Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Who among us doesn’t enjoy a good zombie movie from time to time? This past Halloween, my wife and I came across a DVD set with all of George Romero’s “Dead” movies. (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, etc.) I couldn’t help but pick up the set, because there’s just something inherently cool about Romero’s movies, or flicks like 28 Days Later or even the Resident Evil series. I’m not quite sure what it is, actually, though I have a few theories.

Possibly, it’s the fantasy of being left alone, the last person truly alive in a world that has succumbed to disease or death. I know lots of guys who, when they see Will Smith walk into an empty NYC video store in I Am Legend, take all the DVDs he wants, and bring them back to his huge plasma HDTV that he undoubtedly didn’t pay for, geek out a little and comment on how cool that would be. After all, can you imagine a world where you don’t have to put up with traffic, long lines at the supermarket, or the annoyance of noisy neighbors, aside from a few moaning flesh-eating zombies? What guy doesn’t fantasize of a world where everything is free, where he doesn’t have to pay bills because the bill collectors are all gone, and where he can live in the frontier (only this frontier has abandoned shopping malls filled with toys.)

Possibly, it’s the fact that in every zombie movie, the hero is an ordinary guy who, given a shotgun, is now the last man standing and ready to whoop some tail to save the world. Just about every flick that has a zombie apocalypse has ordinary men and women as protagonists. There seems to be something just more…I don’t know…possible about that. Maybe you can’t see yourself being a superhero or a Ghostbuster or even a Marine fighting off terrorists, but anyone can see themselves as a random “last person left alive.” Maybe it’s that zombies, on the whole, seem like a more accessible and defeatable foe. We can watch a zombie movie and truly say to ourselves “hey, I could be that hero.”

Whatever the case may be, the fact is that zombie movies will always be popular, particularly among guys.

AMC has apparently realized this, and thus we have The Walking Dead, a weekly hour-long series that airs on AMC. (Yes, I know that AMC stands for “American Movie Classics,” and don’t get me started on how most TV channels have forgotten what they are supposed to be airing.) Currently, the show airs on Sundays at 10 Eastern and 9 Central. At this point, the show is five episodes into its first season, which will reach its finale next week. If you’ve missed the first five episodes, don’t worry. AMC will re-run the first five episodes again in a marathon this Sunday, December 5, 2010, beginning at 4:30e/3:30c, followed immediately by the 6th episode, which will serve as the season finale.

The story is basically this: A small-town South Carolina sheriff’s deputy who was wounded in the line of duty wakes up from a coma to find himself in a hospital that has not only been abandoned, but also has dead bodies littering the floor. (This is not dissimilar to the beginning of 28 Days Later.) As he emerges from the hospital and begins searching for his missing family, he finds the streets are fraught with “walkers”–zombies, of course, who have been infected by bites. The survivors are few. Basically, three things can happen: you get your guts eaten out by the zombies, you get bitten and become one of them, or you fight and escape. Deputy Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) must get to Atlanta, a reported “safe area,” and find his wife and son. But, is Atlanta truly as safe as they say?

The pedigree of the production staff has “guys” written all over it. Executive producer Frank Darabont helmed classics like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Fans will recognize co-executive producer Gale Anne Hurd as a writer/producer on all four Terminator movies (as well as Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), as well as a producer on Dante’s Peak and all of Marvel’s Hulk and Punisher movies. Also on board is executive producer Chick Eglee, who was responsible for one of my favorite shows, Dark Angel, as well as The Shield and Dexter.

Acting-wise, Andrew Lincoln is very believable as a small-town sheriff’s deputy. Prison Break cutie Sarah Wayne Callies lights up the screen as Deputy Grime’s wife, Lori. Sci-Fi favorite Laurie Holden is endearing as a tough chick/survivor. And it’s especially pleasing to see Jericho‘s Lennie James show up for a couple of the early episodes. (I’m hoping he’ll be back for more later! The door is definitely open for it.)

The source material is Image Comics’ critically acclaimed The Walking Dead which began publication in 2003.

All in all, this is must-watch TV, not only for guys, but for audiences in general. If you need more motivation, check out the trailer below:

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