The Walking Dead begins its 13-episode second season tonight at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Its character work — the hallmark of AMC's original series, born of brilliant contributions on both sides of the camera — makes Dead appointment television for viewers who can stomach the viscera and suspense-laden filmmaking that are endemic to a show set in a post-apocalyptic future (or present, really) overrun with zombies. You don't have to be a horror enthusiast to enjoy it, though, any more than you have to know or care about the advertising industry or crystal meth to get hooked on the stellar storytelling in Mad Men or Breaking Bad. Sure, The Walking Dead is about survival in a world where a global outbreak has left living, breathing people the minority amidst hordes of shambling corpses whose only instinct is to feast on fresh human meat and transfer their disease, but the emphasis is on the stark reality of our protagonists' existence.
You needn't be familiar with the comics that are the show's source material, either — created by writer Robert Kirkman with artist Tony Moore, now drawn by Charlie Adlard, published monthly by Image since 2003. Credit where it's due, however; their work is what led Frank Darabont to develop the series (and serve as showrunner before departing this past summer).
For those who missed the 6-episode first season that debuted last Halloween, or want
to rewatch it, AMC is airing it in order today starting at 2:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. CT). The 90-minute second-season premiere follows, repeating at 10:30, after which comes a live special discussing the show called Talking Dead. Extras — including behind-the-scenes videos and six brief "webisodes" — may be found at the above-linked site.
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