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‘Walking Dead’ Pilot Script Gets a Rave Review

There have been high hopes for the AMC “Walking Dead” TV series ever since it was announced, and for good reason: It’s a critically-acclaimed comic by a fan-favorite author, paired with the director of “The Shawshank Redemption” on the channel that makes “Mad Men.” Oh, and did I mention it has ZOMBIES, which are pretty much the pop-up ads of the comic book medium?

Our excitement has been only slightly qualified as we waited for the first reports about the show, and since the pilot only got the go ahead last week, we assumed we’d be waiting a while. Not so! Corona Coming Attractions has already posted a script review, which gets right down to business. And business is good.

So, here is the big question: does Darabont’s Walking Dead pilot have the necessary ingredients to be not just a decent horror TV series but a good drama?

The answer: Yes, it does.

While the traditional gore and shock that come part and parcel with virtually any work of the zombie genre are naturally in effect, the review confirms that the script includes the essential elements that set the series apart as the best zombie comic on the shelves: Its psychological horror and post-apocalyptic pathos. The zombies, after all, are hardly the true villains of the series, as any long-time reader can tell you.

The review also includes an unintentionally hilarious reference to “the broad range of the zombie horror emotional spectrum” — which as “Blackest Night” fans know, is actually a splendiferous rainbow that extends from rage and fear to compassion and love — and indicates that while remaining faithful to most of the basic plot elements, “Darabont isn’t interested in making a direct adaptation of the comic book’s origin story.”

The critic estimates that the pilot contains somewhere between half to two-thirds of the first two comic book issues, and also adds new content, fleshing out the original incident that left Frank in the hospital at the start of the series and the fate of others in Frank’s neighborhood. The idea that Darabont is adding to the source material in way that gives it greater depth, rather than inane, pandering flourishes, is heartening, as are the descriptions of the visual style and effects that could help this “Walking Dead” stand out within its medium the way that it stood out in comics.

You ready for the money quote? Here we go: “The Walking Dead could even do for horror what the new Battlestar Galactica did for science fiction. Cross your fingers and hope that the show comes together as well as it did on the page.”

Consider them crossed.

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