Fans of AMC’s hit zombie series The Walking Dead are eagerly awaiting the fourth season premiere which airs this Sunday.
Since its debut in October 2010, The Walking Dead, adapted from Robert Kirkman’s comic book series of the same name, has received multiple award nominations and consistently attracts millions of viewers. Over 12 million tuned in last March to watch the season three finale, a number which Entertainment Weekly reported was enough to break the record for most-watched drama series telecast in basic cable history.
The series stands at the forefront of the myriad of horror films and related media which have elevated zombies back to popularity. What sets it apart is the writers’ willingness to go beyond the typical mindless shuffling of other zombie fiction.
AMC says fans of the show know it’s about more than zombies, it’s about survival, leadership and adapting to uncertain situations. Yet, while fans may be united on this front, not all are in agreement concerning the quality of the show’s recent seasons.
Spencer Thompson, a third year student at STU, was disappointed by the direction the television adaptation took after its first season.
“I think it’s headed in the right direction now,” Thompson said.“After the disaster that was season two they’ve found a way to combine compelling storytelling with great action, which makes the episodes exciting. Season four looks promising.”
Many attributed the perceived drop in quality to the firing of show-runner Frank Darabont, also known for directing films such as The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist. Darabont was fired in July 2011 due to the show’s reduced budget and his strained relationship with AMC executives.
Glen Mazzara, who took Darabont’s place, stepped down after the show’s third season. Scott Gimple will be replacing Mazzara, a change in staff which some fans hope will be reflected in the quality of the series.
One of the fourth season’s draws is the return of David Morrissey in his role as the Governor, a one-eyed, psychotic antagonist who controls the town of Woodbury, Georgia and terrorizes the main group of survivors.
“With The Governor around you never know what’s going to happen. He adds a lot of suspense and a unique twist to the show,” Thompson said.
While some may have their doubts, second year student Abbie McCarthy says she is pleased with the series and is looking forward to upcoming season.
“I’ve been a big fan of the show since the beginning,” McCarthy said. “There have been a lot of times where I’ve found myself yelling at the screen in disbelief. It really is that intense.”
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