The Rise of The Walking Dead

When two of America’s hit TV series, The Sopranos and Sex and the City, were finally over, I thought there was nothing to be excited anymore when it comes to American primetime television shows. I have to admit that I’m a big fan of American made TV series. Though I have been a big fan of some Filipino soap operas like “May Bukas Pa” and “Lobo”, I am also fascinated by American TV shows that showcase one-of-a-kind characters, plots and settings. I did explore some critically-acclaimed shows such as The Desperate Housewives, Lost, Glee, Vampire Diaries and Grey’s Anatomy. But it was only last year that my zest for American primetime shows got revived with the entrance of The Walking Dead.

One of the best shows produced by AMC network, this drama series is based on a black-and-white US comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore.  Since it aired on cable TV, this post-apocalyptic show won the hearts and viewership from millions of people around the world, not to mention those who are die-hard zombie-movie fans.  Thanks to the vision of Frank Darabont who put this post-modern literary masterpiece to life.

This is one big well-calculated risks that AMC took considering that, if I’m not mistaken, this is the first time that a drama series took zombies seriously not only as the “visual effects” of the show but also as fictional characters that play vital roles to the development of the plot.  I have been a big fan of drama series for quite a while but I have never thought, for once, of watching a TV series that showcases zombies as co-characters.

What makes this show really interesting is its cast of actors who handle their roles really well.  You get drawn to their performances, most especially the development of their characters as the plot thickens from seasons 1 to 2.  I’m pretty convinced most of us are able to connect to them and their ordeals.  For one thing, each character has so many layers that make us want to know them more and see how far they can go to survive a zombie apocalypse.  Another aspect is their group dynamics in terms of staying alive amidst the traumatic encounters with these flesh-eating beings.  Not only that, you want to know also how long can they stay sane knowing that some of them are the only surviving members of their own families.  For sure, that feeling of loneliness is just one of those struggles that they have to overcome in order to know their place in a world that is filled with uncertainties, terror and danger. 

What makes this show really humanistic in many dimensions is that we can translate this to what we humans are experiencing at these troubling times.  Economic instabilities, high unemployment rate, global warming, terrorism, civil unrest and calamities, I guess, are our present-day “zombies” that all of us around the world are dealing with on a daily basis.  Inasmuch as we want to find stability and peace even in the comforts of our homes, we are not sure as to what is lurking at a corner outside that is ready to devour us when we go through our daily routines at school, office or the mall.  Earning a living could no longer be the main human need at this age, but staying alive is.  

As we try to face our daily struggles to stay alive and be alert of the many forms of zombies outside, do we still have an assurance that there is still a Rick out there who is ready to lead and guide us as to what we can do next?  Could there be a Glenn who is willing to survey this unsafe world and give us details on where we can get our needs to survive?  Would there be a Gale who, despite how discouraging and frustrating things would turn out, never give up on you and continue to motivate you to survive?  We would only know the answers to these questions only if we continue to connect to other humans with kindness, trust and harmony.  

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