I judge a vehicle by its ability to protect me from zombies, which is why I’ve never been that interested in driving a mere sedan. No, the vehicle has to be big, with space large enough to store ammo, bats, and chainsaws, because you should always be armed with chainsaws in a zombie apocalypse.
Given this philosophy, I initially thought Rick Grimes (played by Love Actually‘s Andrew Lincoln), the main character in the awesome new AMC series The Walking Dead, made a mistake in choosing to ride a horse when he knew his surroundings were zombie-infested. But that actually turned out to be a brilliant move, because the horse’s substantive meat and innards distracted the flesh-eaters enough to give Rick a few seconds to get into a nearby military tank and hide.
Oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’ve seen the pilot episode of The Walking Dead twice, and I do not regret devoting 120 minutes of my life to it one bit. To describe the pilot as “promising” would be an understatement, because it was so good I got bruised from jumping around next to a stationary bike during the most suspenseful parts.
The Walking Dead, or at least what we’ve seen of the series so far, has all the elements I like in my zombie entertainment: the proliferation of unthinking undead, characters’ painful backstories, and good ole brain splatter.
The day starts with Rick, a policeman, talking to fellow law enforcer Shane (John Bernthal) about his strained relationship with his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). “Sometimes I wonder if you even care for us at all” were her last words to him—spoken in front of their kid Carl (Chandler Riggs)—before they parted ways for the day, says Rick, pain visible in his face, voice quivering a little.
Their little heart-to-heart gets interrupted when they get called to respond to a police chase, where Rick ends up getting shot on the chest. He is brought to a hospital, where he stays for who knows how long.
When Rick wakes up, all the flowers are wilted, the clock is no longer moving, and there’s no nurse responding to his anguished cries for help. He stumbles out of the hospital and realizes that while he was sleeping, the world turned into one where the dead walked–or in one case, crawled, despite barely having half a body.
What made The Walking Dead—produced by Oscar nominee Frank Darabont based on an acclaimed comic series published by Image Comics—so impressive was how nearly every scene had an eerie stillness to it, the way one would imagine a world full of undead people to be.
The stillness is enough for you to see the agony in Rick’s eyes when he discovers that his family is gone, hear the reverberation of a gun shot that goes though an undead little girl’s head, and feel the hunger of the countless walking dead.
I can’t wait for the next episode. In the meantime, I might as well work on zombie-proofing our van.
*Click HERE to go to the official AMC website, where you can find more photos and information on the series.