We both have a weird relationship with the comics on which this show is based. They start off very, very strong, with the author doing exactly what he promises: showing us the aftermath of a zombie outbreak and following it forward in time long after most zombie stories stop. However, somewhere around volume 6 or 7 (I think) it started to go off the rails in a pretty major way, with the zombie survival nature of the book taking a major back seat to a series of ridiculous and crazy human antagonists. I understand why this happened; if you're going to sustain a long-running story over the course of many years, you're going to have to provide some variety, and this is one of the methods by which Kirkman is attempting to do just that. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work for me.
So, back to the tv show: it was very, very good. AMC has a bit of a reputation for making really good original material but falling flat on their faces with remakes and adaptations, but they definitely succeeded here. The pacing was good, there were lots of great character moments and emotional depth, and they did a good job of introducing the concept without retreading all the same ground that every other zombie movie/book/series has already covered. I have no idea if they'll be able to (a) sustain it and (b) avoid the pitfalls of the comic. Heck, I don't even know if they see the later volumes of the comic as pitfalls to be avoided. Still, I really enjoyed the first episode, and I'm cautiously optimistic about the rest going forward.