When adapting or translating one work into another medium, certain things are either added, deleted, and/or combined to tell the same story; more or less. For example, in the Watchmen movie, the giant squid was deleted for the climax but was replaced by the device Dr. Manhattan created called S.Q.U.I.D. (Sub Quantum Unifying Intrinsic Device). There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this as the story was not dependent on the squid. In the first episode of The Walking Dead, things are played around and added but there were some things that I wished did not occur.
Opening scene, we see Rick Grimes driving his police vehicle and stopping at an intersection. We see several overturned cars and trucks. Rick goes about looking for gas and in the process he finds a little girl. As he believes she is still alive, he calls out to her and as she turns around; she goes to attack him because she is a zombie. Rick gets his gun from his holster and shoots the girl in the head. Great scene but not from the book. It does throw the audience right into fire but there is no point of reference of where we are or when.
We break into the opening credits and the following scene we see Rick in the squad car with his partner Shane. This is an added scene not from the book but it does help to set up Rick’s relationship with Shane and the martial problem Rick is having early on. Added to the confusion, are we to assume that this discussion happened before the opening scene. There is no “3 months earlier…” or “last time on…” to help clue in the audience. To boot, when we see Rick heading off to Atlanta, the opening scene does not appear. WTF?!? I could go on about how much of a mistake it was to show the survivors, which included Rick’s wife and son as well as his partner Shane, or the relationship Shane is having with Rick’s wife in the first episode. I would have preferred this to have been revealed in the 2nd or 3rd episode to make the audience feel his aloneness. But this is tv/cable and decisions were made for whatever reason like adding the tank for Rick to hide in. I know that Mr. Ed was going to bite the dust but when I saw the trailer I was left scratching the little hair on my head.
And the, this happened. OMG, I had a zombie-gasm! This is one of those iconic moments that will burn in my head and haunt me just like when I read the graphic novel. The further overhead pull back of this city block is just AMAZING. For all the faults that I’ve mentioned have been wiped away from this one incredible shot. Frank overall has capture the essence of The Walking Dead and I can’t wait to see more. If planned out properly, I can easily see three seasons on the air before we get to the Governor. If you have no idea who this person is, you gotta read the books.
Click here to listen to my podcast on The Walking Dead graphic novel.