Who would think a basic-cable made show about a rag-tag bunch of people fighting zombies could be so addictive?
But as hoards of fans look forward to tonight's third-season premiere of The Walking Dead, it's clear AMC's series about the zombie apocalypse that ends the world and leaves the living fighting the dead and each other for survival is an unqualified hit for AMC.
That could be because it's about more than just a bunch of people finding creative ways to debrain the un-dead. It's more than that. It's got an ensemble cast that plays off each other like a fine-tuned band, putting human faces and emotions to play and joining them together in a battle for survival.
And as the last season ended, we learned that everybody's infected with the zombie virus, so in addition to fighting off the "walkers," as zombies are called in this series, they're also fighting time.
Good stuff, and it just gets better this season.
1. There Have Only Been 16 Episodes
That's it. Just two eight-episode seasons to build up a show that was a cult hit at first, based on a comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, into a full-fledged phenomenon. The show's second-season finale, complete with the devastating news that even the living have the fatal virus, brought in a basic-cable record of 9 million viewers. Those are numbers you reach with HBO programming, not something on basic cable.
2. The Show Moves Forward With New Characters
Tonight's episode, premiering at 9 a.m. EST, finds the band of survivors fighting for control of an abandoned prison, which it needs for shelter as winter approaches. They also come across a new cutthroat character, the 'Governor," who will be played by British actor David Morressey, and a true cutthroat, Michonne, who dispatches the undead with a slash of her katana sword. Nothing better than a bad-ass babe with a sword.
3. The Cast Learns Paradise Isn't What it Seems
They come across the too-good-to-be-true, zombie-free town of Woodbury, lead by the Governor, who at first seems very charming but quickly teaches the group the meaning of true evil. And Morrissey says he's giving him complexity - always a good thing in a bad guy.
4. Michonne Proves More Than a Bad-Ass
The fan favorite, who saved Andrea at the end of last season, walks around with her katana at hand and two chained-up zombie sidekicks in tow. Who needs pit bulls, right? Add that to her dreadlocks, steely gaze and mastery of that sword, and what else does a guy need in a woman, anyway?
5. Lori is Probably Still an Annoying B*tch
Lori is further along in her pregnancy this season, but instead of doing all the housework this season and badgering women who don't want to do the laundry into helping, she supposedly kills some zombies herself this season. About time she made herself useful. It should be interesting to see how her role will progress now that her lover and husband's best friend, Shane, is dead.
6. The Show Hasn't Been Like the Comic in a Long Time
Kirkman is an executive producer on the show and promises the third season will feature surprises even the biggest fan of his comics won't see coming. Sometimes that may mean drawing out story lines, adding characters like backwoodsman Daryl, who doesn't appear in the comics, or killing off characters early.
7. Expect More Bloodshed This Season
The band of survivors has until this time been mainly concerned about fighting zombies, and they still will be. But Kirkman told
Screenrant.com humans will be more of a threat this season:
"The plan was always to evolve naturally into a place were the zombies essentially become a manageable threat. You know the rules. You know how to deal with them. To a certain extent they become something to not really be scared of unless you mess up. Humans, however, do not follow any rules and will always do something that surprises you and are capable of doing things far worse than trying to eat you… We’re definitely going to be seeing a lot of horrible things.
8. You Can Still Watch the Premiere if You Have DISH
Much to-do has been made of DISH dropping AMC, and it's a shame that people who have a satellite can't see The Walking Dead, Mad Men and Breaking Bad because they truly are some of the best shows on TV. But if you log in on AMC before tonight, you can watch the first episode online, so you don't have to feel left out Monday when everyone else at working is talking about it. It's a genius move on AMC's part.
9. Merle's Back and He's Still Pissed Off
The last time we saw Daryl's big brother, he was hacking his handcuffed arm off to get away from some zombies. Well, he lived and he's still the biggest redneck you've ever seen. This guy makes the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan look like Mr. Rogers. The only thing that would make him worse is if he'd become a zombie.
10. Somehow This Has Never Won An Acting Emmy
None of the actors on this intense show, even Andrew Lincoln as Deputy Rick and the always great Norman Reedus as Daryl, have won an Emmy. The show's won Emmys for the zombie makeup and prosthetics for both of its seasons, though, and with all the plot developments this season, this could very well be the year Emmy will show its actors some love, too.
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