The Walking Dead is a show where you can’t really just drop into a season unless you’re well prepared. If you’ve read up on things and have a good idea of the characters and events you could probably drop in on a season. I wouldn’t recommend it but I’m the guy about to give you an abridged version of season one.
Fortunately, season one of The Walking Dead is a short one. We’re talking six episodes since that’s how AMC rolls with new shows. It’s a safe way to get viewers hooked without investing in a full season. Let’s be serious though: AMC shows slap on the first season. If the theme and stuff is up your alley, you’re coming back for the next season.
The Cliff Notes Version of The Walking Dead Season 1
So you’re starting from the beginning. I got into The Walking Dead late—meaning three seasons late. I’m glad I caught up because the first and second seasons are some of the strongest introductory seasons put on TV.
Season one opens with two local cops—Rick Grimes and Shane Walsh—taking a break. They get called up to a crime that escalated into a shootout. Rick is injured and falls into a coma but comes to some time later. After returning to his neighborhood, he is ambushed by a survivor’s son. The survivor–Morgan—tends to Rick and fills him in on what happened.
Rick is a married man and a father so he’s going to look for his family. Our hero prepares by cleaning up and taking weapons from the local police station. Before leaving, Rick gives Morgan a walkie talkie and some weapons.
He runs into the zombie horde in downtown Atlanta—because no matter what piece of apocalyptic media it is, ATL gets wrecked. He is saved by a young survivor named Glenn. The young man leads him back to his camp where Rick is reunited with his wife and son.
All isn’t well. In the time that Rick was out, his best friend and former partner Shane have taken to shacking up with Ricky’s wife, Lori. No one needs this mess during an apocalypse but there it is. In the first episodes, we’re introduced to a few survivors.
Here’s what you do: remember half of them. Most of these survivors end up getting killed before the second two pops off.
The Major Events and Characters
There are four major events here. First, is Rick waking up from his coma and walking out into the apocalypse. Next, we have Rick meeting Glenn, T-Dog, Merle, Andrea, and others who entered the city to scavenge. There’s also Rick finding his family. Rick returns to the city with Merle’s brother Daryl to find him.
Finally, there’s the suicide explosion at the CDC. Here Rick finds out the truth about the walkers (zombies). Basically, whatever caused all of this is already in the survivors. It makes sense. Someone dies and they turn into one. This part ends with the survivors making a narrow escape from the CDC building before it explodes. The group loses a member.
The important characters in this season are Rick, Lori, and Shane. Glenn really doesn’t get his promotion until the second season. The same is true for Andrea and Daryl. Rick’s son Carl plays important roles next season. Carol seems like she will be a background character based on the first season but watch her closely. She has one of the biggest character glow ups.
The season was only six episodes so it moved along quickly. You’re not going to eat up too much of the evening going through the first season. I feel it’s one of the best seasons in the show’s history. It pulls you into a world where you don’t know what will happen next or who will survive.