Walking Dead shambled on the screen last week, devouring ratings and critical acclaim, and raising questions about our basic humanity. How do we respond to pressure?

This week serves up more of the same. It’s impressive stuff, but should we want to see a show that features its protagonist chopping up a dead body with an axe?

Title: “Guts”

Cast and Crew

Directed by Michelle Maxwell MacLaren

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

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes
Steven Yuen as Glenn
Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon
Jon Bernthal as Shane
Emma Bell as Amy
Laurie Holden as Andrea
IronE Singleton as T-Dog
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale
Adam Minarovich as Ed
Juan Gabriel Pareja as Morales
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes

Additional cast and crew information may be found here.

Premise

High Point

The show emphasizes characters, and this week served up an excellent one in Glenn, wisecracking sneak thief and zombie killer. Yuen plays off Lincoln well as a sidekick, and yet he can also take charge when he has a better understanding of a particular situation.

He also gets points for noting that the man whose corpse they desecrated was an organ donor.

Low Points

Merle, though well-acted, seems too much of a one-note cliché. Yes, prejudice would survive the apocalypse (the Nazis continued to fund the death camps even after it was abundantly clear they were losing the war), and we can probably expect to find more than a few bat-bite-crazy people out in Zombieland. Nevertheless, it would have been a more interesting episode if they’d made Merle a more rounded and nuanced character.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 They do things very well on this s how, but they’re not doing anything terribly original. They are not, however, adhering strictly to the graphic novel’s plot.

Effects: 6/6

Story: 5/6 The story kept me in suspense, though the abilities of the zombies seem to vary as needed. They stumble and shamble along slowly—until they have Rick and Glenn in a tight spot. And it took them an awfully long time to smash through the store window.

Acting: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6 This show presents pretty much what I think a zombie apocalypse would look like.

Overall: 5/6.

In total, “Guts” receives 35/42