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The Walking Dead (TV series)

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The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead title card.jpg
Genre Serial drama[1]
Horror[2]
Based on The Walking Dead 
by Robert Kirkman
Tony Moore
Charlie Adlard
Developed by Frank Darabont
Starring
Theme music composer Bear McCreary
Opening theme "The Walking Dead Theme"
Composer(s) Bear McCreary
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 67 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Location(s) Georgia
Cinematography
Running time 42–45 minutes
Production company(s)
Release
Original channel AMC
Picture format 720p (16:9 HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD)
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (Blu-ray) Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Blu-ray)
Original release October 31, 2010 (2010-10-31) – present
Chronology
Related shows Talking Dead
Fear the Walking Dead
External links
Official website

The Walking Dead is an American horror drama television series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. Andrew Lincoln plays the show's lead character, sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes,[3] who awakens from a months-long coma to confront a new, apocalyptic world overrun by zombies. Within minutes after death, regardless of its cause, all people now reanimate into these zombified mindless shells of their former selves, driven solely by instinct to spread the unknown pathogen by biting and eating any available living animal, especially other humans.[4]

Grimes reunites with his family and becomes the leader of a group he forms with some of the many other survivors whom he encounters in his quest for a safe haven. Together they are forced to survive and adapt in a world filled with the zombies (aka walkers) and certain humans who are even more dangerous than the zombies themselves.[5] The first season takes place in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and the second through fourth seasons are set in the surrounding countryside of northern Georgia.[4]

The Walking Dead premiered in the U.S. on October 31, 2010, on the cable television channel AMC[6] and internationally in November 2010 on Fox International Channels.[7] AMC has renewed the series each year because of its consistently increasing Nielsen ratings which have been unprecedentedly high for a cable series, including averaging the most 18- to 49-year-old adult viewers of any cable or broadcast television series during its fourth and fifth seasons.[8] The series has been renewed for a sixth season,[9] which will premiere on October 11, 2015.[10] An AMC companion series, Fear the Walking Dead,[11] will debut August 23, 2015.[12]

The series has been well received by critics[13][14] and has been nominated for several awards, including the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: New Series[15] and the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama.[16]

Series overview

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 6 October 31, 2010 (2010-10-31) December 5, 2010 (2010-12-05)
2 13 October 16, 2011 (2011-10-16) March 18, 2012 (2012-03-18)
3 16 October 14, 2012 (2012-10-14) March 31, 2013 (2013-03-31)
4 16 October 13, 2013 (2013-10-13) March 30, 2014 (2014-03-30)
5 16 October 12, 2014 (2014-10-12) March 29, 2015 (2015-03-29)
6 16[17] October 11, 2015 (2015-10-11)[10] 2016 (2016)[17]

Season 1 (2010)

Sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes is shot and wounded in an altercation with criminals. He awakens from a months-long coma in an abandoned and badly-damaged hospital. Rick leaves the hospital and discovers an apocalyptic world overrun by zombies, colloquially called "walkers" and "biters". He returns to his house to find his wife and son missing, then meets survivors Morgan Jones and Morgan's son Duane, who initially mistrust Rick but take him into their own house and explain the apocalypse. Morgan reveals that within minutes after death, all people now reanimate into mindless shells of their former selves, driven solely by instinct to spread the unknown pathogen by biting and eating any available living animal, especially other humans. Morgan's wife has been zombified and sometimes returns to the family's home, but Morgan cannot bring himself to kill her. Rick, Morgan, and Duane retrieve guns and ammo from Rick's sheriff station. Rick then travels alone to Atlanta, Georgia, wherein the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is said to have set up a quarantined Safe Zone. Instead, he discovers that the city has been overrun by walkers and soon finds himself surrounded by them. After being rescued by Glenn Rhee, Rick meets part of Glenn's group hiding in a nearby department store, including Andrea, T-Dog, Morales and Jacqui. Walkers overrun the store, forcing the group to leave behind Merle Dixon, an unstable and violent member of the group whom Rick had handcuffed to a ventilation pipe on the roof (T-Dog had since lost the key).

A few miles outside Atlanta, Rick's wife Lori and son Carl have been surviving at a camp with Shane Walsh, Rick's police partner and best friend. Other people at the camp include Andrea's younger sister Amy, Dale Horvath, whose RV is at the heart of the camp, Carol Peletier, her abusive husband Ed and preteen daughter Sophia, and mechanic Jim. Rick does not know that his family is part of the other half of Glenn's group. Shane unintentionally misleads Lori into believing that Rick is dead, as he himself believes. Thinking herself a widow, Lori begins an affair with Shane.

Rick tearfully reunites with his family and the rest of the group at the camp and begins sharing the command with Shane. Upon discovering that Rick is alive, Lori immediately ends her relationship with Shane. Rick decides to return to Atlanta to rescue Merle and collect a cache of guns Rick had left behind. Accompanying him are Glenn, T-Dog, and Merle's younger brother Daryl. The group discovers that Merle had fled after sawing off his hand. They arrive back at the camp to find it under attack by walkers. Several group members are killed, including Ed and Amy. Jim is later revealed to have been bitten. The group decides to travel to the CDC headquarters in Atlanta in hopes of finding answers and a possible cure for Jim. Mid-journey, Jim asks to be left on the side of the road to die.

At the CDC, only one staff member, Dr. Edwin Jenner, remains. He is the widower of the former CDC director (the "Einstein of her field") whom he was forced to fatally shoot after she was bitten by a walker. He shows the video of her hours-long demise and eventual killing to the adults in the group to help explain the disease and its progression. All other CDC personnel have either fled or committed suicide. Jenner explains that he continued researching the pandemic only to fulfill a promise to his wife as he believes the outbreak is the human "extinction event". He suspects that the disease is caused by a microorganism – such as a virus, bacterium, fungus, or parasite – or possibly even by Divine Intervention.

Jenner concedes that he has been unable to find a cure, but adds that researchers at France's version of the CDC may have been about to discover one before their generators ran out of fuel, causing that facility to automatically self-destruct as it had been designed to do under such circumstances to prevent the escape of deadly pathogens. Lack of fuel for the Atlanta CDC's own emergency generators soon initiates building safety protocols similarly designed to destroy that structure and all of its occupants. Jenner and Jacqui decide to remain inside. Andrea initially decides to remain behind, but Dale coaxes her to leave under threat of him also remaining. Before Rick and the others escape, Jenner whispers something into Rick's ear which causes his face to register a look of shock. The remaining survivors escape just before an explosion incinerates the CDC building, killing Jenner and Jacqui.[18][19]

Season 2 (2011–12)

The second season begins with Rick and his group of survivors escaping the CDC. They choose Fort Benning as their next destination. Along the way, they encounter a traffic jam of abandoned vehicles on Interstate 85. The group loots several vehicles, and assumes that all is well until a large herd of walkers approaches and they are forced to disperse and hide under cars. A walker chases Sophia out from her hiding spot and, with another walker, pursues her into the woods. Rick finds her but loses her again after drawing off the walkers. During the group's search for Sophia, a hunter Otis accidentally shoots Carl. To get medical help for Carl, Otis convinces Rick and Shane to bring him to a large, isolated farm owned by veterinarian Hershel Greene, then helps Shane look for medical supplies at the local high school. After finding the supplies, Shane injures his leg and then shoots Otis, leaving him for the walkers so that he can get away. The survivors then move to the farm while Carl recovers, trying to co-exist with Hershel's family, but dangerous secrets and disagreements over leadership cause tensions to rise. Lori is revealed to be pregnant (she is unsure whether Rick or Shane is the father), and Glenn builds a romantic relationship with Maggie, Hershel's elder daughter. Dale and later Rick confront Shane about his selfish actions, including his responsibility for Otis' death. Glenn also discovers then later reveals that the barn is full of walkers, some of whom are Hershel's family members and neighbors. An angry Shane releases the walkers, all of whom are quickly exterminated upon exiting the barn, including Sophia who is reluctantly shot by Rick.

Beth, Hershel's youngest daughter, collapses in shock over the barn incident, which included her face-to-face encounter on the ground with her mother-turned-walker who tried to bite her. Hershel disappears to grieve for his wife and other zombified family and friends killed outside the barn. Rick and Glenn find him drinking at a local tavern, then try to coax him to return to the farm. At the tavern, they meet two other survivors (Dave and Tony). The situation rapidly turns sour, so Rick is forced to kill the two men in a gunfight. The dead men's group quickly finds and opens fire on Rick, Hershel, and Glenn at the bar. The noise attracts a large herd of walkers, forcing all involved to try to flee, but one attacker, Randall Culver, is injured and left behind. Rick opts to take him back to the farm, then realize that he is likely to reveal the farm's location to his own group. As Rick and the others deliberate about what to do with Randall, a walker bites Dale, forcing Daryl to euthanize him. The group later conducts a search for Randall, whom Shane had secretly released and murdered in the woods. Daryl and Glenn find Randall — as a walker — and kill him. Daryl concludes that Randall died from a broken neck (rather than a walker's bite or scratch) and subsequently reanimated.

Meanwhile, Shane and Rick confront each other — the former having planned the fake search so he could try to murder Rick. Rick gets the upper hand and fatally stabs Shane in the torso. Carl arrives just in time to see Shane reanimate as a walker and shoots him down. The gunshot attracts a large herd of other walkers, who quickly overrun the area. In the ensuing battle and escape, Beth's boyfriend Jimmy and Otis's wife Patricia are devoured, and Andrea is left behind. Andrea survives on her own and is later rescued by a hooded woman carrying a katana sword and accompanied by two chained, armless, jawless walkers. The remaining survivors regroup but are forced to make camp when their vehicles run low on gasoline. Lori at first shuns Rick after learning that he had killed Shane. After hearing of Randall's fate, Rick finally reveals what Jenner had whispered to him at the CDC: every survivor is infected with the walker pathogen and will thus reanimate after death regardless of its cause. Rick also discloses to the rest of the group that he was forced to kill Shane in self-defense. Later that night, the group questions Rick's leadership, but Rick asserts a dictatorship-style ultimatum and solidifies his command of the group. In the final scene, a large prison is shown looming in a pan out.[20]

Season 3 (2012–13)

The third season begins several months after the group had escaped from the farm, and Lori is in the final days of her pregnancy. The group stumbles on a prison swamped by walkers and sets about converting it into their new home. While securing the prison, Hershel is bitten in the ankle by a walker and Rick is forced to amputate his lower leg to prevent further infection. They soon find several surviving inmates who have been trapped in the cafeteria for months. Although mistrustful of them, Rick, Daryl and T-Dog help the inmates clear a separate cell block for them to live in. After the inmates make several attempts on his life, Rick kills inmate Tomas and locks inmate Andrew inside a walker-infested courtyard. Rick's group helps the surviving prisoners — Axel and Oscar — clear a separate cellblock, and exiles them from the group. A walker breakout later splits up the survivors into even smaller groups. Andrew is revealed to have escaped the courtyard that Rick locked him in and is the person responsible for the attacks on the prison. Oscar fatally shoots Andrew in the head and as a result he and Axel are accepted into the group. During the attack T-Dog is bitten in the struggle and sacrifices himself to save Carol, while Lori goes into labor and insists that Maggie perform an emergency Caesarean section to save the baby, suspecting that it will kill her due to the lack of necessary medical equipment and personnel. As a result of the operation, Lori dies, and Carl reluctantly shoots her in the head to prevent her reanimation, as he had promised her he would do. After several days of mourning, Carl and Rick name the baby Judith.

Meanwhile, Andrea and Michonne (who rescued Andrea from the farm) are taken to Woodbury, a heavily-fortified town. They meet The Governor, the town's leader, and learn that Merle has taken refuge there as well. Michonne is immediately suspicious of The Governor and the settlement so she decides to leave, but Andrea refuses to go with her because she believes it is safe and is infatuated with The Governor. Merle is ordered to hunt down Michonne, but only manages to wound her. He subsequently captures Maggie and Glenn while they are out scavenging. Michonne, who witnesses the abduction, eventually arrives at the prison and then guides Rick, Daryl, and Oscar back to Woodbury on a rescue mission. The team retrieves the couple, but Oscar is killed and Daryl is captured by the townspeople. Michonne investigates The Governor's apartment, where she kills his reanimated daughter Penny (whom he had kept chained in a back room). As a result, he attacks Michonne there, who stabs and blinds him in the eye with a shard of broken glass, then escapes. In the aftermath, The Governor calls an assembly and publicly accuses Merle of treason, reuniting him with Daryl in front of the angry mob and orders the brothers to fight each other. Rick and Maggie come back and rescue them, but after regrouping outside of town, Daryl decides to leave with Merle, as Rick won't allow Merle to rejoin their group.

Back at the prison, Carl meets another band of survivors — led by Tyreese and his sister Sasha — and shelters them. Rick returns, but while he is speaking to the newcomers, Lori appears to him in a hallucination, launching him into a rage and ordering Tyreese's group to leave. The two siblings eventually find sanctuary in Woodbury. The Governor and a small team attack the prison the next day, killing Axel and breaching the outer fence before retreating. Merle and Daryl, having decided to try to rejoin Rick's group, return and help him fight off attacking walkers. Rick and Carl, with Michonne in tow, return to the Grimes' hometown to gather weapons from Rick's sheriff's station. There, Rick finds Morgan again and learns that Duane was killed by his reanimated mother, whom Morgan couldn't bring himself to kill after she turned. Instead of joining Rick, Morgan chooses to stay behind. After being initially mistrustful of her, Rick and Carl accept Michonne into the group.

Andrea arranges a meeting between Rick and The Governor, who promises to end all hostilities in exchange for Michonne being handed over to him. Secretly, however, he plans to slaughter the prison group anyway. Andrea discovers the plot and attempts to escape back to the prison, but The Governor captures her. Rick tells Merle about the deal and agrees to do the "dirty work" of kidnapping Michonne and handing her over. En route to the meeting point where the Governor is, Merle and Michonne talk, and Merle has a change of heart and releases her. He goes on to foil The Governor's planned ambush and engages in a gun battle with his townspeople; the two men then get into in a violent physical confrontation which is won by The Governor. Daryl then finds Merle reanimated as a walker and is forced to kill his own brother.

The Governor orders his advisor Milton to kill Andrea, but when he refuses, The Governor stabs him and locks him inside a room with Andrea, so that he will bite her after he dies and turns. The Governor then leads his followers on a planned assault on the prison, but Rick's group stages an ambush and repels the attack. When the frightened, retreating Woodbury attackers decide to end their involvement with the assault, the angry Governor fatally shoots all of them except Martinez and Shumpert. Rick, Daryl, and Michonne find Karen — the massacre's only other surviving attacker — who joins them while on their way to Woodbury to finish off The Governor. Karen convinces Tyreese and Sasha to allow the group inside the town when they arrive. They then find Andrea alive but suffering from a bite from the zombified Milton. Andrea uses Rick's revolver to commit suicide with Michonne by her side. The season ends with Rick's group returning to the prison along with the remaining Woodbury survivors, while The Governor's whereabouts remain unknown.[21]

Season 4 (2013–14)

The fourth season's story begins several months following the close of the third season's, where life has become relatively peaceful for the growing number of survivors at the prison. Due to Rick's emotional issues, he made the decision months ago to renounce his role as the leader of the group, and a council was formed as a replacement. The peaceful society is disrupted when a deadly flu-like disease ravages the population, killing many of the survivors. After being infected and quarantined, Karen (who has formed a romantic relationship with Tyreese) and another resident at the prison are murdered and their bodies burnt. When Rick realizes that Carol is the culprit, he exiles her from the prison to another town miles away. A scavenging team eventually returns with the medicine needed to contain the outbreak.

Meanwhile, a flashback reveals that The Governor was abandoned by his remaining henchmen following the failed attack on the prison and then depicts Woodbury burning at his hands, before forwarding to the present where he is shown disheveled and wandering aimlessly. He eventually runs into a small town and the Chambler family – Lilly, Tara, their terminally ill father David, and Lilly's daughter Meghan. The Governor adopts a false identity and performs numerous good deeds for the family. Following David's death, the Chamblers leave their home with The Governor and soon run into his former henchman Martinez, who is now the leader of a camp of survivors. The Governor kills him to take command of the camp and disguises his death as an accident. He rallies the group behind his cause for revenge against Rick's group.

The Governor finds Michonne and Hershel outside of the prison and takes them hostage. He arrives at the gates with his new-found army and threatens to kill the hostages. Refusing to surrender, Rick proposes that they coexist at the prison instead of fighting. Sensing that some of his group may be persuaded, The Governor decapitates Hershel with Michonne's katana, provoking a firefight between the two camps. Elsewhere, Meghan is fatally bitten; The Governor coldly shoots her in the head. Rick confronts and fights The Governor, who nearly kills him, but Michonne saves Rick in time by mortally wounding The Governor with her sword. An angry Lilly later shoots him in the head. The Governor's army is eventually defeated, but the defending survivors are scattered as the prison is overrun by walkers.

Following the battle, the survivors are split into different groups traveling separately, with each encountering a variety of obstacles as they search for "Terminus", a place described as a "sanctuary for all" by the many signs posted along a network of railroad tracks. Michonne reunites with Rick and Carl. Carol meets up with Tyreese (not knowing that she had killed Karen) and they struggle to deal with Lizzie – an emotionally disturbed child who murders her younger sister, Mika – which results in Carol reluctantly killing her to protect Judith and the others. Carol eventually confesses to killing Karen in order to save the others from probable infection and death; however, Tyreese decides to forgive her, despite having previously promised that he would kill Karen's murderer. Beth, who was traveling with Daryl and taking shelter with him in a funeral home, is kidnapped during a walker attack. Maggie, Sasha and Bob Stookey (who joined the prison a week prior to the attack) travel together; Sasha and Bob form a romantic relationship. Glenn teams up with Tara to escape the prison and encounter three new survivors – Sgt. Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and Dr. Eugene Porter – who are on a mission to Washington, D.C. in search of what remains of the government. Eugene reveals that he knows the cause of the walker outbreak but is unable to elaborate, claiming that the information is classified. On the way to Terminus, Glenn and Maggie's groups reunite. They are the first group shown to arrive at Terminus, where they are greeted by Mary, a friendly woman who welcomes them in and offers food.

Meanwhile, after losing Beth, Daryl encounters a hostile group of men led by Joe. He allows Daryl to join under the condition that he lives by their code – a strict set of rules punishable by beatings and even death if broken. They eventually find Rick, Michonne and Carl and hold them hostage, seeking fatal revenge for an earlier run-in with Rick that left one of their members strangled to death. Daryl arrives on the scene to stop the attack, and the bandits are eventually overwhelmed and killed. Reunited with Daryl, the group makes their way to Terminus where they run into the town's inhabitants, who assure Rick and the group that they are now safe. However, a conflict breaks out after Rick notices Hershel's watch, Glenn's riot gear, and Maggie's poncho being worn by several of the townspeople. Greatly outnumbered, Rick and the others are forced to surrender. Gareth, the leader of Terminus, orders them into a nearby railroad car where they discover Glenn and Maggie's group are also being held captive. The season ends with Rick proclaiming, "They're gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out...they're [screwing] with the wrong people."[22]

Season 5 (2014–15)

The group successfully escapes Terminus after Carol rescues them by arriving undetected with an army of walkers (whom she had lured) and creating a fiery explosion, the noise from which attracts even more zombies and results in a major diversion that aids in the getaway. Reunited with Tyreese and Judith, the group runs into and rescues a local reverend, Gabriel Stokes, from a pack of walkers. Gabriel is severely unequipped to defend himself and it is later revealed that he had refused to let people inside his church, causing them to be killed by walkers. He leads the group back to his church, where Eugene reveals his knowledge of a top secret biochemical weapon that can kill every living being on the planet. Eugene says that he believes he can tweak it to target walkers instead. Bob is kidnapped by Gareth, who with his group of cannibals, eats Bob's leg. Bob reveals that he had earlier been bitten by a walker, causing them to return him to Rick and the group. Daryl and Carol are assumed missing; they had previously departed to chase after a car that Daryl believed was involved in Beth's disappearance.

Some of the Terminus cannibals make it into the church but are soon killed by Rick and others. Bob dies the next morning, with Sasha at his side; Tyreese smashes his head to prevent him from turning. Tara, Glenn, and Maggie depart with Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene in a bus, headed for Washington, D.C., while the rest of the group remains at the church. When the bus crashes, the group decides to continue north. While camped in a library, Eugene reveals to Tara that he had purposely sabotaged the bus, fearing that he would have been abandoned if the group had made it to their destination and thus discovered that he was a liar and fraud. The following morning, the group continues traveling in a fire truck but are eventually forced to stop after spotting hordes of walkers. During an argument about how they should proceed, Eugene admits to the rest of the group that he had lied about his knowledge of a cure and fabricated the mission in order to trick others into helping him stay alive. Abraham beats him into unconsciousness, but is prevented by the others from killing him.

Beth awakens in a hospital located in downtown Atlanta, greeted by city police officer Dawn Lerner and Dr. Steven Edwards. Beth soon meets hospital worker Noah, and the two attempt to escape; Beth is recaptured while Noah slips away. Meanwhile, Daryl and Carol are stranded in Atlanta while searching for Beth; they deduce that she is being held at Grady Memorial Hospital. Camped near the hospital, they encounter Noah, who confirms Beth's whereabouts. The cops from the hospital are then attracted, and they capture Carol after hitting her with their car. Daryl and Noah head back to the church to enlist help. Rick, Tyreese, and Sasha accompany Daryl and Noah to Atlanta to rescue Carol and Beth, while Michonne, Carl, Gabriel, and Judith remain at the church. Gabriel escapes into the woods, unintentionally leading a horde of walkers back to the church. The horde is then locked inside the church as Abraham's group returns; when Michonne informs them of the rescue mission, the group departs for Atlanta.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Rick's group captures three police officers from the hospital to make a trade; one of the officers escapes but is soon run down and killed by Rick. At the hospital the trade is completed successfully, but Dawn demands Noah's return; Noah voluntarily complies in order to avoid a gunfight. Appalled by the demand, Beth confronts Dawn and stabs her in the shoulder, resulting in Dawn reflexively shooting Beth in the head, which she instantly regrets having done. Daryl immediately kills Dawn and carries Beth's body outside the hospital, where they are united with Abraham's group. A distraught Maggie breaks down.

Throughout the first half of the season, Morgan is seen following Rick's trail. He finds Rick's warning about Terminus, before following a trail to the church left by Gareth and the cannibals on the hunt for Rick's group. At the church, Morgan is surprised to find Abraham's written note addressed to his friend, "Rick Grimes".

Seventeen days after Beth's death, Rick, Glenn, Michonne, and Tyreese travel to Richmond, Virginia with Noah to reunite him with his family, in order to honor Beth. When they arrive, they discover that Noah's neighborhood is overrun with walkers. Tyreese searches Noah's house, is bitten on the arm by Noah's walker brother, experiences bizarre hallucinations featuring some of the killed-off characters, and later dies. The rest of the group is reunited, buries Tyreese and says their goodbyes to him. Convinced by Michonne, the group continues on to Washington, though low on supplies. While staying in a barn, Maggie and Sasha come upon Aaron, a man who claims to be a "friend" bringing good news and wishes to speak to their group leader. Aaron tells the group that he is from the Alexandria Safe Zone and shows them pictures of it in an effort to convince them to live there. Rick, however, is still very untrusting. Michonne persuades him to go there, so he and the group begin their journey. Aaron is reunited with his boyfriend, Eric, along the way. The next morning, the group arrives at the Safe Zone's gates, feeling relaxed.

After passing through the gates, each member is required to surrender his weapons and is interviewed by Ohio congresswoman Deanna Monroe, the Safe Zone's leader. The group is given two neighboring houses to live in. Deanna appoints Rick and Michonne as the Safe Zone's constables, and Daryl is later delegated as a recruiter. While settling in, Rick becomes enamored with Jessie Anderson, a married mother. Meanwhile, Rick assigns Carol to surreptitiously retrieve the group's guns, which she does and then offers one each to Rick and Daryl. Daryl refuses his, saying that he feels the residents mean them no harm, but Rick hesitantly accepts a pistol.

While on a supply run, Deanna's reckless son Aiden is killed and Nicholas, a cowardly member of the Safe Zone, causes Noah's death. Nicholas later blames Glenn for both deaths. Maggie overhears Gabriel telling Deanna that Rick and his group are demons who can't be trusted. Carol grows suspicious that Jessie and her son are being abused by her husband Pete, leading to Pete and Rick getting into a brawl. Rick nearly kills Pete and then threatens bystanders with a gun before Michonne knocks him unconscious for his own good. As a result, Deanna announces that there will be a meeting that evening to discuss what to do with Rick and his group, while Pete is forced to live in another home. While out searching for supplies miles away, Daryl and Aaron open up a food truck, which turns out to be a walker-infested trap set by The Wolves, which leads to the two finding refuge in a nearby car that becomes swarmed by walkers. Morgan rescues the pair and after showing Daryl the map from the church with Rick's name, joins them on their trip back to Alexandria.

Meanwhile, Nicholas attempts to murder Glenn outside the walls but fails, yet Glenn spares his life. Gabriel leaves the gate to the Safe Zone open which allows walkers to roam into it. Rick notices and hunts down and kills the walkers before arriving at the meeting with one on his shoulder. Rick tells the community that they must change to survive in this violent apocalyptic world when an enraged and intoxicated Pete shows up with Michonne's katana. Deanna's husband Reg tries to calm him down, which results in Pete fatally slashing him in his neck. Abraham immediately relieves Pete of the sword and pins him to the ground. A crying Deanna then tells Rick to "do it" and he complies by fatally shooting Pete in the head with neither hesitation nor reluctance. Morgan, Daryl and Aaron arrive just in time to witness the execution with Morgan and Rick staring at one another with shocked looks on their faces.

At the same time, the two Wolves members who had attacked Morgan in the woods arrive at the food warehouse and use loud noises to lure the walkers back into the trucks, resetting their trap. While perusing photos of Alexandria, one Wolf notices a snapshot of Rick and Carl.[23]

Season 6 (2015–16)

The sixth season is set to premiere on October 11, 2015. The season will consist of 16 episodes, split into two eight-episode parts, the second of which will begin in February 2016.[24] Gimple serves as showrunner for the third consecutive season.

Future seasons

Executive producer David Alpert said the original comics have given them enough ideas for Rick Grimes and company over the next seven years. "I happen to love working from source material, specifically because we have a pretty good idea of what Season 10 is gonna be", Alpert said. "We know where seasons 11 and 12 [will be]... we have benchmarks and milestones for those seasons if we're lucky enough to get there."[25]

Cast and characters

Main

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6
Andrew Lincoln Rick Grimes Main
Jon Bernthal Shane Walsh Main Special Guest
Sarah Wayne Callies Lori Grimes Main
Laurie Holden Andrea Main
Jeffrey DeMunn Dale Horvath Main
Steven Yeun Glenn Rhee Main
Chandler Riggs Carl Grimes Main
Norman Reedus Daryl Dixon Recurring Main
Melissa McBride Carol Peletier Recurring Also Starring[a] Main
Michael Rooker Merle Dixon Guest Main
Lennie James Morgan Jones Guest Guest Guest Also Starring[a]
Scott Wilson Hershel Greene Recurring Also Starring[a] Main
Lauren Cohan Maggie Greene Recurring Main
Emily Kinney Beth Greene Recurring Also Starring[a] Main
Danai Gurira Michonne (Stand-in) Main
David Morrissey The Governor/Phillip Blake Main Special Guest
Chad L. Coleman Tyreese Recurring Also Starring[a] Main
Sonequa Martin-Green Sasha Recurring Also Starring[a] Main
Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. Bob Stookey Also Starring[a]
Alanna Masterson Tara Chambler Recurring Also Starring[a]
Michael Cudlitz Sgt. Abraham Ford Recurring Main
Josh McDermitt Dr. Eugene Porter Recurring Also Starring[a]
Christian Serratos Rosita Espinosa Recurring Also Starring[a]
Andrew J. West Gareth Guest Also Starring[a]
Seth Gilliam Fr. Gabriel Stokes Also Starring[a]
Ross Marquand Aaron Recurring Also Starring[a]
Alexandra Breckenridge Jessie Anderson Recurring Also Starring[a]

* ^ This actor/actress is not featured in the opening credits, and instead is credited as "also starring", but is otherwise considered by AMC as a series regular.[26][27][28]

Recurring

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5
IronE Singleton Theodore "T-Dog" Douglas Recurring
Emma Bell Amy Recurring Voice only
Jeryl Prescott Sales Jacqui Recurring Voice only
Andrew Rothenberg Jim Recurring Voice only
Adam Minarovich Ed Peletier Recurring Guest
Juan Pareja Morales Recurring
Madison Lintz Sophia Peletier Recurring
Jane McNeill Patricia Recurring
Pruitt Taylor Vince Otis Recurring
James Allen McCune Jimmy Recurring
Michael Zegen Randall Recurring
Lew Temple Axel Recurring
Vincent Ward Oscar Recurring
Dallas Roberts Milton Mamet Recurring
Tyler Chase Ben Recurring
Daniel Thomas May Allen Recurring Guest
Jose Pablo Cantillo Martinez Recurring
Melissa Ponzio Karen Recurring
Travis Love Shumpert Recurring Guest
Sunkrish Bala Dr. Caleb Subramanian Recurring
Brighton Sharbino Lizzie Samuels Recurring Guest
Kyla Kenedy Mika Samuels Recurring Guest
Vincent Martella Patrick Recurring
Audrey Marie Anderson Lilly Chambler Recurring
Meyrick Murphy Meghan Chambler Recurring
Jeff Kober Joe Recurring
Denise Crosby Mary Recurring Guest
Chris Coy Martin Recurring
Christine Woods Lt. Dawn Lerner Recurring
Erik Jensen Dr. Steven Edwards Recurring
Tyler James Williams Noah Recurring
Jordan Woods-Robinson Eric Recurring
Tovah Feldshuh Deanna Monroe Recurring
Daniel Bonjour Aiden Monroe Recurring
Steve Coulter Reg Monroe Recurring
Austin Abrams Ron Anderson Recurring
Corey Brill Pete Anderson Recurring
Michael Traynor Nicholas Recurring
Katelyn Nacon Enid Recurring
Elijah Marcano Mikey Recurring
Major Dodson Sam Anderson Recurring
Ann Mahoney Olivia Recurring
Austin Nichols Spencer Monroe Recurring
Jason Douglas Tobin Recurring

Darabont connections

The series features several actors whom Walking Dead developer Frank Darabont has worked with previously, including Laurie Holden (Andrea), Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale Horvath), Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier), Sam Witwer (the dead soldier in the tank where Rick hides in "Days Gone Bye"), and Juan Gabriel Pareja (Morales). All five appeared in his 2007 film The Mist, along with Thomas Jane, who originally was set to star in the series when it was pitched to HBO. Jane was later in talks with Darabont to possibly guest star on the series as of fall 2010,[29] but with Darabont's departure,[30] it is unknown whether the guest spot will happen or not. Laurie Holden also appeared in the 2001 film The Majestic (as Adele Stanton, Jim Carrey's character's love interest), which Darabont directed. DeMunn has also appeared in several of Darabont's films; in addition to The Mist and The Majestic, he appeared in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999). It was planned that Witwer (Private Jessup in Darabont's The Mist) would reprise his "Days Gone Bye" role in the original conception of The Walking Dead's season two premiere[31] and in a webisode,[32] but both plans were discarded.[33]

Production

Development

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is also an executive producer and writer of the TV series.

On January 20, 2010, AMC officially announced that it had ordered a pilot for a possible series adapted from The Walking Dead comic book series, with Frank Darabont and Gale Anne Hurd acting as executive producers and Darabont writing and directing.[34] The entire series was pre-ordered based just on the strength of the source material, the television scripts, and Darabont's involvement.[35] In January 2010 a review of the pilot episode's script attracted further attention.[36] The pilot began filming in Atlanta, Georgia on May 15, 2010[37] after AMC had officially ordered a six episode first season.[38] The series' remaining episodes began filming on June 2, 2010 with Darabont serving as showrunner.[39][40] On August 31, 2010, Darabont reported that The Walking Dead had been picked up for a second season, with production to begin in February 2011. On November 8, 2010, AMC confirmed that there would be a second season consisting of 13 episodes.[41] He would also like to include some of the "environmental elements" that take place during Volume 2 of Kirkman's book.[42]

On October 25, 2011, AMC announced that it ordered a third season of The Walking Dead, saying, "Season two continues to deliver the strongest telecasts for any drama in basic cable history."[43] On December 21, 2012, AMC announced that it picked up The Walking Dead for a fourth season.[44]

On October 29, 2013, AMC renewed The Walking Dead for a fifth season, with Scott M. Gimple as showrunner.[45] Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Alanna Masterson, and Andrew J. West, who portray Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Tara and Gareth, were promoted to series regulars for the season.[46] The season will have 16 episodes and it premiered on October 12, 2014.[47] Seth Gilliam joins the cast as a new series regular, playing Father Gabriel Stokes, from the comics.[48][47][49]

On October 7, 2014, AMC renewed the series for a sixth season.[9]

Crew

The first season writing staff consisted of series developer and executive producer Frank Darabont (who wrote/co-wrote four of the six episodes), executive producer Charles H. Eglee, executive producer and creator of the comic book Robert Kirkman, co-executive producer Jack LoGiudice, consulting producer Adam Fierro and Glen Mazzara, all of whom contributed to one episode each. Along with Darabont, who directed the pilot episode, the remaining five were directed by Michelle MacLaren, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Johan Renck, Ernest Dickerson and Guy Ferland.[50]

After the departure of Frank Darabont, the role of showrunner was assumed by Glen Mazzara (left) for seasons two and three, and Scott M. Gimple (right) for seasons four–present.

On December 1, 2010, Deadline.com reported that Darabont had fired his writing staff, including executive producer Charles "Chic" Eglee, and planned to use freelance writers for the second season.[51] Kirkman called the announcement "premature" and clarified that Eglee left to pursue other projects when Darabont decided to stay on as showrunner, and no definitive plans had been made regarding the writing staff for season two.[52]

[Chic Eglee] was brought onto The Walking Dead with the idea that Frank was going to work on the first season and then go off and do movies [...] Chic didn't want to be second-in-command on a show when he's used to being a top dog, and so he decided to go off and do something else, which is something that happens and is not a big deal.

—Robert Kirkman, TV Guide[52]

On December 3, 2010, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd commented: "It's completely inaccurate. [In] the writers' room, there are people that have set up other projects that will be their first priority if their own series is picked up as a pilot or if it's a series. I think [Eglee] just decided that he wants to run his own show." She revealed that it would be likely for the show to return in October 2011, as Darabont and Kirkman planned on mapping out the next season early in 2011. She also confirmed that, "every one of the principal cast is signed up for multiple seasons."[53] In July 2011, series developer and showrunner Frank Darabont stepped down from his position as showrunner for the series.[54] It was speculated that he was unable to adjust to the schedule of running a television series.[54] However, The Hollywood Reporter reported he had been fired over disputes over planned budget cuts and executive meddling.[55] Executive producer Glen Mazzara was then appointed the new showrunner.[56] New writers joined the writing staff in the second season, including co-executive producer Evan Reilly, producer Scott M. Gimple, story editor Angela Kang, and David Leslie Johnson. New writers in the third season included producers Nichole Beattie and Sang Kyu Kim, with Frank Renzulli contributing a freelance script.

After the conclusion of the third season, Glen Mazzara stepped down from his position as showrunner and executive producer for the series, per a mutual agreement between Mazzara and AMC. The press release read, "Both parties acknowledge that there is a difference of opinion about where the show should go moving forward, and conclude that it is best to part ways."[44] Scott M. Gimple succeeded Mazzara as showrunner for season four,[57] with new writers joining the writing staff, such as Curtis Gwinn, Channing Powell, and Matt Negrete.[58]

Music

Bear McCreary was hired to compose the score for the series. McCreary stated that the main theme was based on his viewing of production designs for the opening title sequence. Instead of doing a full theme song as with his earlier works, McCreary chose to use a simple, repeating motif from the strings section.[59]

It repeats over and over, and in fact in the pilot episode, you start hearing it before the main title begins, and this is something that continues episode to episode. You hear the main title music before the main title begins, so you know it's coming. That, to me, was the little hook – that little thing that, whenever you hear it, it takes you to the series.

—Bear McCreary[59]

Soundtracks

Four soundtracks for The Walking Dead have been released to date. The Walking Dead: AMC Original Soundtrack, Vol. 1 was released on March 17, 2013.[60] The second volume was released on March 25, 2014.[61] Songs of Survival is a soundtrack for the third season and it was released on August 27, 2013, by Republic Records as a Walmart exclusive for the special edition release of the third season.[62] Songs of Survival, Vol. 2 is a soundtrack for the fourth season and it was released on August 26, 2014, by Republic Records as a Walmart exclusive of the fourth season release.[63]

Makeup

Gregory Nicotero is an executive producer and the key special effects makeup artist on the series. Each walker is put through "zombie school" and is taught how to move like zombies. There are three levels of zombie makeup: Hero, Midground, and Deep Background. Hero zombies are featured walkers and are completely made over from head to toe. Midground zombies get highlights and shadows on the face, but do not get close enough to the camera to require full makeup. Deep background zombies often wear masks and are only meant to be used as a backdrop.[64]

Filming

Booth at the 2010 Comic-Con with a scene from the pilot for the promotion of the series.

The Walking Dead is mostly filmed in Georgia.[65] The series is completely shot on 16 mm film.[66] David Tattersall was the director of photography for the pilot episode with David Boyd as the director of photography on the remainder of the episodes. Production design is done by Greg Melton and Alex Hajdu. The effects team includes veteran special effects makeup designer Gregory Nicotero, special effects coordinator Darrell Pritchett, and visual effects supervisors Sam Nicholson and Jason Sperling.[67]

Marketing

Promotional poster of The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead debuted during the same week in 120 countries. As part of an expansive campaign to advertise and heighten anticipation for the premiere, AMC and Fox International Channels coordinated a worldwide zombie invasion event on October 26, 2010. The stunt involved invading 26 major cities within a 24-hour period, starting with Taipei and Hong Kong, and ending in Los Angeles for the U.S. premiere.[68]

The show's official website released, just prior to the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International, a motion comic based on Issue No. 1 of the original comic and voiced by Phil LaMarr.[69] The site also posted a making-of documentary primarily about the first episode, as well as a number of other behind-the-scenes videos and interviews. In the documentary, comic series creator and show executive producer Robert Kirkman as well as artist Charlie Adlard say they are pleased with how faithful the show is to the comic and remark on the similarities between the actors and the comic's original character drawings.[70]

Action figures of characters from the series, including Rick, Daryl and a zombie Walker and Biter, were created for release in November 2011. The figures, which are manufactured by McFarlane Toys, are designed to resemble the actors on the series. Figures created to resemble the characters as drawn in the comic book were released in September 2011.[71]

Green initiatives

With a primary objective of reducing the environmental impacts of film and television productions, including The Walking Dead, producer Gale Anne Hurd has directed the cast, crew, production team, suppliers, and bloggers about her shows to adopt the Doddle app to make the production almost paper-free; this works by digitally transmitting interactive call sheets and other intra-team and team-supplier communications (such as directions, images, menus, and updates) to people's cell phones and tablets. Hurd said of using Doddle: in addition to conserving paper, "It's also easier, and it's better for security. People are less likely to leave their smartphone or tablet lying around for someone else to pick up."[72][73]

Hurd describes additional steps taken to increase efficiency and cut production costs: "If you use vehicles that get better gas mileage, that are electric or hybrids, you're going to pay a lot less in fuel. If you use compact fluorescent bulbs, you're going to save a lot of money in utilities. If you recycle even your own sets, and use them again, that's going to save money. You don't have to buy new lumber. So there are cost savings, absolutely."[72] Additionally, the production team aims to reduce vehicle idling, which decreases carbon dioxide emissions.[72][73][74]

Hurd also cuts down on plastic waste by personally using a refillable, stainless steel EcoUsable water bottle and promoting its use among her colleagues. She shared: "on a lot of my projects I give them as crew gifts before we start production, and have water stations available, but you can't force people to use them."[72]

Webisodes

To date, three web series based on The Walking Dead have been released via AMC's website–Torn Apart in 2011, Cold Storage in 2012, and The Oath in 2013.[75]

Motion comic

In 2011, AMC debuted an animated comic book version of The Walking Dead novel's beginning, featuring the voice of actor Phil LaMarr.[76]

Talking Dead

Main article: Talking Dead

A live after-show titled Talking Dead premiered on AMC on October 16, 2011, following the encore presentation of The Walking Dead‍‍ '​‍s season two premiere. Talking Dead features host Chris Hardwick discussing the latest episode with fans, actors, and producers of The Walking Dead.[77]

Fear the Walking Dead

Main article: Fear the Walking Dead

In September 2013, AMC announced they were developing a companion series to The Walking Dead which follows a different set of characters created by Robert Kirkman.[78] On March 9, 2015, AMC announced it had ordered the show to series, with a two-season commitment. The first season, consisting of six episodes, will premiere in late summer 2015.[11] The show's title, Fear the Walking Dead, was revealed on March 27, 2015.[79]

Parodies and spoofs

Due to its popularity, The Walking Dead has inspired dozens of parodies and spoofs featured on YouTube channels like Bad Lip Reading and TV shows such as Saturday Night Live.[80][81][82] Bad Lip Reading made a widely-viewed parody involving Rick and the Governor, entitled "La-Bibbida-Bibba-Dum".[83] The series' cast was shown the parody at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, and David Morrissey—who portrays the Governor— reacted by saying he now understood why so many people would walk up to him on the street and blurt, "Hey, La-Bibbida-Bibba-Dum!". Until seeing the video, he had wondered, "what's wrong with these people?"[84]

Release

Sarah Wayne Callies and Andrew Lincoln in 2010. Robert Kirkman is in the background at left.

Scenes from the pilot were screened July 23, 2010, as part of the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International.[85] It premiered on AMC on October 31, 2010, and premiered internationally on Fox International Channels during the first week of November.[6][7] Almost two weeks before the official premiere on AMC, the pilot episode leaked online.[86]

International broadcast rights for the show were sold and announced on June 14, 2010.[87] The show airs on Fox International Channels in 126 countries in 33 languages. The fifth season debuted its first part on October 13, 2014.[88] The second part premiered on February 9, 2015.[89]

Home media

The season 1 DVD and Blu-ray was released on March 8, 2011.[90] A three-disc special edition of the first season—featuring new featurettes and audio commentaries—was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 4, 2011.[91] The European versions of the first season DVD and Blu-ray are edited for gore, with cuts to episode two ("Guts"),[92] episode three ("Tell It to the Frogs"),[93] episode four ("Vatos")[94] and episode five ("Wildfire").[95] Until eOne/WVG re-released the first season in D-A-CH in a Special Uncut Version on DVD and Blu-ray on May 31, 2013.[96]

The season 2 DVD and Blu-ray was released on August 28, 2012. It was also released as a limited edition Blu-ray, packaged as a miniature zombie head designed by McFarlane Toys. Special features include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, webisodes, and several featurettes.[97]

The season 3 DVD and Blu-ray was released on August 27, 2013. It was also released as a limited edition Blu-ray, packaged as a miniature version of the Governor's zombie head aquarium tank designed by Greg Nicotero and sculpted by McFarlane Toys. Special features include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and several featurettes.[98]

The season 4 DVD and Blu-ray was released on August 26, 2014. It was also released as a limited edition Blu-ray, packaged with a tree-walker designed by McFarlane Toys. Special features include audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and several featurettes, as well as extended episodes which are exclusive to the Blu-ray.[99]

The season 5 DVD and Blu-ray will be released on August 25, 2015.[100]

Syndication

MyNetworkTV acquired the broadcast syndication rights to the series, premiering on October 1, 2014.[101] The version that airs on MyNetworkTV is edited to meet broadcast television standards.[102]

Reception

Critical reception

All seasons of The Walking Dead have been well reviewed by television critics, including the first season, which received an average 92% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating based on 25 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes. That website's consensus states, "Blood-spattered, emotionally resonant, and white-knuckle intense, The Walking Dead puts an intelligent spin on the overcrowded zombie subgenre."[103] Metacritic gave the first season a score of 82 out of 100 (based on 25 reviews).[13] Heather Havrilesky of Salon.com included the show on their list of 9 new TV shows not to miss, giving it a grade of "A", with the author saying, "A film-quality drama series about zombies? Somebody pinch me!"[104]

The second season received mostly positive reviews. It received an 86% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating out of 22 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes. The site's critical consensus states, "The second season of The Walking Dead fleshes out the characters while maintaining the grueling tension and gore that made the show a hit."[105] Out of 22 reviews on Metacritic, the second season received a score of 80 out of 100.[14] Early criticism of the show focused on the slow pace of the second season, particularly the first half. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly, described the series as "a nighttime soap", comparing it to "a parody of a Samuel Beckett play" that had very little sense of direction and few appearances of walkers.[106] Nate Rawlings of Time‍ '​s online entertainment section noted that "the pace during the first half of this season has been brutally slow. [...] They've tried to develop individual characters, but each subplot meant to add a layer to a character has been quickly resolved."[107] Later reviews from other critics, such as Scott Wampler of Collider.com, recognized the increased quality of the second half, stating it "seemed far more intense, more interesting, better written".[108] Recognizing the overall season, Kevin Yeoman of Screen Rant offered praise saying "the writers succeeded in unshackling themselves from the intermittent monotony brought about by the serial nature of the show".[109]

Season three received critical acclaim. Based on 30 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the third season of The Walking Dead received an average 93% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating; the website's consensus states, "The palpable terror and visceral thrills continue in the third season of The Walking Dead, along with a deeper sense of the people who inhabit its apocalyptic landscape."[110] It received a score of 82 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 18 reviews.[111] Verne Gay of Newsday claimed that the season 3 premiere "doesn't disappoint" going on to say that there are "spots where you will yell out at the screen, 'Oh, my God, that just didn't happen.' Yes, the new season is that good", concluding his review by giving the season an A+ rating.[112]

The fourth season received very positive reviews. Based on 35 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, season 4 received an average 89% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating; the website's consensus states, "Consistently thrilling, with solid character development and enough gore to please grindhouse fans, this season of The Walking Dead continues to demonstrate why it's one of the best horror shows on television".[113] Metacritic gave the fourth season a score of 75 out of 100 based on 16 reviews.[114]

The fifth season has received widespread critical acclaim. Based on 36 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, season 5 received an average 97% overall "Certified Fresh" approval rating; the website's consensus states, "Thanks to a liberal dose of propulsive, bloody action and enough compelling character moments to reward longtime fans, The Walking Dead‍ '​s fifth season continues to deliver top-notch entertainment."[115] Metacritic gave the fifth season a score of 80 out of 100 based on 11 reviews.[116]

Ratings

The Walking Dead has the highest total viewership of any series in cable television history, including its fourth and fifth seasons during which it averaged the most 18- to 49-year-old viewers of all cable or broadcast television shows.[8] Total viewership for its season five premiere was 17.3 million, the most-watched series episode in cable history.[117]

Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes Premiered Ended Average viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere viewers
(in millions)
Date Finale viewers
(in millions)
Season 1 Sunday 10:00 pm 6 October 31, 2010 5.35[118] December 5, 2010 5.97[119] 5.24[120]
Season 2 Sunday 9:00 pm 13 October 16, 2011 7.26[121] March 18, 2012 8.99[122] 6.90[123]
Season 3 16 October 14, 2012 10.87[124] March 31, 2013 12.40[125] 10.40[126]
Season 4 16 October 13, 2013 16.11[127] March 30, 2014 15.68[128] 13.30[129]
Season 5 16 October 12, 2014 17.30[117] March 29, 2015 15.78[130] 14.40[131]
The Walking Dead: Viewers per episode (in thousands)
  • Season 1 (2010–11): Viewers of the first airing on AMC in the U.S. on Sunday at 10:00 pm ET
  • Season 2 (2011–12): Viewers of the first airing on AMC in the U.S. on Sunday at 9:00 pm ET
  • Season 3 (2012–13): Viewers of the first airing on AMC in the U.S. on Sunday at 9:00 pm ET
  • Season 4 (2013–14): Viewers of the first airing on AMC in the U.S. on Sunday at 9:00 pm ET
  • Season 5 (2014–15): Viewers of the first airing on AMC in the U.S. on Sunday at 9:00 pm ET
Season Episode number
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
1 5,350 4,710 5,070 4,750 5,560 5,970
2 7,260 6,700 6,100 6,290 6,120 6,080 6,620 8,100 6,890 7,040 6,770 6,890 8,990
3 10,970 9,550 10,510 9,270 10,370 9,210 10,430 10,480 12,260 11,050 11,010 11,300 11,460 10,840 10,990 12,420
4 16,111 13,950 12,920 13,310 12,200 12,000 11,290 12,050 15,760 13,340 13,120 12,610 12,650 12,870 13,470 15,680
5 17,300 15,143 13,801 14,518 13,530 14,068 13,330 14,807 15,643 12,267 13,438 14,430 14,534 13,781 13,757 15,784


Awards and nominations

The Walking Dead was nominated for Best New Series for the Writers Guild of America Awards 2011.[15] It was nominated for Best Television Series Drama at the 68th Golden Globe Awards.[16] It was also named during the American Film Institute Awards 2010 as one of the top 10 television programs of 2010.[132] For the 37th Saturn Awards, the series received six nominations—for Best Television Presentation, Andrew Lincoln for Best Actor in Television, Sarah Wayne Callies for Best Actress on Television, Steven Yeun for Best Supporting Actor in Television, Laurie Holden for Best Supporting Actress in Television, and Noah Emmerich for Best Guest Starring Role in Television.[133] The series was nominated for Best Drama Series at the inaugural 1st Critics' Choice Television Awards.[134] The pilot episode "Days Gone Bye" received three nominations for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards—it was nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series[135] and won for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special.[136] For the 41st Saturn Awards, the series received its highest amount of nominations, with a total of 7 nominations, including the show itself. Andrew Lincoln for Best Actor on Television, Norman Reedus for Best Supporting Actor on Television, Emily Kinney and Melissa McBride for Best Supporting Actress on Television, Andrew J. West for Best Guest Star on Television, and Chandler Riggs for Best Young Performer on Television.[137]

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