First off, you may be looking at this review and thinking, “Someone’s a little late.”
Yes, I am. Thank you for pointing that out. I’m sure you’ve never had a busy week either.
That said, despite the fact that you shouldn’t have pointed it out, it is true that Day of the Dead premiered last Friday and it was only today that I finally got around to watching it on the DVR. That wasn’t necessarily intentional on my part. I just haven’t had a chance to sit down and really watch it or any other shows until tonight. In fact, ever since I first saw the commercials for the show on SyFy, I’ve been looking forward to watching it. Even though it looked like yet another Walking Dead rip-off, the fact that it was on SyFy held some promise as SyFy’s shows usually move quickly and feature lots of carnage. If AMC always seems as if it’s trying too hard to turn its zombie franchise into a prestige factory, SyFy promises the opposite approach.
The show is named after George Romero’s Day of the Dead, which featured a group of survivors trying to ride out the zombie apocalypse in an underground bunker. While the first episode did feature zombies and an anti-fracking plotline that felt like it could have come from one of Romero’s later films, it otherwise didn’t have much in common with Romero’s classic shocker. The zombie apocalypse did start about halfway through the episode and apparently the show is going to focus on a group of people trying to survive the end of the world but, during the first episode, there was no bunker. There was no Dr. Logan. No one shouted “Choke on them” while his intestines were being devoured. There was, however, some underground scenes due to the whole fracing subplot and there is a sinister character named Rhodes so I imagine we’ll be heading for some sort of underground bunker soon. I guess we’ll find out over the course of the next few episodes.
After opening with an exciting flashforward the featured plenty of undead chaos, the first episode focused on election day in the town of Mawinhaken. Mayor Paula Bowman (Miranda Frigon) is concerned about getting reelected but the election is brought to halt when the dead suddenly rise up from their graves and start eating all of the voters. I got the feeling that we were meant to dislike Mayor Bowman because she’s an ambitious politician who has apparently put her career before her family but, as far as I’m concerned, Mayor Bowman was the best character on the show. No sooner have the dead arisen than she’s running around with a gun and blowing them away while saying stuff like, “Second amendment, motherfucker!” Hell yeah! Plus, she has a great name. Mayor Bowman has a nice ring to it….
(But if I was mayor, would I still have time to watch and review Lifetime films? That’s the question.)
As for the rest of the characters …. well, there’s a lot of them. Hopefully, a few of them will get eaten during the next episode because, otherwise, it’s going to be a struggle to keep everyone straight. I did like Keenan Tracy, who played Cam McDermott, the son of a police detective who mows lawns to bring in extra money. The scene where he mowed over the dead as they rose from their graves was a highlight of the episode. Otherwise, the characters felt a bit interchangeable. The only woman working on the fracking crew is former special forces. The mortuary assistant is sarcastic. There’s two bullies who like to give Cam a hard time. They all made just enough of an impression that I can remember that they’re on the show but I’d by lying if I said any of them jumped out at me the way that Mayor Bowman and Lawnmower Cam did.
Anyway, it was a good enough first episode. The action moved quickly and the zombies were gruesome without being quite as icky as the decaying corpses that pop up on The Walking Dead. So far, the Day of the Dead zombies appear to move faster than the Walking Dead zombies and that’s definitely an improvement. It’s probably debatable whether or not, at this point, there’s anything new that can be done with whole zombie apocalypse thing but I’ll definitely give Day of the Dead a chance to show me what it has in mind.