How ‘The Walking Dead’ Breaks Every Rule We Know About TV Hits

The Walking Dead Ratings

Oddly enough, America loves a depressing, disgusting drama with no stars more than any other show

Just in case anyone doubted “The Walking Dead” could continue the ratings surge its fourth season experienced last year, the staggering numbers AMC posted Sunday night should put any skepticism to rest. If beating everything in broadcast and cable in the 18-49 demographic was starting to seem anticlimactic at this point, the drama series managed to top the Olympics, too.

Because the word “hit” has been overused to the point of utter meaninglessness in the TV industry, it’s easy to overlook that we are witnessing an honest-to-god phenomenon in our midst. But make no mistake: “Walking” has a freakishly huge audience. Which begs a simple question: why?

Stifle the urge to retort, “It’s the zombies, stupid”; “Walking” is actually about as improbable a megahit as the TV industry has ever produced.

To simply chalk up the success of “Walking” to the viability of the horror genre is to misunderstand the show. It’s never been some splatterpunk thrill ride like the “Saw” film franchise; there’s actually just as much an arthouse sensibility to “Walking” as there is to other AMC shows like “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” And as last night’s episode indicated, the series doesn’t adhere to conventional storytelling. Then there’s the tone of “Walking,” which is so bleak it practically thumbs its nose at mass appeal. Throw in the fact the show hasn’t minted any true breakout stars and attracts zero awards buzz, and these gaudy ratings are even more inexplicable.

Forget about the fact that it’s cable’s highest rated series, averaging about 13 million total viewers per episode in the first half of the fourth season; its 6.6 ratings average in the all-important 18-49 demo exceeds everything on broadcast (besides NFL telecasts) as well. And unlike most TV crowdpleasers that inflate their numbers by skewing older, the “Walking” audience boasts a sprightly median age of 33.

Also keep in mind that “Walking” is just the kind of serialized drama that could do well enough in binge mode to see a significant enough chunk of audience wait days after its premiere date to watch. The fanbase for shows like NBC’s “The Blacklist” are experiencing this siphoning via VOD and DVR, or perhaps even many months later on Netflix and DVD. But “Walking” is true watercooler TV; people watch episodes immediately.

Maybe it’s a little late to be awestruck by a cable series beating broadcast; the ratings parity trend has been a long time coming. Series from TNT’s former hit “The Closer” to A&E’s more recent “Duck Dynasty” may not be doing as well as “Walking,” but well enough to prove that cable’s days as niche entertainment are over.

But there are about five other cable networks one would name before AMC came to mind as a channel capable of leading this trend. It’s been more successful attracting buzz than boffo ratings. And a standard-issue procedural drama like “Closer” and an unscripted sitcom like “Duck” are more likely to be crowdpleasers because they come from the same mold broadcasters have used to crank out their own popular fare.

Say what you want about “Walking,” but this is not a mold we’ve seen TV use too often to generate big-tent entertainment. Even if you misperceive the series as some mindless exercise in horror that panders to bloodthirsty palates, that’s traditionally been more of a hot ticket at movie theaters than in living rooms. You could also argue the body count on “Walking” is just as much an impediment as it is an invitation to large crowds given the segment of the audience that doesn’t have the stomach to watch it.

The “Walking” logline makes it seem like a slasher film: A hardy group of survivors of a viral outbreak escape bloodthirsty zombies. But that’s really more of a hook for what may have its share of fan-friendly action elements but is at its heart a multilayered, character-driven piece. “Walking” is actually a very thoughtful meditation on the difficulty of retaining one’s humanity amid dire circumstances. It plays more like a Holocaust drama than a horror pic.

What’s truly mystifying is that the show seemed to have reached its audience peak at a time when the storylines couldn’t be less broadly appealing. While the previous season’s faceoff with the character known as the Governor provided a pretty conventional villain character to root against, most of this season was focused on the ensemble fighting an invisible enemy: a virus that decimated their ranks. One of the show’s most difficult but heretofore lesser themes — the plight of children in this war zone — was thrust repeatedly to the forefront of the latest episodes in all its depressing, hair-tearing ethical implications.

And when they did turn their attention to the Governor, they brought him back in most unusual fashion with a morally ambiguous storyline that essentially humanized a character that had engaged in mass murder.

Most amazing of all was “Walking’s” audacious decision to bench the entire cast for two episodes to tell the story of the Governor — name another show that would dare do that. If anything, the sidelining was tacit acknowledgement that its lead actors aren’t exactly featured attractions on this series. You there, “Walking” fanatic: Can you name any of these people from memory? Andrew Lincoln? Norman Reedus??

It’s a talented cast, but they’ve been ignored by the Emmys et al. In all likelihood, that’s because series with sci-fi elements don’t tend to get much respect from awards voters. And with the exception of Jon Bernthal, whose character was killed off in season two, they don’t seem to be capitalizing much on their work in the outside projects that could help build their profiles. Still, how odd is it that the biggest show on television barely hangs its hat on the people who populate its cast — typically the most important ingredient to a series’ success.

No doubt there’s a cynical programming executive somewhere that looks at “Walking” and thinks, “Now if we could just work in a guest arc for (insert brand-name actor here), we could raise the show’s visibility even more!” It’s just one of many TV tropes that “Walking” has managed to eschew without sacrificing its appeal. Somehow the show has gotten this far without resorting to the usual tricks: the cheesy love triangle, the awful catchphrase, the curvaceous or studly character who somehow manages to look sexy in a post-apocalyptic war zone. There is nothing sexy about “Walking.” Ever.

It’s surprising that no network has tried a more commercial (and less depressing) version of “Walking” because AMC has left that space wide open (Amazon Studios came closest, developing a pilot based on the movie “Zombieland” before passing on the project).

Imagine what “Walking” would have been like had it been developed by a broadcast network. Think of how prominently, for instance, the race to find the cure or cause of the virus that created the zombies would figure into the narrative – -an aspect of “Walking” that goes entire seasons without being addressed. On ABC, they’d have the cure discovered by the end of the first season; because they’ve barely touched upon it on AMC, the show feels like it could go 10-plus seasons easily.

There’s a fascinating question critics should be answering: What is it about a show that is so relentlessly bleak that allows it to still resonate at such unexpected scale? What does it say about America? Of all the shows that manage to aggregate a mass audience at a time when a rapidly fragmenting audience is making it increasingly difficult to bring a sizable chunk of people together to share anything, “Walking Dead” is the show that threads that needle. And it’s the polar opposite of the escapist fare that typically serves as popular entertainment, a dystopian nightmare if there ever was one.

But “Walking” doesn’t get nearly as much respect as other series seen as more creatively substantive. While the press certainly don’t ignore “Walking,” they clearly don’t lavish the love that fellow AMC series engender. “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad” somehow achieve far more cultural cachet and critical acclaim with nowhere near “Walking’s” average audience.

Critics can defend themselves by saying their job is to give disproportionate attention to the shows that are the best creatively even when they are not commercially successful. That’s all well and good, but it’s a shame if that mandate is fulfilled at the expense of failing to reckon with a true cultural phenomenon in progress.

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  1. Because this show is so bleak, I ask myself why I return to watch it with anticipation again and again. For me, being a professional writer with aspirations of being a published sci-fi author, I find it interesting to study how the show’s writers create the characters and the situations they put them in, what they decide to have happen to them, and how they think the characters would feel and behave.

    Purely as a viewer, however, the thing that draws me in is that the world in which “The Walking Dead” exists has been stripped of everything superfluous and superficial. Anything we mistake for “need” that’s really a want is gone. We can’t say that about the world we live in. In our world, there’s a constant race to consumerism, commercialism and celebrity. In “The Walking Dead,” all that matters is surviving, often at great cost, and it’s alluring, although agonizing, to watch it happen.

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  3. Matt says:

    You define a slasher film as, “A hardy group of survivors of a viral outbreak escape bloodthirsty zombies?” That is not the definition of a slasher film, it is the definition of a zombie film. They are two completely different animals. I love when people who don’t understand the nuances of horror try to write about it. It’s kind of funny.

  4. Mister D says:

    One, Norman Reedus seems to be the breakout character of the show. Go ahead and suggest killing him off. You’ll have a hoard of ladies protesting out your front door.

    As for the bleakness, I think the problem is it was never tried. There has always been a fascination with “end of the world” stories, which is part of the appeal of the zombie sub-genre (ever heard of the werewolf apocalypse? Of course not). Go back to the success of The Day After. It’s just that no one trusted the viewers to stick with a show that didn’t always have a happy ending. How many years did it take just to get a non-sentimental sitcom like Seinfeld? You needed the fragmentation of the TV audience to get someone to roll the dice on a project like this.

  5. jesse says:

    this is a really great show! all you haters don’t know what you’re talking about! if the walking dead was on ABC and they made the cure in the first season. then it would be boring. this show would suck if it was made by ABC their shows are horrible. if you hate the walking dead, then you have no taste in shows

    • jesse says:

      if they had a cure in the first season. then they would use it with everyone then BOOM. everyones safe, everythings boring, shows over.

      • jesse says:

        AAND this show is based off of a comic series by the same writer. how many shows/movies do you know that does that?! AMC is absolutely great. they are geniuses and nothing you say will change that fact. so if you wanna hate on this show! keep it to your dumb weekly book club of housewives rebelling against too many violent shows!

  6. evan.sartory@gmail.com says:

    i cant believe they just compared this show to mad men and breaking bad. Did anyone see last episode or the previous season?! Am I the only one to say that this show maybe has some of the worst writers on televison?! Was anybody else mad at what a horrible piece of shit performance Carl gave last episode?! DOES ANYBODY UNDERSTAND THAT NOBODY ACTS LIKE ANY OF THESE CHARACTERS IN AN APOCALYPSE?! they deserve to die on how stupid they are. I know this is a rant but god damn this show sucks so fucking bad wake up people

    • beaner says:

      …are you saying you have lived through an Apocalypse and knows how people act?! I love this show! So you are okay with believing in zombies but not how the survivors react? Quit watching if you hate it.

    • H. Townshend says:

      … Then don’t watch. Seriously. Take your hate somewhere else. I think Mad Men and Breaking Bad are pieces of shite, myself (mostly because there isn’t a single person on either cast I would really want to be friends with, which is usually my litmus test, and not because the series are not produced with care and with being true to the stories they are telling), so to each their own. But Chandler Riggs did very well last ep. Carl did some STUPID things but that was very intentional. All teenagers do crazy, stupid things; he’s still a kid trying to grow up in a world that’s beyond insane- that was the whole point. The emotional reality the young actor conveyed in his scenes was excellent. Please, please just get the heck out, if that’s really how you feel, and stop trying to tell us we don’t get it. Different strokes for different folks, and the whole point of the above article is that people of your sort of opinion are in the minority.

  7. wnblevins says:

    Great piece. The beginning of this season especially and now again at the “beginning” of the 2nd half of the season leads me more and more to believe that this is a show about the “social contract” and what happens when it is destroyed leaving only enclaves to survive and somehow form a new but different society. Like all “social contracts” the first and foremost is to assure survival. The notion of humanity is somewhat lower in the pecking order when survival is so tenuous. But, as Dale and Herschel so aptly illustrated it is indeed possible, and perhaps necessary, to survive and maintain humanity and love at the same time.
    Perhaps that is why this is such a compelling story and why we watch with such rapt attention.

  8. Rob W says:

    I couldn’t even finish reading the article, with the author constantly referring to the show as “walking”… I’d be surprised if he was even a fan…

    • Charles says:

      Same here. After about 5 awkward “Walking”s instead of Walking Dead or even WD, I stopped reading. It’s as if the author is trying to be trendy by shortening it, knows it sounds idiotic, but continues to push it in hopes that it will stick. Walking Dead is an amazing show and it deserves to be typed out properly.

  9. Marcus Pun says:

    WD is popplular because it resonates with a LOT of people who see that they have little or no control over their own future, that their children will suffer a worse fate, that there is little hope of things getting back to normal – as in having the normal middle class life that many of us grew up with. Where a grocery store clerk could earn enough money to live on in a 40 hour week. That no longer exists. Most of us live that bitter edge of despair taht we see in WD. I know a lot of people who are just plain worn out over what has happened the past 30 years. But we still go on. We still hope for something better. That’s why people love this show.

    • H. Townshend says:

      I tend to agree. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head of why this show, and post-apocalyptic shows in general, are on the rise in popularity.

  10. Chris in SFNM says:

    Decent enough article Re: Par16. Seems to me NBC has tried their “less depressing” post apocalyptic show with Revolution. True to form the MacGuffin/Cure/Power Source was revealed by the end season 1, the young stars always looked stylish in sexy leather, and Giancarlo Esposito did his stint fresh off of Breaking Bad.

  11. Jaclyn Martin says:

    The fact that AMC is home to TWD is why its so great. Its allowed us ( FANS) to connect with these people and want them to make it. You see what each of them go through, how they deal with it and how they change as time goes on. It’s the truest form of the life, what really matters when the world has ened? Race? Sexuality? Belief in God? No, what matters is surviving in this world and keeping your humanity.

  12. Dianne Cart says:

    I think everyone misses the point! TWD does have stars. I think Andrew Lincoln’s acting is fantastic and that’s one reason I watch Walking Dead. Also, Norman Reedus is great! In fact, all the actors on this show do a fantastic job and the writer’s are wonderful. It’s not about zombies idiots! It’s about surviving in a world gone mad! Something that every human being should be able to relate to!

  13. Jason says:

    I realize it may not seem like much of a factor, but remember that ‘The Walking Dead’ is also a wildly popular ongoing comic book. This will also be a huge factor when ‘Preacher’ eventually debuts on AMC. ‘Preacher’, although not as popular as TWD, is also based on a comic book. I predict the show will take off, and AMC will eventually reign as the hottest ticket in television. (Google: Preacher)

  14. Jack says:

    Good read. But I think we are all forgetting that there is no “proven formula” for a hit. Studio and Television executives have their own idea’s of what hits are supposed to look like, feel like, sound like, etc. But it’s all just “researched guesses” in these ever-changing forms of entertainment.

    Television, especially, has expanded outwardly so much in the last few years that Executives are as dumbfounded as the rest of us. Since I don’t see the television expansion slowing down in the next few years, I don’t see anyone becoming an expert anytime soon.

  15. Kat says:

    I love it when the elitists of the world are outright shocked (!) by what regular people enjoy.

    You guys may get to hand out the shiny little statues, but you don’t make the rules. The Walking Dead DOES have “cultural cachet”, because normal people watch it and talk about it incessantly. It’s turned businessmen, truck drivers, and secretaries into once-a-week fanboys. And that’s great. Because it’s something that people care about because they LIKE it, not because you told them to.

    The country’s most popular show is about a bunch of rednecks from rural Georgia killing zombies. The fact that most of America has a lot more in common with these people than they do with Don Draper has got to be driving the critics crazy.

    But guess what? It’s not going away any time soon. Deal with it, and stop whining.

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t have to respect anyone who spends several paragraphs lamenting that the country’s most popular show isn’t one that HE wants to be popular. The politically correct don’t get to make all of the rules anymore. And that’s fabulous.

    • H. Townshend says:

      I kinda love this reply, though it’s a little more adversarial in tone than I think the actual article warrants. I don’t think the article’s author is the one surprised, or lamenting, but is pointing out that others were and/or continue to be. It’s good to have an article out here pointing out the fact that the more snobby elements in Hollywood and the media are ignoring something they REALLY should be paying pointed attention to. Someone needs to draw attention to that. This show should be winning all sorts of awards, and like he said, it may be that the reason it isn’t is only because the premise includes something out of science fiction/horror: zombies.
      I grant that in his wording I think he gives too little credit to this show since it in my mind IS by far and away “the best creatively.”
      He also completely misses the fact that a lot of people who watch, like me, can now name the ENTIRE cast of this ensemble work instantly, and love them ALL because they are all enormously talented people. I followed Norman Reedus and Laurie Holden before TWD, and now I have a great number of other actors from this cast to follow hereafter, whenever this series ends (or they get killed off).

  16. also, the dystopian genre hasnt had a good tv run in a long time if ever really. Every year theres 50 of the same new reality shows, the same “_____ P.D.” show and the same lawyer/crime/doctor shows. then theres all the same crappy family sitcoms

    People have been looking for something different and dark tv shows seem to be the way they’re going. I, for one, am very happy about this!

  17. Bill says:

    The walking dead works because, not in spite, of the reasons you’ve listed. 1) No stars… This is good because they could be people from down the street. We have no idea about them. If it were known stars, we would have notions of what to expect. This way, we get the experience of learning about them. They start with a clean slate. 2) the writing. I don’t just mean the plot lines or who will be killed off. The characters have depth. For example, the Daryl character went from being a hot-headed redneck hick to a sensitive protector in the case of Carol and her daughter to Rick’s right hand man. That’s rare in any tv show and there isn’t time to do it in a movie. 3). Killing off the core group and (very) popular characters. The character killed off at the mid-season break was beloved. What other show has the guts to do that? When you watch this show, you never can predict exactly what will happen. They’ll kill off anyone and you know it. 4) when you watch this show, you can’t help but ask yourself “what would I do?” This gets your buy in and you feel the need to keep watching to find out what they will do and how that compares to what you think you would do. That’s powerful. Finally, this isn’t a show about zombies. They only form a backdrop. They are the constant thing hanging over all their heads, but they are not the main focus at all. It works because it is really good. You feel a part of the group. You’re right there with them. It’s an excellent show!

  18. TCMesta says:

    Great article. I love that you highlight “Walking’s” out of the box writing and how the audience is responding well to it. Would you say cable leaves more artistic freedom to the writers? Given the audience’s reaction to “Walking,” this would mean a new door is opening to a less cookie-cutter world of entertainment. It’s time writing formulas evolve, or better yet dissolve. I like it!

  19. Alejandro Mendoza says:

    It’s the unpredictable story twists, stupid… the tension that builds when any character is in danger augments (and trumps) all the other qualities of this show. And they are fully aware of this (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!) as they showed with the inert main character of this season first episode (“No way, they wouldn’t. SMH, they did! No they can’t, no they will not, ever. Or maybe they did, shit it moved, I knew they wouldn’t, but Oh Boy, for a good while I thought they did…”) and that is why this show keeps bringing me back, anxiously awaiting the next episode.

    • Karen W. says:

      Alejandro – I think you are absolutely correct.

      Anytime you’re watching a show on a broadcast network you KNOW a main character is NOT going to die so there is no real tension. It is so rare that I remember being dumbfounded when Criminal Mind’s had the guts to kill of Hotch’s wife even though she was a minor character – it’s pretty much unthinkable for mainsteam broadcast television.

      Hell, besides The Walking Dead what other show is a must watch immediately / “water cooler” show? Game of Thrones. What does GoT share with the Walking Dead? Um, they killed off who everyone (who had not read the books) in Season 1 and killed two MAJOR characters and one minor one at the end of last season.

      So ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW – get some decent writers and get a big a$$ cast together and start killin’ ’em off . . . I’m being a bit simplistic obviously but it wouldn’t hurt.

      • Eric V says:

        I agree with Alejandro & Karen above. However, I’d like to clarify. It’s not the body count per se that makes the show excellent, it’s the lack of tropes. The ability to connect with audiences and present real issues within an unreal context. If networks stopped following ever-weary, television formulas, they might be surprised at the results.

  20. Richard says:

    This is an extremely well written article regarding the Walking Dead phenomenon. I hope that Hollywood is listening and taking notes on why this show works so well. My opinion is that viewers are intrigued by deep complex relatable characters. The storyline is fresh and unpredictable but feels natural in progression. Stars don’t make a great film or tv show, it’s great story and characters that captivate a modern audience.

  21. Julienne says:

    Every Star’s had their flops, because the story’s were crap. if the story’s great, you don’t need Stars.

  22. jedi77 says:

    What makes it such a great show for me, is that the characters are rarely ever stupid. The may be evil, dumb, gullible, but very rarely are they downright stupid (though I had a very tough time with how long it took for Andrea to realise who the Govenor really was – that was idiotic). I like that. Unlike, for instance, the utter stupid characters on Helix. Antoher show about a disease outbreak. “A deadly disease is running rampant – let’s have sex”.

    Also: When characters are romantic towards each other, they just are. It’s not some stupid love triangle, it’s just natural. It flows with the story and the circumstances. And it is not used as a story line for an entire episode, with people running around sulking, turning it into a soap.

    For a man like myself, stupid characters and people spending more time discussing who they are sleeping with than they do surviving a zombie apocalypse is a bad show. Fortunately, TWD has very little of that, and that is why I love it.

  23. Why? Because they’re escaping to a place they recognize growing inside of themselves; and social media, with its deadening effects on our ability to socialize with each other, as we once did, not so long ago, is not helping!!

  24. Jesse Skeen says:

    Sad that people are actually paying for this, and sad that it’s part of how the rules for broken for what USED TO BE cable’s best channel, American Movie Classics, which was originally logo-free, commercial-free and censorship-free. When the real AMC went under (the biggest cable tragedy since MTV abandoning music), I knew there was no hope left for cable whatsoever.

  25. Abraham Eisner says:

    The reason why The Walking Dead has so many viewers is because most of them are zombies themselves.

  26. “Most amazing of all was “Walking’s” audacious decision to bench the entire cast for two episodes to tell the story of the Governor — name another show that would dare do that.” Huh? Let’s see…The Wire did that with 60 episodes…but most importantly The X-Files did that in 1997 with a legendary episode called “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man”. Not to mention “Hungry”, the 7th season’s episode in which they told the story from the POV of the monster of the week. But you need to have good knowledge of Television History to know those things. You people clearly don’t have that kind of knowledge.

  27. Matthew Coppins says:

    That was a wonderful and dead on read! The Walking Dead just rules. I love your insight.

  28. John says:

    Interesting article. For those who can’t respect an opinion (an insightful one at that), get out of this country (If you disagree fine, but explain why). The Walking Dead can be good when it wants to and can be absolute crap other times.

    I’ve been with this show since S1, where its finale peaked at right below 6M (can’t believe its nearly 16M). It’s definitely had it’s ups and downs and I blame inconsistency in show runners as a major cause (look at the other two hit dramas in AMC’s “Holy Trinity”). Character development lacks sometimes and can end up being inconsistent/unimportant in the long term. I think this show was at its best when it had a tight knit cast and wasn’t like watching an episode of days of our lives (S2). It baffles me that this show gets 16M viewers.

    My guess is that it spans such a wide demographic (not just the 18-? year olds). A lot of kids watch it too.

    • John says:

      I don’t understand how you phrased your comment. Maybe it was my fault in how I tried to get my point accross. My point is that the characters don’t really progress or evolve consistently (key word) as the story moves along. They have tried to mold Rick into all these different personas, from scorned husband, dictator, all around good guy, voice of reason, cold blooded killer, etc. The story can be just as inconsistent in terms of running in circles not moving the plot anywhere (season 2 is a good example).

    • E Cheung says:

      Never say “character development.”
      It’s the number one way to reveal how much you don’t know (about story).

  29. Jacques Strappe says:

    Thank you. Great article. The Walking Dead is a phenomon that defies logic. Horror/fantasy is a tough sell on television, especially for multiple seasons. Both the zombie / deadly virus and vampire storylines are so overused in both film and television. Walking Dead is a good show that I watch often but not with religious devotion. I have a tough time trying to reconcile why the ratings are out of this world. But I could argue the same thing about The Big Bang Theory popularity which, unlike The Walking Dead, I no longer find even remotely entertaining or watchable any longer.

  30. Kevin McMillian says:

    “Somehow the show has gotten this far without resorting to the usual tricks: the cheesy love triangle, the awful catchphrase, the curvaceous or studly character who somehow manages to look sexy in a post-apocalyptic war zone. There is nothing sexy about “Walking.” Ever. ”

    You obviously don’t watch the show or have been playing Tetris on your iPad while half heartedly watching.

    • jedi77 says:

      Well I don’t play Tetris, and I don’t find it remotely sexy either.
      Sure, any actor or actress can have sexappeal, but for my money it has never been “used” by the creators as it so often is in other shows.

  31. loco73 says:

    “The Walking Dead”, very much like “Game Of Thrones”, “True Detective” and a few other select shows, succeed, because they don’t talk down to their audiences. Character development and story is as important as the action, special and visual effects. The fact that awards largely ignore a series such as “The Walking Dead” pretty much speaks as to how out of touch they are with the rest of society and what people want to actually watch in their spare time on television.

    The cast is topnotch, with a special nod to Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, David Morrissey, Scott Wilson and Jeffrey DeMunn. But the whole cast is outstanding and deliver it out of the park week in and week out. Great direction, amazing music (thanks Bear McCreary!), excellent acting and really, really high production values!

    To be honest, I draw more pleasure from watching an hour of “The Walking Dead” or “Game Of Thrones” in a week than I do from seeing several movies, some of which cost ungodly amounts of money to make…but are empty, souless, loud and obnoxious spectacles…i.e. style over substance!

    Hollywood would do well to learn something from “The Walking Dead”!

  32. DJ says:

    Not to take anything away from The Walking Dead, but I think a big reason why TWD viewers watch right away rather than time-shifting with their DVRs, is because they know they’ll be spoiled otherwise.

    With other shows, either there’s not as much social media buzz that equates to numerous spoilers in one’s Facebook or Twitter feeds, or it’s not the type of show where spoilers matter as much. Even a program like The Blacklist, which does have a continuing story running throughout the season, is still also very much a self-contained hour within each episode. So if something *is* spoiled on one of those types of shows, it’s usually not something that will ruin the entire rest of the season. But with Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, I know if I don’t watch the show the evening it airs, I will regret the decision when I see everyone talking about their shock at some character dying, or some other major development that changes the tenor of the series.

    • H. Townshend says:

      There is that, I grant you. It’s definitely a factor, but not the only one I think. Take me for example: I can go for days without my social media when I’m busy, and I know better than to chance being spoiled if I’ve missed (sometimes, horrible as it is and as much as I hate it when it happens, I work the night that TWD airs), but I still watch TWD at my absolute earliest possible convenience if I’ve missed it’s original airing. And The Talking Dead aftershow too.

  33. Jason says:

    Unscripted series like duck dynasty ? Are you serious ? You and your blog are completely meaningless.

  34. Julienne says:

    If it ain’t on the page…it ain’t on the stage. You don’t need Stars, if you have a great storyline. BAM!

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