The fourth episode of The Walking Dead is airing this Sunday at 10pm on AMC, and if you’re not watching it yet, you should be.
For those of you who don’t keep one foot in the comic world, The Walking Dead is a graphic novel by the famed Robert Kirkman. To sum up, the protagonist Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to a zombie apocalypse and sets out to find his family. In my humble opinion, the story is completely heartbreaking and disturbing, and I would put it on par with the likes of The Road.
Since AMC is known for “great storytelling,” it was only a matter of time before they picked this up for a series. Before the series aired, people were describing it as “the next Mad Men… but with zombies.” Now don’t get me wrong. I’m completely certain that both Betty Draper and Peggy Olson would survive a zombie attack (Betty because she sucks the life out of everyone around her; Peggy because she has a firm handshake). But The Walking Dead is no Mad Men yet.
I think what sets Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner apart from everyone else is his profound attention to detail; every single set piece, character expression, and voice inflection is there to serve a purpose. No emotion that show triggers is accidental, and I really feel like Weiner and his writing staff deserve more credit for making these fucked up characters so sympathetic.
The Walking Dead is different because there’s an obvious bad guy: the hoards of zombies trying to eat everyone. Of course, there are a few living characters who are trying to figure out how to survive and still maintain some shred of humanity, but for the most part it’s pretty black and white. The television show, in a lot of ways, is a pretty much just a gorefest right now, and while you feel for the characters, you’re mostly just freaked out by seeing those scary as shit zombies close up. In the comic book, however, you find yourself breaking out into a sweat when one of the characters is in danger. Until the television show captures that emotion, I won’t compare it to Mad Men.
That being said, the show is still pretty fantastic. It was just signed on for a second season, and I think the next coming episodes have the potential to give Mad Men a run for its money.
Watch it: Sundays at 10pm on AMC.