I’m clearly not alone in my new guilty addiction, AMC’s The Walking Dead. (I gotta do something while waiting for the next season of True Blood.)
But I must admit, my first thought was – ugh, more zombies. Despite the apparent fascination of the entertainment press, this is a very well-worn genre. I Am Legend, Resident Evil, Zombieland, 28 Days, Weeks (and Years?) later – to name just a few of many.
But here’s what really fascinates me about The Walking Dead: It has so-so looking people. Not the Zombies. They are spectacularly ugly. I mean the un-undead – the stars.
The lead, Officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), is not an unattractive fellow. Better-looking than average, but not by much. Same for his (sometime) partner Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) and wife Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies). On the red carpet, they clean up pretty well. But on the show, they look just like the tired, dirty, working-class refugees that they are supposed to be.
In other words, this is not Lost – not Gilligan’s Fashion Show.
And those are just the stars. Support characters like Jim (Andrew Rothenberg) look like folks you’d meet at a country gas station. Because, after all, that’s who they are supposed to be. It’s like a whole show full of the Hurley character (well, maybe not that extreme).
Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is the closest we come to a heartthrob. As a sexy but repulsive redneck, he’s essentially the “Sawyer” of TWD. But he’s not too close to Josh Holloway by Hollywood’s exacting standards. And the show expends no effort to make him pretty. I don’t expect to see him on the cover of Men’s Health anytime soon.
In fact, despite the somewhat far-fetched premise of a world overrun by flesh-eating monsters, The Walking Dead is perhaps the most realistic new show of the season.