The Walking Dead
Episodes Available: Seasons 1-2
Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal, Steven Yeun, Laurie Holden, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey DeMunn, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Michael Rooker, Emily Kinney
A television show about zombies? Any George A. Romero fanboy will tell you that, prior to AMC's The Walking Dead, such a proposition was unheard of. After all, TV producers only care about medical dramas, cop shows, and domestic sitcoms, right? Not the brave souls in the AMC offices, who continued their daring streak of green-lighting dark, cutting-edge adult dramas (Mad Men, Breaking Bad) by giving acclaimed filmmaker Frank Darabont the go-sign to adapt Robert Kirkman's beloved Image Comics title.
It's easy to see why AMC took the risk. The Walking Dead, as Kirkman lays it out, isn't about the zombies as much as its about the living characters. Led by do-gooder sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the show's band of random survivors drives the hour-long pressure cooker, quarrling with each other while trying to stay alive amidst the flesh-eater takeover. And thanks to Glen Mazzara, who stepped in to fill Darabont's role for season two after AMC's behind-the-scenes drama, the series is now exactly what optimistic fans thought it could be all along: bold, fearless storytelling.
Furthermore, it's the people's show, breaking cable ratings records and dominating social media conversations every Sunday night while never registering with Emmy voters and making many stuffed-shirt pundits resist its genre sensibilities. —MB