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AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’ delivers drama plus gore

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Ew. Totally setting the DVR now.

The Details

The WAlking Dead
Three and a half stars
Sundays, 10 p.m., AMC

After building a reputation for serious drama with original series Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Rubicon, AMC seems to have taken a shift into genre territory with its latest offering, The Walking Dead. But despite being about the ever-popular zombie apocalypse, Dead, based on an acclaimed comic-book series, is as serious and dramatic as any of the channel’s other series, more focused on relationships and moral conundrums than on suspense and horror. Not that there isn’t plenty of that—the makeup and special effects are suitably nasty, and the production values are a match for any Hollywood horror movie. But settling in for the long haul means Dead isn’t just interested in a bunch of people getting ripped to pieces.

Instead, the show spends lots of time getting to know those people, led by small-town sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). The characters are interesting and well-drawn, even if some of them conform to zombie-movie stereotypes. Filmmaker Frank Darabont developed Dead for TV, and he knows well how to balance the supernatural with the personal. If the show can continue to offer the narrative richness of other AMC dramas while delivering plenty of blood and guts along the way, it might turn out to be the channel’s most successful show yet.

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