TheWalkingDead is not just a TV hit, it’s a bizarre human drama.
ONE recent episode of The Walking Dead was definitely a top contender for the most deliciously gross scene in television history.
In a desperate ploy to escape undetected by the zombies crowding downtown Atlanta, Sheriff Rick Grimes decided to fool them with a deathly masquerade.
He found a zombie carcass and chopped it up with an axe, then smeared hunks of these goopy remains on his clothing. But he did it with respect. Rick, a man of conscience, first took a moment to mourn the ordinary guy this monster used to be.
Rick’s fellow refugee, Glenn, who used to deliver pizza, was no less aghast at Rick’s plan than were the viewers.
“If bad ideas were an Olympic event,” said Glenn, “this would take the gold.”
But the ruse worked – at least, until a sudden rainstorm outed Rick and Glenn by rinsing off their gutsand-stench disguise. They had to make a run for it.
By turns macabre, suspenseful, poignant and horribly funny, The Walking Dead is in a class by itself. So maybe it’s no wonder that this AMC drama was an instant hit with its premiere Halloween night, drawing more than 5.3 million viewers, followed the next week by an audience nearly as large.
Based on the popular comic book of the same name, The Walking Dead depicts the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse confronted by a tattered group of survivors just outside Atlanta.
Principal among them is Rick (played by Andrew Lincoln), who, in the series premiere, woke alone in a hospital from a gunshot-woundinduced coma to find the world has flipped upside down. His wife and young son were among the missing. He fears they have died.
Now Rick and a band of other humans who survived the invasion must defend themselves against these so-called walkers, creatures always hungry for something – like a human – to feed on.
Happily, The Walking Dead not only defies horror-movie cliches, but also charts its own course in dramatising a hideous plague and a shattered society.
As one counterintuitive twist, this series must be one of the quietest TV shows on record. Long, meditative stretches target characters trying to make sense of what’s befallen them in such a soundless fashion you may think your TV is on the fritz.
Even the zombies, unless provoked, don’t make much racket – mostly plaintive hisses and whimperings that can make you ache for them as much as recoil.
“I’m sorry this happened to you,” Rick said to one of them, a wretch whose lower half was gone, as she dragged her ruined torso across the ground with gnarled arms. Rick’s single shot put her out of her misery. But there are always more.
The series is beautifully styled and photographed, whether in the ravaged bleakness of downtown Atlanta, which has fallen to the zombies, or the piney-woods
Acting like zombies: Steven Yeun (left) and Andrew Lincoln (right) trying to blend in with the zombie population in a scene from