Obviously Season 1 worked for me since I haven’t missed a single episode in five years. Having not read the graphic novel, I came into The Walking Dead with no expectations of what should be, and was able to judge the show on its own merits. And overall I loved it. It had a few missteps with pointless plots (“Vatos”) and didn’t do a very good job of writing the female characters, but it was still a breath of fresh air for television horror. And in six short episodes it easily left me wanting more of the Group and the Walkers. After five seasons, I’d rank it as my second favorite.
Favorite Episode: Days Gone Bye
The pilot is strong. From the cold opening to Rick trapped in the tank, it just builds amazing suspense while giving us a protagonist to root for and a truly terrifying post-apocalyptic setting. The episode proves that less can be more, as there is very little action, aside from Rick getting shot and coming up on the horde in Atlanta. Its purpose was to provide an atmosphere and characters we wanted to stick with, and it succeeded on every level.
Favorite Character: Rick Grimes
Because of course. For better or worse, he is the hero of this series. In the early days, Rick was a family man, a lawman, a good man. He fought against strong odds to find his family. He took responsibility for his mistakes, like Merle. And he was determined to survive, and help many others survive as well. The Group was not a burden to him. He was strong, but not fearless. He was exactly the kind of selfless leader I’d want in this situation.
Saddest Death: Amy Harrison
Honestly, there aren’t a lot of frontrunners from which to choose (Amy, Ed, Jim, Jackie, Jenner). It all comes down to Amy having the most characterization. Jim and Jackie were very much background characters, given little to do or say. Jenner was in one episode. Ed was a horrible person. Amy’s death is really the saddest by default, and because we have to see the aftermath with Andrea and how it shapes her new outlook on life once her younger sister is gone. That’s about it really.
Most Memorable Walker: Bicycle Girl
I wish I had added this category to my Season 5 wrap up, but I’ll start now. The makeup and effects departments no doubt have their hands full trying to show some of the true horrors of a zombie apocalypse on a weekly basis. And there is also likely the feeling that they have to one up themselves constantly so viewers don’t get bored. However, they started off very strongly with Bicycle Girl. She is the first Walker Rick sees up close and she is quite grotesque. Severed from the waist down and heavily deteriorated with what remains, she somehow manages to still pull herself along with just her arms. After seeing so many dead at the hospital, Rick doesn’t realize the true horror of this new world until she rolls over and starts grabbing for him. That’s the moment our hero knows a new evil is at work.