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Walking Dead was a hit!


The Walking Dead premiere last night was the highest rated cable series premiere of 2010, and its highest rating EVER on AMC for an original series, Deadline reports. The premiere drew 5.3 million total viewers, and the second showing increased the total audience to 8.1 million. “It’s a good day to be dead,” said AMC president Charlie Collier “We are so proud of this series, its depth of storytelling and the remarkable talent attached.”

AMC heavily promoted the show, and the nerd-related internet played right along with a barrage of promo. Reviews have been generally very, very positive.

This first season of The Walking Dead is only six episodes long, making it really more of a miniseries. However, a contest to be a zombie during the show pretty much gave away that a second season is planned, hopefully one that is a little longer.

As for the folks at Stately Beat Manor, we watched and greatly enjoyed the show, finding the tone highly reminiscent of Darabont’s polarizing The Mist. (The scene with the dad and zombie wife in particular.) The biggest complaint about it is the slow pacing but the franchise is really all about survival and character — let it unfold so we care.

If we can get a little analytical for a moment, the appeal of both The Walking Dead and Y: The Last Man have always seemed very similar: strongly written stories about the nitty gritty of post-apocalyptic survival through highly relatable characters. Both comics feature low-key art that emphasizes storytelling and character. Both have been huge hits in collected form. Y has been rumored for a movie for a long time, but for many of the same reasons that TWD is a potentially great TV series, Y would also be much better as a TV series than a movie…the fact that TWD is so similar may mean that we will never see a Y movie or series, we’d guess.

One final note: it was recently pointed out that the WALKING DEAD books have over three million copies in print. That is an amazing number. (For some perspective, the Stieg Larsson books, the biggest phenomenon in publishing since Harry Potter, have sold 15 million copies in English.) This is a hugely popular multimedia franchise that looks to have real legs. Congratulations to Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard for achieving this and also doing it on terms that favor the creator. It’s a good day for creator-owned comics.

  1. I think they are following the Breaking Bad model. That started out with 7 and got a bump to 12 or 13 the next season. Now Breaking Bad might have been cut short by the strike not good planning. Maybe AMC wanted to test the waters with something so dark.

    Can’t wait for the parent groups to start crowing about protecting the children from the gruesome images.

  2. I don’t think that The Walking Dead and Y are so similar that the success of the former precludes the latter from being a movie or TV series. Other the general idea that both are post-apocalyptic, the two series don’t really have that much in common, and I think that swapping horror for the sexual politics angle of “a world that’s all women except for one man and his monkey” would appeal to an awful lot of people who would never, ever watch something with zombies in it, regardless of how successful and well-liked it is.

  3. While characterization is strong in Y, it’s still very much plot based with a beginning, middle, and end. While most fans will likely watch it, knowing a large amount of the plot from reading the books could lessen the effect of translating it to the screen.

    Walking Dead seems to have less of that problem. Being much more character based then plot based, it seems this show has less of that problem. I loved the pilot, but a huge amount of it was pulled from vol.1 of the series. Introducing new characters and situations (as seen as casting Michael Rooker and Norman Reeder as new characters not seen in the book) is the thing that excites me more as a fan of the books. I’ve read the book already. I’ve got no problem with them doing their own thing with the show as the tone and spirit of the books are most definitely in the series. While it would be nice to see what they do with a character like the Governor, if it ruins what they are trying to set up to create a great series, I’d much rather have no Governor, than one forced into the show to line it up more with the books.

  4. I loved it. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED!

    And I even got the wife to sit and watch it with me. As a testament to how good it was, she watched it all the way through and really was into it, even while she was complaining about how gross it was in parts.

  5. I thought the creators of the show did a really good job expanding the father and son character who, in the book, are only on a couple of pages and whose back story is essentially missing. Where once they felt like throwaway characters put on the page in order to fill Rick in on what has been happening, the show allows us to get much closer to them, to great emotional effect.

  6. Jason wrote, “I think that swapping horror for the sexual politics angle of ‘a world that’s all women except for one man and his monkey’ would appeal to an awful lot of people who would never, ever watch something with zombies in it, regardless of how successful and well-liked it is.” I think he’s absolutely spot-on.

  7. Yeah, I’ve just watched it and really enjoyed it.

    I dont think it was too slow, it was setting the scene for the rest of the series.

    I even got a little emotional near the end in the scene with Morgan(?).

    It was also nice to see the rest of the cast, as I thought I was going to have to wait an extra week to see them.

    Its just a shame this first season is only 6 episodes.

  8. Let’s hope WALKING DEAD’s cable TV success will pave the way for many more comics-based TV projects.

    BTW, all the reviews I’ve read so far is treating it as a zombie series. That’s like calling Mad Men a series about advertising. Silly silly mainstream media.

  9. My gal kept her eyes closed, asking me to let her know when it was OK to look, then promptly fell asleep.

    The cat averted her gaze entirely.

    My attention was rapt, and I only groggily realized I was in my apartment and not Atlanta when the credits rolled. Great job, AMC, Mr. Darabont, and Mr. Kirkman!

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