The first season of The Walking Dead, an American post-apocalyptic horror television series on AMC, premiered on October 31, 2010, and concluded on December 5, 2010, consisting of 6 episodes. Developed for television by Frank Darabont, who wrote or co-wrote four of the season’s six episodes and directed the pilot episode, “Days Gone Bye”, the series is based on the eponymous series of comic books by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. It was executive produced by Darabont, Kirkman, David Alpert, Charles H. Eglee, and Gale Anne Hurd, with Darabont assuming the role of showrunner.
The season received very positive reviews by critics. It was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama at the 68th Golden Globe Awards and received nominations for the 63rd Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in several categories, winning Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie, or Special. The pilot episode received 5.35 million viewers, and the finale garnered six million viewers, including four million viewers among adults ages 18–49, making it the most viewed basic cable drama series at that time. Based on its reception, AMC renewed the series for a second season consisting of 13 episodes, which premiered on October 16, 2011.
This season adapts material from issues #1–6 of the comic book series and introduces notable comic character Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who awakens from a coma, after being shot, in a post-apocalyptic world filled with flesh-eating zombies, dubbed “walkers”. After befriending Morgan Jones (Lennie James), Rick sets out to find his family and discover the origins of the walker virus.
- Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, the series’ protagonist and former sheriff’s deputy from King County, Georgia, who awakens from a coma into the apocalypse. After becoming aware of the apocalypse, Rick sets out to find his wife, Lori, and son, Carl.
- Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh, Rick’s best friend since high school and former colleague, who helped Rick’s family escape the apocalypse and is the leader of the Atlanta camp. Believing Rick to be dead, he also started a relationship with Lori, leading to complications when Rick unexpectedly returns alive and well.
- Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori Grimes, Rick’s wife and mother of Carl. Lori is an emotionally fragile yet independent woman, who started a relationship with Shane out of her grief for losing Rick, leaving her off-guard and very conflicted when Rick returns.
- Laurie Holden as Andrea, a former successful civil rights attorney and sister of Amy. Andrea has a slight temper, but has a compassionate side and is very protective of her sister; both of them share a close bond with Dale.
- Jeffrey DeMunn as Dale Horvath, an elderly survivor, who owns the RV around which the survivors have formed a camp. Dale is a wise man of morals, who isn’t afraid to voice his opinion and is very protective of everyone’s well-being, physically and emotionally. He serves as an adviser to Shane, then to Rick. Dale also has a close bond with Andrea and Amy.
- Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, a former pizza delivery boy, who knows his way around Atlanta and often embarks on dangerous supply runs for the group. Glenn is a highly intelligent and resourceful, though slightly cocky yet hopeful individual, who cares for everyone yet he is easily taken advantage of by the other group members; Rick trusts him on supply runs.
- Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Rick and Lori’s son. He and his mother are taken to Atlanta by Shane after the initial outbreak.
Robert Kirkman, who created the comic book series in 2003, says he had considered the idea of a Walking Dead television series, but never actively pursued it. “I certainly wanted it to happen, just because I knew it would be good for the book… I’m certainly not against adaptations, like some creators.” When Frank Darabont became interested in adapting the comic books for television, Kirkman said it was “extremely flattering” and went on to say that, “He definitely cares about the original source material, and you can tell that in the way he’s adapting it. It’s an extreme validation of the work… Never in a million years could I have thought that if Walking Dead were to ever be adapted that everything would be going this well. I think that that’s all because of Frank.”
Darabont himself had been a fan of the zombie genre since seeing George A. Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead when he was fourteen years old. “”Night of the Living Dead” had this weird vibe that was almost – it was like pornography… It had this marvelously attractive, disreputable draw… I loved it immediately.” Darabont recalls walking into a comic book store in Burbank, California and seeing The Walking Dead on the shelf in 2005. “Being that I’ve always had “the love of zombies genre,” I of course grabbed it, took it home and read it, and immediately started pursuing the rights to it. I thought it would make a great TV show… I loved the idea of an extended, ongoing, serialized dramatic presentation set in the zombie apocalypse.” He described the process of developing the series and getting it set up at a network as “four years of frustration,” and credits executive producer Gale Anne Hurd with finally getting the series on AMC. “I can’t remember what the hell prompted her to read it [the script], but she said, “Wow, I really love this pilot you wrote. What are you doing with it?” I said I’d been trying to set it up forever… She said “I think AMC might be the place to take this.” She did, and then bam! They were immediately interested. I had to credit Gale, her insight into marrying the material and the buyer.”
October 31, 2010
- E01 – “Days Gone Bye”
- E02 – “Guts”
- E03 – “Tell It to the Frogs”
- E04 – “Vatos”
- E05 – “Wildfire”
- E06 – “TS-19”
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