A show that has been running for 10+ seasons; The Walking Dead quickly managed to make its mark across television audiences. The show changes along the course of its long run; starting with a horror-survival type concept, it then switches up gears and turns into a show about humans being the real threat. The show that is based off of the comics of the same name by Robert Kirkman; often switches up things as showrunners Angela Kang and Scott Gimple try to add a new and refreshing take on it.
Sheriff’s deputy, Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to find out that his family is missing as an outbreak has caused the apocalypse. The first episode which was directed by legendary director, Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) basically follows Rick on his journey to learn about the state of the world as he encounters Morgan Jones who teaches him about their situation.
Starting off as a show central to Rick Grimes and his wife and son; the show is quick to introduce us with a fine and talented cast; including the likes of Jon Bernthal (Daredevil) and Steven Yeun (Okja). The show in its first few seasons is about the humans against the zombies; but they actually don’t call them zombies.
As we are introduced to new worlds and locations such as the farm, the prison; we meet new foes as well. The show brilliantly plans the introduction of new characters; the story giving enough time and set up for even the villains to showcase their humanity. A show mostly about killing ugly looking dead creatures; it has a lot of heart since it focuses so much on its characters and their relationships instead of mindless killing and zombie fighting.
No good show can survive so long despite the promising action sequences or the CGI fights. This is where the walking dead excelled in its first few seasons. Director Frank Darabont was in charge of the show for the first 2 seasons and this was reflected in the quality of dialogue and delivery.
The show always looks to give a lot of room for the characters to breathe and create realistic emotions. This is why the deaths are even sadder since we actually invest into the characters. The screenplay does a good job of fitting large chunks of comic plots and character dynamics in just 16 episodes; but as the seasons have progressed the writing has face problems with quality and consistency.
After Scott Gimple took over the show in season 4; the show seemed to face problems in its pacing. Countless episodes were written to be episode long spin-offs or fillers; often focusing on less important characters in order to save the budget for the finale episodes. The pacing thus creates an issue; since for every great episode of the show; we normally get a couple slow dialogue heavy episodes that do not really push the story forward. The problem also emerges due to clunky or pretentious dialogue taking away from the realism of the show at times.
This is a difficult task since the show has survived for a long time; so coming up with new or original ideas can sometimes be an issue. But the screenplay does have some pretty memorable dialogues; that allow charismatic characters such as the villain; Negan to shine through.
Characters and acting
Despite the few problems that this show may have faced in its 10 season on-going run; we cannot appreciate this talented cast enough. Andrew Lincoln plays the lead Rick Grimes; and delivers an absolutely ruthless and brilliant performance. Each season focuses heavily on its character who goes through a lot of development; so we see him as a happy go lucky father trying to protect his children; but also a cold and calculated leader of his group; who will do anything to protect his people.
The show features a star-studded ensemble including actors such as Melissa Mcbride, Lauren Cohen, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and many more talented actors. The brilliant and realistic performances allowed the show to take some pressure away from the lead protagonist; switching to a more ensemble set-up as the yars progressed.
Special mention to Jeffrey Morgan’s Negan and Melissa Mcbride’s Carol; who steal the show with their brilliant portrayals of their respective characters. As good as the acting is; it is a shame that Andrew Lincoln in particular has not won an Emmy for his brilliant portrayal as Rick Grimes.
Music and cinematography
The walking dead features various genres of music from classical to even op rock in episodes according to the tone. The theme song which was created by Bear McCreary; fits the tone of the show and is quite easy to follow. What the show does well is create different tunes for its villains. The governor and Negan have their own spine-chilling entrances that are further heightened because of their own theme that stands out.
The show has seen a variety of directors including a fellow cast-mate Michel Cudlitz who directed an episode of season 10. Some of the best set-pieces and cinematography has come through Greg Nicotero; who is also a regular make-up artist on the show. The show stands out with its zombie designs, often adding more and more layers of complexity as the seasons go by. Although; the filming is quite good for a cable network show; some errors with the CGI do bring the quality slightly down.
The Walking Dead is simply a television classic that has to be on top of your bucket list if you haven’t already seen it. It has everything from great acting, huge action sequences to shocking deaths and emotional moments that will leave you coming back for more.