I’ll put this in the most simple way possible.  The Walking Dead is effing awesome!  The premiere episode of The Walking Dead aired last night on AMC.  The hour and half pilot episode stood up to all of the hype.

Props to AMC for understanding that we want smart, thoughtful programs and not the watered-down fluff that the networks spit out each year and try to convince us they are giving us quality viewing experiences.  In one episode of The Walking Dead, there was more character development than in most network series’ full runs put together.  We’ve said it before, if you want good television these days you have to invest in the pay stations such as Showtime or HBO or tune into cable networks like AMC, Fx or SyFy, among others.

The Walking Dead will blow your mind within the first 5 minutes.  One of the most uncomfortable scenes I’ve seen on television in recent memory hits us like a slug to the chest right out of the gate.  TWD pulls no punches.  Nothing is really left to the imagination.  You will see disturbing images, gore and raw emotion.  However, it is much more about an introspective of the human condition as it is a zombie show.  Imagine a worst-case scenario for all of humanity.  Perhaps that might be a nuclear holocaust, a worldwide plague or whatever horrific nightmare of a global catastrophe you can conjure up.  What would living in that scenario really be like?  Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead graphic novels, chose a zombie apocalypse as his means to an end.  TWD is all about what humans are capable of when their very existence is up for grabs.  It is a social experiment with extremely dark overtones.  Kill or be killed.  Survival of the fittest.

The pilot episode combines a solid mix of drama, emotion, and creepiness.  A couple of scenes will tear at your soul, making you feel the raw emotion of the characters and the situations they find themselves in.  The show does an admirable job of pulling the viewer directly into an internal dialogue with oneself.  ’What would I do in this situation?’ will cross your mind often.  Two scenes particularly stand out.  I will be vague to spare you any major spoilers.  One character is put in a position to be able to release their loved one from the undead and struggles to do what must be done, and our main protagonist, Sheriff Rick Grimes makes a very selfless act upon one of the undead in a way that is compassionate and sorrowful.  It is this type of writing and character-driven moments that make TWD shine above most other shows.

We’ve only been introduced to a fraction of the characters so far, but the acting is top-notch.  Andrew Lincoln, like Rick Grimes, truly stands out in the pilot episode. The producers have managed to capture the feel of the books both in character and surroundings.  The viewer can feel the desolation and hopelessness of the situation.

For better or worse, the pacing is sort of deliberate.  It’s not all about epic zombie confrontations in each episode.  There are actual meaningful dialogue and character growth.  If you are tuning in just to see zombies get killed in the most horrific way possible, TWD might not be for you.  If you are a fan of Kirkman’s books than I can’t see how you are going to have a problem with this incredible adaptation.  Unfortunately, the first season is only scheduled for 6 episodes, but the good news is that AMC has already ordered a full second season.  No word yet on how long the wait will be between seasons.

Did you watch The Walking Dead?  Have you read the books?  Let us know what you think.

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