In 2003, Image Comics (Spawn, Invincible) published a comic book series titled, “The Walking Dead.” Created by Robert Kirkman & Tony Moore, the series centers around a cop named, Rick Grimes who wakes up from a coma in a hospital after being shot in the line of duty. He finds out the world is overrun by zombie epidemic. He reunites with his family and forms a truce with survivors as they seek shelter in the hopes of restarting a new life. The Walking Dead ran from 2003-2019 with a total of 193 issues. AMC purchased the rights to adapt the comic book into a television series with Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist) as a showrunner.
The Walking Dead’s first season officially aired in 2010 (same year Young Justice aired) on AMC. It received positive reviews from critics, fans and viewers alike. The series spawned a few seasons, video games, merchandise, t-shirts, action figures and spin-off series “Fear The Walking Dead.” After airing for a decade, The Walking Dead’s 11th season will end the series. I’m looking back at previous seasons to refresh my memory before I watch the final season.
Today’s review contains no SPOILERS. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Positive & Negative Aspects
Positive: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jon Bernthal, Steven Yeun, Melissa McBride, IronE Singleton, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn & Chandler Riggs all did an excellent job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Steven went on to star in another Image Comics based series known as “Invincible.”
Frank Darabont developed the series. He serves as an executive producer.
Frank mentioned “Night of the Living Dead” as a key influence. He’s also a fan of zombie films.
James Gunn’s good luck charm, Michael Rooker plays Daryl’s brother.
Bear McCreary (Godzilla: King of the Monsters, God of War 2018 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) orchestrated the soundtrack.
Practical Effects were heavily used to bring zombies and brutal kills to life.
Chemistry between Rick, Daryl, Shane and other characters serve as the main highlight. They must cooperate as a team if they want to survive the zombie outbreak.
Primary Themes are Fear, Guilt, Terror, Loss, Survival & Family. Each one is handled maturely.
Negative: Cinematography can be shaky at times.
Episode 1 – Days Gone Bye
Rick wakes up at a hospital. He looks for Lori & Carl. Then he meets Morgan & Duane. They give him some info on how to defeat a zombie.
Opening Scene establishes the tone of the series.
Prior to the zombie apocalypse, Rick & Shane having a conversation about their daily lives and working on patrol as cops.
Before the end credits, a cool shot of a tank panning out.
Episode 2 – Guts
Cold Opening will make you gasp.
Rick, Glenn and the others are trapped in a department store. I gotta love the idea to mask themselves in zombie blood. Reminds me of “Shaun of the Dead.”
One character is left behind.
Episode 3 – Tell it to the Frogs
Fan favorites, Daryl & Carol make their first appearances.
The Survivors decide if they want to tell Daryl the truth about his brother.
Rick and his posse return to the department to find Daryl.
Shane nearly crosses a line. His deep dark secret is indirectly mentioned.
Episode 4 – Vatos
Robert Kirkman wrote this episode.
Glenn comes up with a strategy to retrieve Rick’s bag of guns.
Jim acts a bit odd.
Rick makes an exchange with former medical staff.
A zombie attack ensues.
Episode 5 – Wild Fire
After a brutal camp fight, Rick and his posse head to the CDC for shelter.
Jim has a fever.
Dale has a bittersweet talk with Andrea about his past.
The Survivors bid their allies farewell.
Episode 6 – TS-19
Season Finale’s title is named after a test subject.
A flashback shows Shane at the hospital trying to get Rick out of here.
The Survivors enter the CDC occupied by a scientist. At first, everything seems okay. Then, they realize it’s not paradise. They also learn about the titular test subject.
Jacqui makes a sad decision.
Shane almost crosses a huge line.
The Final Verdict: A-
The Walking Dead’s first season is a strong start of a bingeworthy series. If you’re new to the series, read the comics or watch the show.