The Walking Dead Premiere: It’s Like 28 Days Later, Sheriff, But REAL

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My friend Steve once had a sketch idea for a fake trailer for a movie about a murder in the Louvre that leads to a bunch of puzzles that unlock a secret society holding knowledge of the holy grail, and the whole time, the characters keep saying “Wow, this mystery is exactly like that book The Da Vinci Code…only this time, it’s REAL.” “You’re just like that Tom Hanks ‘Robert Langdon’ character!” “Yeah, except my name isn’t Langdon, it’s BOB SMITH.”

Basically, the entire time I was watching the Walking Dead premiere on AMC Sunday night, I kept expecting one character to turn to the other and say “Don’t you get it? It’s just like 28 Days Later! Only this time…IT’S REAL.”

Do these characters live in a world where no zombie movies have ever occurred? Have all other movies happened, just not zombie ones? Are they somehow unaware of the standard zombie rules?

Let’s discuss these questions after the jump:

The original Walking Dead comic began publication in October 2003, within months of the release of 28 Days Later, so it’s likely the two occurrences of a man waking up in a hospital and slowly discovering that the world around him has deteriorated into a zombie-ridden apocalypse were generated independently. Still, we’re now familiar with 28 Days Later and its sequel — to say nothing of the billion other zombie movies before that — so while I enjoyed the Walking Dead premiere immensely, I also found it difficult to watch without the characters in some way acknowledging the extremely culturally familiar scenario they were experiencing.

When Morgan was explaining the zombie “fever” concept to Rick, I kept expecting Rick to be like, “Yeah yeah, regular zombie rules in effect, got it. They bite you you’re a zombie, but shoot them in the head and they die. Oh, one question – are they the traditional slow zombies or the new sprinting ones? The slow ones? Ok, cool – would’ve suuhhhhcked if they were all sprinting and stuff.”

That awkward unspokenness aside, I did really enjoy the Walking Dead premiere — there were at least four or five specific “Holy sh*t!” moments, plenty of gore, solid characters and acting, it looked great, and the last five minutes were legitimately intense. The zombie-apocalypse plotline is indeed well-trodden territory, but that doesn’t mean this show can’t be unique; in a way, “zombie apocalypse” has almost become a standard enough backdrop to serve as a jumping-off point for a show about characters developing and changing, just as multiple cop shows and medical dramas can exist without being viewed as derivatives of one another.

It’s amusing to think of “World has ended, everyone is zombies except these couple people trying not to be zombies” as a genre rather than the entire plot of something, but it’s obviously a cool enough concept for people to keep exploring the nuances within it. I was well on board for the entire 90 minute premiere, starting with the bold “shooting girl in brain” cold open (isn’t that how Welcome Back, Kotter started?), and staying interested even through the couple commercials that kind of looked like zombies were in them so you’d stop fast-forwarding your DVR for a split second. I’ll be tuning in next week, if only to see if one dude has the guts to bring up “Remember that Night Of The Living whatchacallit movie?” [GUNSHOT - Dead.]

Walking Dead premiere thoughts, people? Anyone who’s more familiar with the comic want to chime in? Worth a weekly recap? Comment away.

(Pics via AMCtv)

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