In a move that could be considered a miracle of cosmic proportions, The Walking Dead premiered in Latin America just one day after its U.S. premier. FOX and AMC have finally done right by us, poor Latinos, who seem to almost never get anything on time.

I’m not familiar with the source material, so this little review is based purely on the pilot. My first of two complaints? The first season is only five episodes long. At the same time, shorter seasons require more efficient storytelling, and that’s never a bad thing.

By the time I publish this entry, there will be plenty of reviews out there. But hey, the more the merrier, right?

The Story
I loved zombies as a little girl. I can’t quite remember which zombie movie was my first. I remember watching George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead (the black and white version) on a holyday afternoon and being completely fascinated and terrified. John Russo’s Return Of the Living Dead is the second zombie film that I remember fondly, only because of the line “Send – more – paramedics”, said by a zombie talking on an ambulance radio.

It took me some time to realize the difference between Romero’s Series and the Return Of The Living Dead series. After all, as a kid, I just wanted to see dead people eating people. But as I grew older and my preference for gore changed, I was finally able to make the distinction between Romero’s work and the rest that came after, and I was finally able to fully understand why Romero is the master of the genre.

Romero’s stories are set in a world populated by zombies and contain everything that should be expected from these creepy creatures –namely, splatter and guts ahoy- but his stories are about the people living among the dead and served as metaphor for social issues corresponding to the time of their creation. And based on the pilot, The Walking Dead seems to follow the path of Romero’s work: the show is not about zombies and guts, but about the internal struggle of those trying to survive among the hungry hordes.

The Humans
Familiar faces form the other side of the pond lead this pilot with very emotional performances that elevated the material to a level even higher than it was to begin with.

Some of you might remember Andrew Lincoln from Love, Actually, but I remember him from the wonderful British soap This Life. Lincoln hit a home run with this show and makes me wish Jack Davenport, who also starred in This Life, could have the same luck.

Lennie James (Jerico, Snatch) gives a great performance as Morgan, a father protecting his son and struggling with his wife’s transformation. I’m not sure if Morgan will be a recurring character but I can’t wait for the day when he and his son reunite with Rick. I hope to see James in upcoming episodes. He’s a scene stealer.

The rest of cast was briefly introduced, but among them, I’m mostly looking forward to seeing Laurie Holden, who played Marita Covarrubias in The X-Files and Cybil in Silent Hill.

The Zombies
I’m a bit nostalgic about the slow, dumb zombies of yesteryear; The Walking Dead’s zombies are pretty fast when attacking. But the makeup work in this show is a thing of pure beauty.

What a way to start the show: there’s nothing creepier
than a zombie kid.

Reminiscent of the first zombie in
Return Of The Living Dead. Sort of.

The Hungry Hordes!

The Music
There’s a tendency in horror films and tv shows to use music not just to enhance mood, but also as a cue for the startling moment. A technique that’s not used as often but is at times more effective is silence; although it is obvious that a startling moment is guaranteed in these types of stories, by not being able to anticipate when it’ll happen, tension and suspense are created.

The Walking Dead’s pilot explored the use of silence and ambient sound to create a sense of dread throughout the whole episode, and a score was used only in three very emotional scenes.

I liked the score in the final scene when Rick encounters the hungry hordes in Atlanta; it was almost imperceptible, mixed in a way that never overpowers the very scary zombie grunts.

The “Whatda…Why?? WHY???” Moment
Call me a buzzkill, call me a cynic, call me whatever… I cannot – and I refuse to- understand the need for American TV shows to always include love triangles in their stories. Romantic love is only a speck in the whole spectrum of human emotions and in many occasions, regardless of a show’s original intention, the love triangle inevitable takes centre stage. The Walking Dead’s pilot introduced the storie’s love triangle between Rick, Lori, and Shane. Although this triangle will bring great conflict once Rick reunites with his family, my only hope is that it won’t become the central issue in Rick’s storyline.

The Conclusion
Beautiful isn’t a word that comes to mind where zombies are concerned. But The Walking Dead combines all the elements of the zombie genre with very emotional human stories, making “Beautiful” the best word to describe it. Frank Darabont has created a little masterpiece that I hope will last for many seasons to come.

Best new show of the season.