The Walking Dead series premiere play-by-play

It’s 8:45 on Sunday, 10/31.  15 minutes from now, “The Walking Dead” will
debut on AMC.  I’ve got a Fresca and bowl of candy corn at my side,
ready to blog play-by-play style once it starts (published warts and
all, for better or worse).


8:55-I just realized that I get AMC in HD.  Hell. Yes.  To best prepare
for the series, I’ve been rereading “The Walking Dead” comics from the
beginning.  The concepts, stories, and characters Robert Kirkman created
are indelible.  I’ve never thought much of the artwork, though.  

8:57-The “Dawn of the Dead” remake is almost over.  I think this version is immensely satisfying.
9:00-Here we go.  Hooray for disclaimers of impending violence.
9:01-The volume of silence in the first minute is creeping me out, and I think we’re still pre-zombie age in the show.
9:02-Flies hovering around a corpse.
9:03-Uh-oh.  Shuffling child.  Hasn’t turned around yet.  I think I was wrong about this being “pre-zombie age.”
9:04-Shitbeans.
 There it is.  Scary child with stuffed animal lunging towards Sheriff
Rick Grimes.  And…blam.  Welcome to the Walking Dead.
9:05-Intro
music/montage.  Brief in and out.  It’s no “True Blood” opener (best
opening ever), but I appreciate that it says what it has to, then gets
out of the way of the show.
9:05-And now it
looks like we’re flashing back to the pre-zombie age.  Sheriffs are
bullshitting in a squad car, eating fast food.  See? That’s what life’s
like when zombies aren’t coming to eat our flesh.  Totally mundane.
9:08-They’re still bullshitting.  This is all exposition to refer back to later.  It’s also dull.
9:09-And there go the sheriffs, off on a call.  Cue crows eating animal corpse in the road.
9:10-Here
comes the scene that was in the trailer, where the sheriffs create a
roadblock to catch a speeding criminal.  I’m totally sick of this scene,
seeing as I watched the trailer overandoverandover again.
9:12-Criminal down.  
9:13-Grimes down.
9:14-Hospital visitation.  Clearly, Grimes is in a coma but registering what’s happening around him. 
9:15-Check that…he was hallucinating about a past visit, and now headed towards lucidity. 
9:16-Grimes has fallen and he can’t get up.  And this will be the best part of his day.
9:17-As horror goes, the “abandoned hospital” scenario is one that consistently disturbs me.  That’s true right now, as well.
9:18-Grimes
is heading towards the light, a flickering light that’s bouncing off a
devoured human corpse on the floor.  He’s visibly becoming aware that
things are completely fucked.
9:19-The
cafeteria doors at the end of the hall are spray-painted “Don’t Open
Dead Inside.”   Doors are banging, and cadaverous hands are poking their
way through.  
9:21-Sunlight. Blinding
sunlight.  Grimes staggers down the stairwell to find the ground covered
in bodybags; bloodied, flies-circling-around-them, bodybags.  The shot
pulls away and bodybags are all we see.  
9:22-Leaving the hospital grounds, Grimes stumbles up a hill to discover…a helicopter?  He’s just going to keep walking. 
9:23-First
face-to-face with a zombie.  This legless sumbitch is enough to inspire
Grimes to steal a kid’s bike and barefoot pedal the fuck out of there.
9:24-Got
news for you, pal…your family’s not going to be where you left them.
 The bodybags at the hospital and legless zombie should’ve driven that
home.
9:25-NOW you have your breakdown?  “Wake up, wake up,” he says.  This is it.  Welcome to the zombiepocalypse, bitch.
9:26-Who’s that from behind?  Oh, wait a minute, it’s a shovel.  Good night, nurse.  
Bullet to a zombie’s head.  Meet the neighbors, Rick.
9:28-Grimes
is chained to a bed, “Misery”-style.  The neighbor’s grilling him to
make certain that there’s no chance of suddenly entertaining an undead
houseguest.
9:29-Wait…AMC has commercials?  Don’t know why I wasn’t expecting that.  
9:30-Tron
Legacy commercial.  I remember seeing the original one in theaters.  It
was awful.  It’ll take a lot to convince me that I should care about
this decades-later sequel.
9:32-The debut has
me feeling kind of bored so far.  Not sure if it’s because I chose to
write while it’s happening, or if it’s actually boring.
9:33-Back to the show.
Is
the cinematography intentionally grainy, or is it my cable connection?
 If it’s the former, I hate it.  If it’s the latter, fuck you, Comcast.
9:34-The word “walker” is formally introduced to the show.  
9:35-A prayer before dinner.  “We ask you to watch over us in these crazy days.  Amen.”
Grimes is asked if he knows what’s going on.  He replies, “I woke up today in the hospital…that’s all I know.”
9:36-Grimes
is getting schooled on the zombiepocalypse.  The lesson: “The bites
kill you. The fever burns you out.  After a while?  You come back.”
9:39-Zombie
mom brings neighbor boy to tears.  One lesson’s obvious as she walks up
the front stairs:  You can’t come home again.
9:40-The boy’s still crying and stressing me out. 
9:41-The
doorknob is turning, but the zombies can’t get in.  Not as
claustrophobic as “I Am Legend” (the book, not the movie), but intense
enough.
9:42-Morning has broken, and Grimes
just went up to bat against a zombie.  How about that World Series?  I
got bored after the Giants scored two tonight, and shifted my energies
here.
9:43-More exposition.  The CDC said they were working to “solve” the zombie problem.  #CDCFail
9:44-From TV’s least sexy shower scene to another commercial break.
9:45-“Skyline” trailer.  My first time seeing it.  It looks like one of SyFy’s made-for-TV movies.
9:48-Viagra commercial is more horrifying than the show so far.
9:49-Back
from commercials. Talk between Grimes and the neighbors of going to
Atlanta.  I like Atlanta.  The store at the Coke museum has a surprising
amount of worthwhile souvenirs.
9:51-Guns!  Weapons!  “Conserve your ammo, it goes faster than you think.”
9:52-I’d like to see more zombies now.
9:53-A
zombie, by request.  I love the gutteral noises they make.  
And…blam.  Another zombie takes a bullet to the head.  I like how all
zombie storytellers agree that it’s the only way to stop a zombie.
 Romero should get points on every zombie story ever created since 1969.
9:54-The kid with the zombie mommy reads comics.  Just like me!  
9:55-Grimes
sets off on foot as the neighbors stay behind and think sad thoughts
for their zombie mom/spouse.  This is the “humanizing” aspect of the
story that critics like.  The part I like?
9:56 Shooting zombies.  The neighbor has a sniper rifle aimed at the zombie hordes.
9:57-The makeup is pretty kickass.  Grimes shows sympathy for, then plugs, the legless zombie.
9:58-Zombies, zombie mommy included, descend on the neighbor’s house.  Zombie mommy in crosshairs and…nothing.  But wait….
9:59-Nope.  He still can’t pull the trigger.  
That’s it?  That was the ending?  Yawn.
I don’t think I loved it, but if it can stay true to the darkness of the comic, I’m willing to stick with it.
10:04-I
thought it was an hour-long premiere.  It’s still going!  I’m done.
 Maybe watching without distraction will enhance my enjoyment.

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