Very very rarely I commit myself to watching television series (not counting sitcoms), but I have in the past got hooked to watching shows like Prison Break [2005-2009] and My Name Is Earl [2005-2009]. Currently the super awesome Game of Thrones [2011-] is on my list, as well as Burn Notice [2007-?], two television series I'd be willing to go through seasons after seasons. I'm a little late, but I have now added The Walking Dead [2010-] to the list.
I have been aware of it since the show was announced, but I don't know why I didn't bat an eyelid to it. I guess it's because like I said, I don't put too much stock into television series. What drew me to it was seeing a behind-the-scenes featurette of the second season on FOX. Or to be more specific, seeing the name Gale Anne Hurd in the credits. So I proceeded with giving it a chance, with the first episode of the second season being the first I've seen of The Walking Dead.
I must say, it was a bit of a mistake because what I saw was kind of a spoiler to the first season. But in my defense I didn't think I was going to gobble it all up.
The Walking Dead really is a television series worth committing to because it's not the usual, derivative story involving zombies and the post-apocalyptic world. I half-expected to see characters who always show up in stories like this, we all know who they are; there's always that dashing, calm and collected leader whom everybody looks up to for the sole reason that he's handsome and has a good commanding voice.
Then there's always the love interest, most of the time written in such a way that will remind you of the likes of Bella Swan; clumsy, useless without the dude, and her sole purpose is to put the hero's life in danger by being so helpless. There's a variation to it, of course. Sometimes the love interest is also meant to represent Girl Power, although it often only go as far as her propensity to kick our hero in the balls at least once, usually when the first time they meet.
As for the rest of the characters, they're only good for dying anyway, so... Oh shit, I got carried away. So anyway, back to The Walking Dead.
I guess what I really meant to say was that there's no such thing in this critically-acclaimed television series. There are plenty enough going on in each character to make you forget that they follow some sort of an archetype (if there's any). Instead, it was apparent they put as much effort in the writing office as they do in the special effects department.
The central figure to the story is Rick Grimes, a sheriff's deputy who is hardened enough by his line of work to be the leader figure. It certainly helps that he kinda looks like Viggo Mortensen. But despite that, he is a flawed man and not at all one-dimensional. Even if I somehow missed the fact that he actually is, I suppose it's hard to notice it because of the strong ensemble cast. It's easy to find them believable as they're not too romanticised.
Furthermore, The Walking Dead differs from other stories of its genre because much of the tension and danger come from between the characters instead of the zombies. The zombies, they're just one part to the source of their conflicts. Upon realising that the world is never going to be the same, the characters struggled to remain human and they even try to bring into this new world their old way of doing things. That's what made it work, the characters are actually relatable this time around and you'll find yourself taking sides.
And it's not just the story, the series are also visually-pleasing. I liked everything about it, the cinematography and especially the mise-en-scene. It felt very much like watching a movie, one that I don't mind watching for days at a time. It's not usual for me to groan whenever a TV show ends, but I did just that for every single episode.
I have little else to say about it, and I think I've rambled on long enough. If you haven't seen anything from The Walking Dead, then don't make the same mistake I did by looking past it. A genre story it may be, but if you ask me, it rose above the genre and there's something in it for everyone; There's human drama, genuine tension and some brainless zombie shooting fun (pun intended)!