Six Picks for the Week of October 25-31

Series premiere of The Walking Dead (Sun.)

ImageDead man walking

Robert Kirkman’s acclaimed (and awesome) Image comic book gets the TV adaptation treatment from director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist) and producer Gale Anne Hurd (Aliens). The 90-minute pilot episode for The Walking Dead airs Halloween night at 10pm on AMC, and expectations are high after an extremely lackluster fall season filled with mostly forgettable new shows. British actor Andrew Lincoln leads a large ensemble as police officer Rick Grimes, who wakes up to a world overrun by the undead. The first few reviews are raves.

Fear humanity at AMC's official website.

Colbert/Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (Sat.)

ImageThe voice of sanity

If you’re sick and tired of Tea Party-style protests, Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) and Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report) are hoping you come out in person this Saturday in Washington D.C. for their “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.” The event is a sort of counter-engagement to Glenn Beck’s August “Restoring Honor” rally, and will feature the two late night hosts and other satirical speakers aiming to reduce (or, in Colbert's case, increase) anger and encourage reasonableness. Comedy Central will broadcast the festivities live on Saturday afternoon from noon - 3pm ET, and Stewart will also be hosting The Daily Show each night this week from D.C., including on Wednesday night when his guest will be President Barack Obama.

Take it down a notch at the official website ... or don't, at the other official site.

Fable III (Tue.)

Image You say you want a revolution?

Set 50 years after the events of Fable II, Peter Molyneux's latest action-RPG requires you to overthrow King Logan, the corrupt ruler of Albion who just happens to be your brother. But Fable III (out Tuesday for Xbox 360) doesn't end there; the second half forces you to rule the continent and make a number of difficult decisions. The top-notch vocal cast includes Simon Pegg, John Cleese, and Ben Kingsley, while streamlined new gameplay mechanics eliminate the menu system common to the genre in an attempt to make the game more accessible.

Start the revolution at the official website.

Rock Band 3 (Tue.)

ImageSing us a song, you're the piano man

Just when you thought that the rhythm-based music game genre had dried up comes Tuesday’s release of Rock Band 3 for PS3, 360, and Wii. The new game has a couple of impressive additions that prevent things from feeling too familiar. The first is a keyboard (or “keytar”) that enables you to play the endless intro to Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again.” For the hardcore, you can now buy a pro guitar controller to use on the new note-for-note Pro Mode that should help you actually learn to play a stringed guitar instead of just becoming adept in mashing buttons. The new tracklist is solid and diverse, with The Smiths, Yes, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Amy Winehouse added to the mix.

Dust off your plastic instruments at the official website.

U.S. premiere of new miniseries Dead Set (Mon. - Fri.)

ImageWe're rooting for the zombies

The other zombie series debuting this week is the acclaimed five-episode British series Dead Set, making its American debut on IFC late Monday night. Mixing fiction with "reality," the series takes place in the Big Brother house, profiling the bickering, isolated contestants while the outside world is infected with a zombie outbreak. Dead Set is a unique take on the zombie genre that also sends up the reality genre in the process. It remains to be seen if U.S. audiences will respond to a series that relies heavily on the U.K. Big Brother and features many cameos from former housemates, but British viewers and critics had praise for the series when it aired in 2008; The Guardian called it "the first zombie film since Romero's Dawn of the Dead to successfully pull off satire." IFC will air one episode of the five-part series at midnight each night this week, and repeat them in a marathon on Halloween night.

Reality bites at the official website.

Back to the Future trilogy on Blu-ray (Tue.)

ImageThis is heavy

Great Scott! The much-loved time travelling trilogy arrives on Blu-ray for the first time on Tuesday, just in time for the first film’s 25th anniversary. The package includes the three Back to the Future films (in HD for the first time) and a host of pre-existing and newly created extras. A new two-hour documentary on the making of the trilogy is the centerpiece of the set and includes footage of Eric Stoltz in the role of Marty McFly before the actor was replaced by Michael J. Fox after five weeks of shooting.

Accelerate to precisely 88 miles per hour at the official website.

Closing the book on last week

Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source:
Paranormal Activity 2 53 $41.5 million; 1st week at #1
#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: SoundScan)
Lil Wayne: I Am Not a Human Being 64 1st week at #1
Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)
Dancing With The Stars (ABC) 19.5 million viewers; week of 10/11 -10/17

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Comments (6)

  • Pa  

    Just for the record, Charlie Brooker who scripted Dead Set also is a columnist for The Guardian. Probably not the best choice of review to selects quotes from if you know what I mean.

  • Liam  

    I'm reading JL Bourne's Day-by-Day Armageddon books at the moment and the timing couldn't be more perfect to segueway from them to a related TV series. Awesome stuff indeed.

  • Josh  

    @ Ned B - Robert Kirkman actually penned the premise for the first Walking Dead comic before 28 Days Later even came out. The opening scene of him waking up in the hospital in both cases is pure coincidence

  • Ned B  

    am i the only one who thinks the premise of the walking dead is exactly the same as 28 days later?

  • Mitch Tough  

    I'd love to be able to see Dead Set.. but IFC isn't on basic cable??? Who's gonna pay extra money for the IFC/Sundance/Encore package on Time Warner? Not me!

  • Dave  

    Why hasn't the metacritic layout been fixed yet?

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