Zombies—specifically, post-Romero zombies—have lurched and crawled into nearly every aspect of our culture. We’ve had low-budget zombies, high-budget zombies, zombie horror, zombie comedy, zombie walks, and zombies injected into classic lit.
Now we have a prestige zombie television show, based on a zombie comic.

Drink, anyone?

Title: “Days Gone Bye”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Frank Darabont

Written by Frank Darabont, from the graphic series by Robert Kirkman

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Lennie James as Morgan Jones
Adrian Kali Turner as Duane Jones
Jon Bernthal as Shane
Emma Bell as Amy
Laurie Holden as Andrea
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale
Shannon Brinson as feature zombie

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

A deputy awakes from a coma to find the world has been overrun (overshambled?) by the recently departed.

High Point

Morgan Jones may not be a regular in the series—at least not at this point—but his moment on the second floor epitomizes why you need to be watching this show.

Provided, of course, you are a mature person with a strong stomach.

Low Points

I could find few significant low points. The pop song at the conclusion, however, and the horsegut buffet, seemed unnecessary. I know they were going for ironic effect, but I think the entire final shot would have been improved by removing the music.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 This series adapts a successful comic, in a culture that has more zombies than anyone could have predicted, the year after a successful zombie film that had been pitched, originally, as a television series.

Effects: 6/6 Great, and occasionally gruesome.

Story: 4/6 The story thus far consists of people attempting to survive in a world gone undead, and our point-of-view character’s attempts to find his family.

On the way, he takes some wrong turns.

Acting: 5/6. The main characters have been very well performed; Lincoln shines as Grimes. Lennie James and Adrian Kali Turner complete a strong first half. Even the key zombies give memorable performances.

The crew at the survivors’ camp, by comparison, struck me as merely good.

Emotional Response: 6/6 The show, at turns disturbing, dramatic, and nail-bitingly suspenseful, gives us what has been missing from many horror films. We have here a very human show about the walking dead.

Production: 6/6 The screen overflows with moments memorable and heartbreaking.

Overall: 6/6. Like horror? Like genre television? This is the show you should be watching.

In total, “Days Gone Bye” receives 35/42

Notes

Like most good genre stories, this one uses the fantastic to examine the human condition. Even the inevitable question—will viewers be adversely affected by seeing so many bloody headshots, so many corpse desecrations—becomes a social comment. Do people leave warzones with more or less respect for human life?