After the immense popularity of series such as The X-Files, Buffy and Angel in the 90’s and 00’s TV networks saw the potential of projects which may not have originally made it onto our televisions, leading to an influx of ideas from the darker side of writer’s minds.
Nowadays series such as True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Fringe, the sadly underrated Harper’s Island and BBC’s own Being Human are pulling in the ratings and the fans and proving that everyone loves being scared especially in the comfort of their own homes.
Stand alone amongst all of these however last year was a show which elevated the standard in regards to story, scale and scares, the epic, the amazing, The Walking Dead. Revitalising the done to death zombie genre The Walking Dead had it all and across its six episodes was an unmissable televisual event which had you glued to the TV one moment and hiding your eyes the next.
Taken from the immensely popular graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, a man who turned the Marvel heroes into flesh eating undead, and transformed onto the screen by Frank Darabont, a man who made prison popular with The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, this was a series with a simple story told on an ambitious scale.
The story of The Walking Dead starts the same way as so many zombie movies’ before it as local sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) awakes from a gunshot-induced coma to find a very different world to the one he knew. The apocalypse has come plunging the world into chaos with a virus ravaging humanity turning them into mindless undead meat sacks driven to devour other people and turn them too until there is no one left alive
Alone and confused Grimes must try to come to terms with what has happened while setting out in search of his wife and son who unbeknownst to him are living on a camp along with a rag tag group of survivors who have their own problems fighting for their lives against the elements, the environment and the hordes of zombies roaming the land hungry for human flesh.
Focusing on the characters and their emotional journey as much as their physical hardships one of the series true successes is in showing the very realistic impact and affects of such an outlandish horror scenario on the people who remain. The Walking Dead manages to achieve the perfect balance moving seamlessly between big battle scenes where bullets and brains fly across the screen to dramatic personal intimate moments of grief and loss both equally brilliantly realised on the small screen but executed on the scale of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Each episode is as good as the last and all are wonderfully written and deftly directed combing comedy with tragedy, action with romance and delivering on the scares guts and gore like no TV series has done ever before helped along by some amazing special effects and make up.
Integral to The Walking Dead’s watchability is the excellent ensemble cast which includes a host of quirky characters who are never cliched, fleshed out by the script and the excellent actors playing them. Lead by yet another Englishman doing an American accent Andrew Lincoln who plays Sheriff Rick Grimes as an everyman driven by his love for his family making hard decisions in a impossible situation. Sarah Wayne Callies is also great as Rick’s wife who falls into a love triangle with his best friend played by Jon Bernthal after his character tells her her husband is dead.
Although the episodes are the main draw to purchase this the box set does come with added extras including TV spots from AMC’s website such as a trailer for the show, a zombie school taught by a zombie choreographer (the best job ever surely!), time-lapse footage of the transformation of one actress into an undead corpse and Zombie Make-Up Tips for Halloween which shows you how to zombify yourself at home.
More importantly there are two 30 minute documentaries The Making of The Walking Dead and Inside The Walking Dead Episode 1-6 with tons of interviews and behind the scenes footage showing the massive scale of the show which took tons of crew and equipment, hundreds of extras and huge set ups all of which to create the realistic post apocalyptic world of the series.
Not only one of the best horror series ever, The Walking Dead is one of the best TV series full stop, a must see for all horror fans and a must try for non-horror heads who will no doubt be unwittingly drawn in to the series regardless because of its gripping story.
Buy this now to tide you over while you wait for Series 2 which is on its way and will hopefully give us more of everything we have come to expect from The Walking Dead including intense action, compelling characters, hardcore gore and more zombies than ever before.