TV Throwback: The Walking Dead Season 1. : ThyBlackMan

Sunday, June 16, 2019


TV Throwback: The Walking Dead Season 1.

May 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Ent., Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.comThe Walking Dead is one of the popular shows on television. Every time a new season starts, it’s on. Sometimes the season starts off hot then over a few episodes it’ll cools. Once it cools, it picks back up with the mid-season finale and the season finale. This is just what it does.

I sat out on The Walking Dead’s first season. There was just too much buzz and “must watch TV” that my natural instinct to resist watching kicked in. I started watching it right before the fourth season premiere. It had been on Netflix for some time and I figured “I guess I’ll watch it, I’ve got nothing better to do.”

What a decision that was!

A Great Kick Off

So, in the first season we have deputies Rick Grimes and his best friend Shane Walsh. After a chase and standoff gone wrong—for Rick, anyway—we have Rick waking up in a mostly abandoned hospital. He finds that a gunfight of some kind took place there. He investigates and finds that something isn’t right, the place is overrun with monsters.

Upon leaving the hospital and walking back to his neighborhood, he encounters his first actual zombie. As you might expect, he doesn’t immediately register what’s going on. It isn’t until he is knocked out by kid and nursed back to consciousness that the kid’s father, Morgan da Gawd fills him on what little he knows.

With this information and after giving Morgan and his son some parting gifts, Rick leaves to find his wife and son. This is the start of his adventure into the world of The Walking Dead and the seeds of how he goes from a guy trying to do the right thing and be the leader everyone needs to a guy who is simply trying to keep his people, his new family, alive.

It’s A Strong Adaptation

Those first six episodes were great and really had you wanting to tune in for more! I’d watched the series before getting into the comic which is different in some parts. Rick does wake up from his coma and meet Morgan and his son, he runs into Glenn the Legend when trying to get through Atlanta, and he does eventually meet up with his family and Shane again.

The show gives us some changes that I enjoyed. A run-in with gang members protecting the elderly was a bit of a throwaway episode but it was a good one. Shane survives the season while he dies early in the comic. The CDC episode was extremely good and probably my favorite of that season if I’m not including the second and third.

Mind you, the first season was just six episodes but it’s what AMC does. You’ve got to give that sample and see if viewers come back. That said, there was no visit to the CDC in the comic. Also, Merle and Darryl aren’t characters in comic but become two of the series’ most popular ones.

Origin of The Walking Dead’s Zombies

The way the first season kicked off pulled me in. See, TWD follows some tropes of zombie media. The main thing is that the question as to why there are zombies is never really explained. Sure, in Resident Evil there’s a whole backstory with the T-virus and the Umbrella Corporation. Mind you, that virus does more than make zombies but there’s a reason for their existence.

In the TWD clone—a very good one—Z Nation, the ZN1 virus doesn’t have a clear origin but it’s known not to be supernatural in origin. This is mainly sorted out to a cure being researched throughout the series. Now, this isn’t the case with say George Romero’s Living Dead series.

The Walking Dead’s zombies are closer to the virus end without it being explicitly said. In the television show, the lone researcher at Atlanta’s Center for Disease Control said that the virus exists in everyone. In the comic book, Rick comes to the conclusion that the walking dead aren’t the zombies but the survivors themselves. All of this is just a march towards an eventual end.

Questions Unanswered

Never mind the origin of the zombies, I always wondered what happened to the Latinx family that was originally at the camp. They said that they would try to find family in Birmingham—I marked so hard when my hometown was mentioned—then that was it.

I know it wasn’t going to be explored because they weren’t even minor characters, they were between background scenery and minor characters. It ultimately doesn’t matter but I occasionally wonder about that. I also wonder what happened to the Latino street gang that was housed in the retirement home.

Did they stay until the seniors passed? Were they overrun and died? If they were overrun, did anyone survive? Did some particularly violent survivors wipe them out or did they end up joining them?

Verdict

This was an excellent first season. One of—if not the—best I’ve ever watched. Zombie stuff just works for TV and video games because there’s time to develop stories, characters, backstory and all of that.

Something like TWD really grabbed my imagination and that bit of fear in me that like Rick, I could wake up one day and find that everything I never thought could happen is happening. That fictional horror is now reality. It was the perfect way to build that.

There are no critically weak episodes here since each one is good at the minimum. The Walking Dead’s first season hits all of that out of the park and is something I go back to watch annually or whenever it’s on TV. If you haven’t checked it out yet—it came out in 2010, by the way—I recommend dedicating a weekend or some downtime.

It’s definitely worth it.

RATING: 9 out of 10 (Highly Recommended)

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


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