The Walking Dead.

At last, finally, the wait is over. I had been sitting on my hands about this one for the better part of a year, ever since internet rumors began buzzing about Frank Darabont (the man responsible for the best Stephen King adaptations, like The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and my personal fave, The Mist) adapting Robert Kirkman’s Eisner Award-winning comic series. And once I heard that AMC would be the network picking it up, my worse fears were immediately quelled. The home of two of my all-time favorite TV shows, Mad Men and Breaking Bad — both programs known to have “eccentric” natures — AMC has set a new standard in network television programming. And The Walking Dead looks to be yet another fine feather in their cap.

And apparently, for once, everyone else seems to agree with me. The show premiered on Halloween night to a whopping 5.3 million viewers, which is higher than any other premiere audience for an AMC series. I’ve also heard that the show had a second season greenlit before the first had even aired. In an era where television series can be cancelled after a single airing, that is nothing short of a miracle. Or a really really good show. And if the first episode is any indication, I’m thinking the latter.

From the get-go, everything is there: the black commentary on human nature, the emotional charge between the living and the (walking) dead, and plenty of gore and gunfire. And Georgia deputy Rick Grimes,  a wonderfully drawn central character. As played by Andrew Lincoln, Grimes isn’t the perfect action hero — he makes bad moves, has his failings, and seems more than a bit bull-headed. But that, of course, is what makes him so fun to watch. We want to be his Tonto, and tell him RICK NO GO TO TOWN, but what can we do? Like everything else in the wonderfully crafted show, he leaves us with thoroughly bitten fingernails. He is our tour guide in this apocalypse, and we can only hope for his safety.

Needless to say, I’m already invested in this show. And I’m hoping like hell AMC replays the first ep before this Sunday, or I can find it online somewhere in the meantime. Until then, I’ll keep my doors locked, windows boarded, and rifle loaded — because The Walking Dead has more to come.

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