Well, I finally finished watching The Walking Dead pilot. I don't have AMC, so I had to wait to see it. A friend was kind enough to provide it for my viewing pleasure.
I watched the first fifteen minutes with my husband on Tuesday. I was impressed with the little girl from Dawn of the Dead finally getting a head shot (just kidding). The little girl really did remind me of Vivian though. Both of those hungry little zombie girls really scare the crap out of me! I'm a firm supporter of zombie little kids getting a bullet in the brain. I applauded Grimes for not wussing out!
I got pissed off at the opening scene with the two men talking in the car about the differences between men and women. I found it disturbingly sexist . It wasn't that I didn't get that the character of Shane is a jerk (hehehe..my sexist jerk in As The World Dies is named Shane, too!), but I was upset by what was said by the character of Grimes. It was clear from what he said that his marriage isn't going so well and I sympathized with him up until he insinuated that the difference between men and women is cruelty. It could have been worded in a much better way, but I had the knee jerk reaction of "WTF?" I'm not the only one who reacted to that scene in disbelief. The blogsphere and comments on reviews of the show also hit on this interaction as sexist. I had been warned by one of my best friends (who is male) that the comic book has always had problems with blatant sexism in the tone of the writing and not just in the actions of the characters. This scene gives me pause for concern. I hope the TV show will not have the same issue. I don't mind sexist characters as long as there is a balance of people who are not bigoted standing up for what is right.
Anyway, it was late that night, so I decided to watch the rest of the show later on my own. My husband had work to do and I was tired. I was also cranky about the opening scene.
I am glad I didn't let the opening conversation dissuade me from watching the rest of the pilot. I thoroughly enjoyed the world building, the beautiful Georgian landscape, the amazing acting of Lenny James as Morgan, the zombies, and the fantastic headshots. Lenny James as Morgan just really hit the right chord with me and I absolutely loved him and his interaction with his son, Duane. His dismay and horror over the fate of his wife was palatable and moving. I wanted to reach through and hug him! Also, when said zombie wife tries to open the front door as Duane weeps in the arms of his father, I had tears in my eyes as well as some serious chills.
Another scene I really loved was when Grimes saw the door in the hospital that warned of "dead inside." When those awful moans started and the hands started pushing out from between the doors, I had shivers running down my spine. TERRIFYING!
The zombie torso woman was so gruesome and pathetic at the same time I really take my hat off to the special effects guys and gals. I really wish I had not seen stills of her before watching the show. I would have rather been shocked by her appearance as I viewed the pilot than be spoiled.
I did have to suspend my disbelief more than once. That Grimes could survive with no food, water, or medical attention for over a month in a zombie infested hospital really was a lot for me to swallow. Also that he could get up and move around after being in bed so long was unrealistic.
Also, it has become cliche for characters to wake up in and/or escape from hospital rooms in post apocalyptic tales: Bill in Day of the Triffids, Stu in The Stand, Alice in Resident Evil, and Jim in 28 Days Later. But that being said, the scene in The Walking Dead was handled quite well. The tension and horror of the situation was very well done
The screen time of the women of the show was quite limited and I am not really sure how we're supposed to view Grimes' wife at this time since he yanked her over the coals pretty hard and she is having an affair with his best friend. It didn't help that all the women in the show so far were either dead, zombies, or pushed out of the way (literally at one point) by the men, or chastised for making legitimate suggestions as to how to handle the situation. I understand that there are two strong female characters in the comic, so I hope we see them soon.
I wasn't blown away by the pilot, but pilots are often not the best episode in a series. That usually happens about three or four episodes in when all the actors "get" their characters fully, the storyline fleshes out, and things start to zing along. The only pilot that was perfection itself was the one for LOST.
I did not enjoy The Walking Dead as much as the British TV limited series Dead Set, but they are two very different shows. Dead Set was brilliant and had a lot of story to tell in a very short period of time. Each episode was about 25 minutes long so it really had to pop right away. The Walking Dead had a much slower pace, but that will probably work well for the show overall as it allows the world to slowly expand and include more characters and locales.
Oh...and one last thing...