6. The Walking Dead (AMC)
Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, IronE Singleton, Scott Wilson, Lauren Cohan, Michael Zegen
Remember all of the complaints and vitriol that were aimed at AMC's The Walking Dead last year? Kicking off its split-up second season with seven episodes, the zombie apocalypse drama opened with a ghoul-heavy first ep and closed with particularly grisly mid-season finale, but in between? A whole lot of talking, prophesizing, and walking around without many undead interferences, and bloodthirsty viewers weren't having it.
Something that new showrunner Glen Mazzara (stepping into Frank Darabont's role) was more than happy to fix. The six episodes that closed out The Walking Dead's harrowing second season were balls-to-the-wall, zombie-thick insanity, with an underlying grasp on character development and heart-wrenching tragedy to boot. Main characters died, graphically, and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) finally manned up and took the forceful leadership role.
And how about the seeds planted for the show's upcoming third run? Those final images of Michonne (newcomer Danai Gurira) with her samurai sword and the massive prison the survivors will attempt to shack up in were badass enough for any show-criticising fan of Robert Kirkman's original comic book series to stand up and cheer.