further: The Korean guy in the cast is cute.