Walk­ing tall

TheWalkingDead is not just a TV hit, it’s a bizarre hu­man drama.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - by FRAZIeR mOORe

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

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