"The Walking Dead" is just a little over a week from shambling back onto television, but it's already here on the Internet. Greg Nicotero's series of "Walking Dead" webisodes — titled "The Walking Dead: Torn Apart" — landed online on Monday (October 3), giving you brain craving zombies your first taste of the undead in almost a year.
With a successful transition from paneled page to small screen, how does "The Walking Dead" translate to an original web series? Check out our thoughts on the webisodes past the jump — but be warned, there are spoilers ahead!
"Torn Apart" tells the story of Hannah, the woman who goes on to become the infamous Bicycle Girl encountered by Rick Grimes in the "Walking Dead" pilot episode. We meet her just as she's waking up in a world where the dead are walking, tearing each other apart to satisfy that unholy pang in their guts that craves blood and brain. Just as all seems lost, she stumbles upon her ex-husband Andrew's home, where their two children are being sheltered.
Of course, in a zombie apocalypse, no place can stay shelter for long…
After months and months and months of waiting for the "Dead" to come back to life, any sign of the Nicotero created roamers is a welcome one. And with Nicotero at the helm of "Torn Apart," viewers are treated to some of the best zombies the show has seen to date — including a cameo from Scott Ian of Anthrax fame.
More than the inventive zombie designs, however, are the kills: in moving the property online, the brutality factor has been turned up significantly. Hatchets to the skull, bullets to the brain and a hero who literally rips herself to pieces to save her family are all on display here in glorious and gory-ous fashion. Indeed, "Torn Apart" certainly lives up to its title by story's end, and for those of us who've been waiting with feverish anticipation for more "Walking Dead," it's a disturbingly gleeful sight.
"Torn Apart" makes great use of the disturbing violence that the zombie genre is capable of, but what about the real walking dead — what about the people? Sadly, the webisodes do little to convince you to care about the characters you're watching. As a prequel, you already know how Hannah's journey will end — not well, to put it mildly — but that's not the real issue. There isn't enough time or energy devoted to turning these characters into fully realized individuals; for all intents and purposes, they're just wandering bodies waiting to be ripped to shreds.
A tighter script and stronger story, one that more directly informed the events of the proper "Walking Dead" series perhaps, would have made for a more compelling viewing experience. As it stands, "Torn Apart" is absolutely a fun diversion for "Dead" heads, but not one that meaningfully enhances or enriches the world that Rick, Shane, Lori and the others live in.
Three letters: CPR. "Sandlot" aside, mouth to mouth rescue breathing has never been so shockingly awesome.
What did you think of the "Walking Dead" webisodes? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!