Based on the popular Image Comics book, the story centers around a character named Rick Grimes who awakes in a hospital from a coma to discover the world has been literally zombified. This long running story follows Grimes as he travels America looking for his missing wife and child.
Along the way he meets interesting travel companions and a crap ton of hungry dead walking. The story is known for it’s pedestrian take on a real world gone horribly wrong. How does a man deal with things when everything he knows is dead, but not gone…
The main show runner for this new AMC serial is Frank Darabont. We all know and love him from his most excellent jail break drama, The Shawshank Redemption. Shawshank, like many of Darabont’s other films, was an adaptation of a Stephen King book. He writes and directs this first episode of what will be an hour long series for the cable channel.
Along for the ride with Darabont are director’s Michelle McLaren (Lie To Me, Breaking Bad, The X-Files) and Guy Ferland (The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, Terriers, Dark Blue), among others. The primary writing team will include not only Darabont himself, but also Robert Kirman the creator of the comics series will be writing several episodes (btw, look for his cameo as a zombie in this series opener), as well as tv veterans Glen Mazzaro (The Shield) and Adam Fierro (The Shield, Dexter).
The special effects and make-up are provided by Greg Nicotero of KNB Effects Group Inc. which worked previously with Darabont on films such as The Mist and The Green Mile, but also on other recent favourites including Drag Me To Hell and Splice.
It’s always a hard trudge uphill when it comes to adapting a long form story to film. You have to balance not only the expectations of the audience that’s read the existing material, but all the while remembering not to alienate the brand new audience that’s experiencing the work for the first time.
Luckily and as previously stated, show runner Darabont has had quite a bit of practice at doing just that. That said, I am probably not completely alone in saying that I was not a fan of his take on Stephen King’s The Mist. I am, however a huge fan of his adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption and happily I can report that (at least for this first go at it), Darabont has really and truly nailed the source material.
I say this as a person who isn’t much of a fan of the original comics. I appreciate the uniqueness of what Robert Kirkman has attempted. I love the overall concept of a zombie road movie (Zombieland anyone?), but Kirkman’s amateur writing skills and occasionally poor character development choices have made the source material not one I can highly recommend.
It’s very awesome then that Darabont has managed to take the essence of the series (previously mentioned great concept and plot ideas) and really breathed life into the characters and world that they inhabit. To discuss specifics would only spoil it not only for the veteran readers, but also for those that have not yet experienced this tale.
To find out just how great this new show is, you’ll have to tune in to AMC on October 31st at 10 ET/9 CT.
A grade – for adaptation
A grade – for drama and storytelling
A grade – for casting
A grade – for special and make-up effects
Overall score: A