The AMC’s epic zombie horror show The Walking Dead returned with its fifth season on Sunday and with highest ratings ever, it proved that it indeed became a worldwide phenomenon. During the fourth season, most of the characters in the show eventually made their way from the ruined prison, which they had been calling home. They went toward Terminus, a mysterious community at the end of the line. which promised to offer sanctuary. And even though the signs for Terminus suggested a safe haven, Rick and the rest of the characters found nothing like that.
After The Walking Dead marched into its fifth season, it shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, it is quite the opposite. The ratings revealed that around 17.3 million people watched the premiere of season five on Sunday night, which is the highest rating in the entire history of the show. Furthermore, this is an amazingly large number of viewers for a cable drama.
It looks like The Walking Dead became a perfect mixture of everything that a cable network needs for a major franchise. The zombie horror show has a plot which extends along forever, without any complicated twists and turns, which eventually demand closure on other hit shows. The show has an interchangeable cast, which almost does not suffer if one of the key people is killed off. The Walking Dead is a show with huge ratings, despite any awards show recognition. And what is the most important, this show has lots and lots of zombies.
This combination obviously worked, since The Walking Dead has millions of viewers all over the world and the show is consistently among worldwide trending topics on Sunday nights. The after-show, called Talking Dead, is devoted to weekly analyze the drama that preceded it into a talk-show fashion. The Talking Dead can land an amazing 5 million viewers and this is the number that several broadcast networks would kill to have for its own shows.
The fact is that unlike several other action thriller shows, The Walking Dead never bogs down or burns out in a must-be-solved mystery. Do the viewers even care what caused the zombie epidemic? No. Instead of making a climactic save-the-world plot, the writers rather established a journey for day-to-day survival as the entire storyline. And most importantly, the viewers are obviously completely satisfied with a plot that continues to mull the ethics of human behavior while the civilization is collapsing.
Despite the fact that The Walking Dead won almost no awards, the producers seem to have moved beyond even caring about the award shows. The show did win two Emmy Awards in the prosthetic make-up category and some nominations for special effects and sound editing. However, it received no other award since then. Well, it is highly unlikely that the network executives are losing any sleep over that, since 16 million viewers watch the show each week. It is safe to say that The Walking Dead became a worldwide phenomenon.
The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9/8 c at AMC.
Opinion by: Janette Verdnik