|This article is about the first season of the TV Series. You may be looking for the first season of the Video Game or the first season of the Companion TV Series.|
Season 1 of The Walking Dead premiered on October 31, 2010 on AMC and concluded on December 5, 2010. The TV Series is based on the graphic novels of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard; it was developed for television by Frank Darabont, who wrote and co-wrote four of the season's six episodes and directed the pilot, "Days Gone Bye", and also produced by Gale Anne Hurd.
Rick soon encounters two other survivors—Morgan Jones and his son, Duane. Upon Rick asking, Morgan explains that the undead are driven to eat the living. "One thing I do know, don't you get bit," Morgan says. "Bites kill, then you become one of them." Duane then speaks: "I saw it happen." Morgan saw the transformation first-hand. Morgan's wife, Jenny, was bitten and then turned into a "walker." Now, she haunts him and his son by frequently returning to the house where she died.
Rick takes Morgan and Duane to the King County Sheriff's Department, where they stock up on guns and ammunition. Rick is headed to Atlanta where supposedly a refugee center has formed and the CDC is working on a cure. Along with a rifle, Rick gives Morgan a walkie-talkie with instructions to check in daily at dawn, so they can meet up later. En route to Atlanta, Rick runs out of gas near a farmhouse, where he finds a horse to ride the rest of the way at the Siggard family house.
Meanwhile, Lori and Carl are living outside Atlanta in a camp with Shane Walsh, Rick's high school friend and partner, along with other survivors, including Amy, Dale Horvath, Jim, and the Morales and Peletier families. Believing Rick to be dead, Lori has begun a romantic relationship with Shane, who has become the group's de-facto leader.
In a deserted Atlanta, Rick is overwhelmed by hordes of walkers who topple his horse and force him to retreat inside a tank. Guided by Glenn, an adventurous young man who instructs him via radio to make a run for it, Rick grabs a gun and a grenade and flees for his life. Glenn then leads Rick to a department store, where they meet up with other survivors: Andrea, Morales, Jacqui, T-Dog, and Merle Dixon — a redneck ex-con.
Rick handcuffs the volatile Merle to the store rooftop after Merle attacks T-Dog. Rick then hatches an escape plan, which involves Rick and Glenn smearing themselves with "walker" guts as camouflage. Having navigated through the crowd of walkers, Rick drives off in a cube van to evacuate the survivors while Glenn lures the undead with the sound of a car alarm in a hot wired Dodge Challenger.
Back on the rooftop, T-Dog accidentally drops the handcuff key down a ventilation pipe, then chains the access door shut so that the stranded and furious Merle would be relatively safe from hungry walkers.
Driving back to camp, Morales warns Rick about Merle's brother, Daryl, who will be irate about his brother's abandonment. Glenn arrives at camp first, and Shane and Dale chastise him about drawing walkers with the alarm. Jim disconnects the alarm just as the cube van approaches.
Andrea tearfully reunites with Amy, her younger sister, as does Morales with his family. Rick then emerges from the van and is shocked to discover Lori and Carl living at this camp. The family is tearfully reunited. Later, around a campfire, Lori tells Rick she was told he would be medevaced to Atlanta. But it never happened. "Mom said you died," Carl says. "She had every reason to believe that," Rick replies before thanking Shane for saving them.
That night, Rick and Lori have sex in their tent, vowing to each other that this is a new beginning in their marriage. The next morning, Rick and the others find a walker feasting on a freshly-hunted deer in the woods. Jim theorizes the undead are running out of food in the city.
Daryl returns from an overnight hunt. After being informed of his brother's whereabouts, Daryl attacks Rick and Shane who quickly subdue him. Daryl then vows to retrieve his older brother, horrified at the idea they left Merle bound and unable to fend for himself. "I'm going back," Rick volunteers. Glenn and T-Dog also enlist.
"You're putting every single one of us at risk," Shane replies, arguing they need everybody to protect the camp. Rick contends that they really need the guns that he dropped when the geeks attacked. Lori is against it, but Rick tells her he has to get the walkie-talkie back, otherwise Morgan and Duane will walk into the same trap he did.
After Rick departs, Lori tells Shane to keep away from her family. "You are the one that told me that he died," Lori seethes. Nearby, an altercation breaks out between Ed Peletier and his meek wife, Carol. After Ed slaps Carol, Shane intervenes and beats him mercilessly.
In Atlanta, Rick and company head to the same department they left Merle at. Reaching the door they had barricaded, they see the chains have been broken and find the rooftop deserted save for a severed hand lying, bloodied, beside a hacksaw. Daryl then screams, and the screen cuts to black.
The Atlanta crew follows Merle's trail of blood down to the streets, but decide to retrieve Rick's guns before continuing the search. Glenn goes for the guns while the others stand guard. Their plan is derailed when Daryl is jumped by two men, who eventually take Glenn hostage at an inner city fortress that turns out to be a nursing home. Glenn is set free and Rick passes on some guns to the nursing home staff for protection. Rick, Glenn, T-Dog, and Daryl then discover their vehicle is missing. "Merle," Rick says. "He's going to be taking some vengeance back to camp," Daryl predicts.
Back at camp, Andrea and Amy present fellow survivors with fish caught at a nearby lake. Dale interrupts the excitement to express concern over Jim, who is feverishly digging holes without explanation. Shane subdues Jim, who cannot remember exactly why he was digging: "I had a reason, don't remember," he says. "Something I dreamt last night."
Andrea, meanwhile, roots through Dale's RV looking for something to wrap up Amy's birthday present: a mermaid necklace she took from the department store. Later, the group feasts on fish around the campfire and the mood takes on a lighter note. When Amy steps away to go to the bathroom in the RV, she is bitten in the arm by an unseen roamer—one of many about to attack the camp. Rick and his cohorts arrive to drive the walkers back, successfully, though he is too late to save Amy or Ed. Jim is also bitten in the attack.
The survivors burn the walkers, though Glenn insists they should bury their dead. Andrea cradles Amy nearby, unwilling to let anyone near the body. Dale commiserates, explaining that since his wife's death, "you girls were the first people that I cared anything for." Andrea tells Dale she feels guilty for missing so many of Amy's birthdays. "I'm sorry for not ever being there," Andrea wept kneeling next to a now re-animated Amy. She tells Amy that she's here now and loves her, then she puts her down with a shot to the head.
When Jim's injury is revealed and the sickness associated with infection worsens, Rick suggests the group go to the CDC for help. Shane thinks the Army base in Fort Benning is safer, but it is 125 miles away. While sweeping the forest for any remaining roamers, Shane tries to convince Rick to change his mind. "I've gotta do what's best for my family," Rick says. "If it was your family you'd feel differently." Enraged, Shane aims his gun at an unknowing Rick, but doesn't pull the trigger. Even though Rick may not have seen Shane's actions after their argument, Dale had been watching the entire spectacle and mutters, "Jesus".
Later, Shane announces his support of Rick's plan. Morales says that his family will not be joining the group and they head off in a different direction. En route to the CDC, the RV breaks down. Jim, in agony, asks Rick to leave him behind. "I want to be with my family," he says of his late wife and children. The group reluctantly leaves him beneath a tree.
In a CDC laboratory, disheveled scientist, Dr. Edwin Jenner, performs experiments on a tissue sample designated "TS-19". He then accidentally spills corrosive fluid initiating a decontamination sequence that destroys the samples. Meanwhile, Rick's caravan approaches the CDC. Jenner watches the group's approach via a security monitor.
Jenner agrees to allow the survivors into the building, provided they submit to blood tests. The group then feasts on food and wine, then luxuriates in hot showers. Afterward, Andrea laments the fall of civilization as Dale attempts to comfort her.
Later, Shane drunkenly confronts Lori, professing his love and insisting he did not lie about Rick being dead. Drunk and out of control, Shane tries to force himself on Lori, who scratches his face and neck to stop him. Horrified by his own behavior, he flees, leaving Lori shaken and afraid.
The next morning, Jenner shows the group brain scans of Test Subject 19, his wife, who allowed her infection to be recorded. He admits he does not know what the disease is or how to treat it. Plus, he has lost contact with other facilities. Worse yet, the CDC's generators are running out of fuel. When they are empty, the building will self-destruct as per a decontamination protocol.
Though at first he tries to convince them to stay, Jenner agrees to let Rick and the others flee when the self-destruct is activated. Jacqui, terrified of ending up like Amy or Jim, opts to stay behind. After a fiery explosion, Rick and his fellow survivors caravan away from the smoldering rubble, destination unknown. As they go to Fort Benning.
|Title||Writer(s)||Air Dates||U.S. Viewers|
|1.||"Days Gone Bye"||Frank Darabont||October 31, 2010 (US)|
November 5, 2010 (UK)
|2.||"Guts"||Frank Darabont||November 7, 2010 (US)|
November 12, 2010 (UK)
|3.||"Tell It to the Frogs"||Frank Darabont|
Charles H. Eglee
|November 14, 2010 (US)|
November 19, 2010 (UK)
|4.||"Vatos"||Robert Kirkman||November 21, 2010 (US)|
November 26, 2010 (UK)
|5.||"Wildfire"||Glen Mazzara||November 28, 2010 (US)|
December 3, 2010 (UK)
|December 5, 2010 (US)|
December 10, 2010 (UK)
The first season was met with almost universal acclaim and gained 5.35 million viewers on its premiere. The finale garnered six million viewers and among adults ages 18–49 it became the most viewed basic cable drama series of all time.
- Summer (Zombified)
- Jenny Jones (Alive)
- Leon Basset (Alive and Zombified)
- Hannah (Zombified)
- Mrs. Siggard
- Mr. Siggard
- Siggard Family Horse
- Wayne Dunlap (Zombified)
- Ed Peletier
- 13 unnamed camp survivors of Atlanta
- Amy (Alive and Zombified)
- Jim (Alive)
- Candace Jenner (Confirmed Fate)
- Edwin Jenner (Off-Screen)
- Jacqui (Off-Screen)
- Numerous patients and hospital staff
- Several U.S. Military soldiers
Robert Kirkman, who created the comic book series in 2003, says he had considered the idea of a Walking Dead television series, but never actively pursued it. "I certainly wanted it to happen, just because I knew it would be good for the book... I'm certainly not against adaptations, like some creators." When Frank Darabont became interested in adapting the comic books for television, Kirkman said it was "extremely flattering" and went on to say that, "He definitely cares about the original source material, and you can tell that in the way he's adapting it. It's an extreme validation of the work... Never in a million years could I have thought that if Walking Dead were to ever be adapted that everything would be going this well. I think that that's all because of Frank."
Darabont himself had been a fan of the zombie genre since seeing George A. Romero's 1968 film Night of the Living Dead when he was fourteen years old. ""Night of the Living Dead" had this weird vibe that was almost - it was like pornography... It had this marvelously attractive, disreputable draw... I loved it immediately." Darabont recalls walking into a comic book store in Burbank, California and seeing The Walking Dead on the shelf in 2005. "Being that I've always had "the love of zombies genre," I of course grabbed it, took it home and read it, and immediately started pursuing the rights to it. I thought it would make a great TV show... I loved the idea of an extended, ongoing, serialized dramatic presentation set in the zombie apocalypse." He described the process of developing the series and getting it set up at a network as "four years of frustration," and credits executive producer Gale Anne Hurd with finally getting the series on AMC. "I can't remember what the hell prompted her to read it [the script], but she said, "Wow, I really love this pilot you wrote. What are you doing with it?" I said I'd been trying to set it up forever... She said "I think AMC might be the place to take this." She did, and then bam! They were immediately interested. I had to credit Gale, her insight into marrying the material and the buyer."
To write the remaining episodes of the season, Darabont recruited Charles H. Eglee, Adam Fierro and Glen Mazzara, all of whom he had worked with while directing an episode of The Shield. Jack LoGiudice also joined the writing team, along with Robert Kirkman, also an executive producer. "I have the best of both worlds," says Kirkman. "It was a lot of fun writing Episode 104, and I'm hoping if it continues into Season 2, I'll be able to write more episodes."
Principal photography for the pilot episode, "Days Gone Bye", began on May 15, 2010, with the subsequent five episodes beginning filming a few weeks later on June 2. The first season was filmed in and around Atlanta, Georgia where the episodes were primarily set.
Behind the Scenes
- This season of The Walking Dead at the time became the most-watched drama series in basic cable history for the demo.
- The finale, "TS-19" was the most-watched episode of the first season, garnering a 4.1 HH rating and attracting six million total viewers.
- This is the only season so far to not have a majority of the cast absent in an episode.
- The final episode ranks first for Adults 18-49 delivery among basic cable for a drama series.
- This is the shortest season of The Walking Dead with a total of 6 episodes.
- This is the only season which lists guest actors as "Guest Starring" instead of the "Also Starring" label used in succeeding seasons.
- The song "Mr. Splitfoot (In the darkest night)" by Paris Motel and "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" by The Walker Brothers were used in the first half and second half of the trailer, respectively.
- Out of the 20 named characters at the camp, only 11 are actually in the comic (Rick, Lori, Carl, Shane, Carol, Sophia, Jim, Dale, Andrea, Amy, and Glenn).
- The Dixon brothers, T-Dog, Jacqui, as well as Morales and his family, along with the 13 unnamed background survivors, are not characters in the comic book, although they are each (besides the extras) featured prominently in Season 1 of the TV series.