I never read the comics. Is that necessary to really get the series? I'm not a zombie or gore fan. Is it more than that?
First of all. I haven't seen the tv show yet. The guy playing Rick was in an excellent UK 20-something drama called This LIfe - one of my favourite ever series. He played a much-loved character called Egg. I wonder how his accent is holding up?
There is a piece on Walking Dead on Mindless Ones just now. I noticed it in the comics, but the commentators there reckon the TV show is even more mysogynistic than the comics. In the comics, all the women seem to be weak acquiescent/subservient sorts or hysterical basket cases. Most of them ar there to provide sexual comfort, sewing services and babies.
I know survivalist stories tend to be somewhat reactionary, but Zombie stories do have excellent progressive precedents in the Day of the Dead films, and sci-fi apocalypse stories had two groundbreaking characters in the 80s in Lt Ripley and Sarah Conners.
It's the only black mark I'd make against the comics as they are otherwise excellently written and plotted. I read vols 4-7 over the weekend back-to-back. They are perhaps the most compelling comics I've ever read, so it's a pity Kirkman is back-sliding on the progress that's been made in these kinds of stories over the last few decades.