Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: The Walking Dead

by | September 26, 2014 | Comments

The fourth season of The Walking Dead is hitting Netflix this weekend, so now you’ve got a great opportunity to get caught up on AMC’s hit horror series in time for the premiere of season five next month. Here’s what you need to know to get started!

 

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead

What’s the basic premise? A disparate group of people attempts to survive the zombie apocalypse.

What’s it like? Take a cup of zombies a la Dawn of the Dead, add a dollop of menacing atmosphere from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, sprinkle in a bit of existential hopelessness from The Road, and add a dash of goofy splatter from The Toxic Avenger, to taste. Viola! You’ve got a heaping helping of basic cable ratings gold!

Where can I see it? Starting Oct. 12, new episodes air on Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. EST. Past seasons are available on iTunes, Vudu, and Amazon. And on Sunday, Sept. 28, Netflix will add season four to its collection, which already contains seasons one through three. All four seasons are also available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

How long will it take? It’s four seasons long (at six episodes, the first season is actually more like a mini-series, but the proceeding seasons are 19, 16, and 16 episodes, respectively), and each installment is around an hour. If you’ve got a strong stomach and you start early enough, you could probably knock out most of it over a holiday weekend.

What do the critics think? Each season is Certified Fresh (at 86 percent on the Tomatometer, the second season is the worst-reviewed of the three). Linda Stasi of the New York Post called it “the flat-out scariest, best, most unusual show to ever hit the small screen,” while Willa Paskin of Salon.com wrote, “There are moments of creepy elegance and elegiac morbidity in The Walking Dead that no show on TV can match.”

Why should I watch this? I’m not gonna lie: The Walking Dead has its share of dead patches and dull characters. But the basic setup is so compelling — how would you respond if the whole world went to hell? — that you’re likely to press on regardless. Plus, when it comes to creative zombie slaughter, this show can’t be beat — you get the feeling that every stabbing, every shooting, every beheading has been lovingly conceived and executed by some of the finest craftspeople in the business (for me, there’s something surprisingly satisfying about the “crunch-splat” sound when a zombie gets a hatchet to the skull. It never gets old. In fact, I’m grinning just thinking about it). The makeup people on this show deserve their own wing in the Max Factor museum.

What’s my next step? The show is based on a series of graphic novels published by Image that began its run in 2003; in other words, it’s pretty extensive at this point. Telltale Games’ Walking Dead episodic graphic adventure games are available for a variety of gaming platforms, and have been well received by the gaming press. And if that doesn’t sate your appetite for undead entertainment, try the more subdued French series The Returned, which is Certified Fresh at 100 percent on the Tomatometer.

What do you like about The Walking Dead? How would you explain it to a newbie? Any big predictions for season five? Get in on the conversation here.


Tag Cloud

VICE TNT Nickelodeon Fall TV cinemax Action Reality PaleyFest Drama Hulu MSNBC HBO Tumblr Podcast Polls and Games Rocky Cosplay Video Games Summer FOX Food Network DirecTV Extras cooking Nominations Winter TV Biopics travel ESPN History Reality Competition FXX Musicals Kids & Family Marvel comiccon Horror Set visit Lionsgate 2015 MTV TCM WGN VH1 Sci-Fi TCA Countdown Mystery Esquire Adult Swim boxoffice First Look BET diversity USA Logo ITV BBC America Winners 2017 ABC Nat Geo Masterpiece politics Amazon Rom-Com Spring TV social media 24 frames Valentine's Day The CW Showtime Syfy TIFF Disney Channel Fantasy GLAAD Trivia Election 007 singing competition Oscars Calendar Rock Cartoon Network serial killer Grammys Best and Worst Holidays A&E Bravo Character Guide FX Star Wars sitcom Fox News Toys Universal Martial Arts Superheroes crime thriller Sneak Peek crime drama Tomatazos SDCC El Rey Emmys Photos Disney Writers Guild of America Year in Review LGBTQ Premiere Dates ABC Family Freeform Opinion Ghostbusters Comedy Central Box Office sports thriller Comedy President CBS GoT Crackle Exclusive Video SundanceTV E! TBS AMC GIFs discovery NBC Infographic Red Carpet Watching Series CBS All Access 2016 Lifetime TCA 2017 Pirates Music TruTV Schedule PBS dramedy Country NYCC American Society of Cinematographers DC Comics Pop Netflix adventure IFC BBC vampires Animation period drama CNN science fiction Trailer Interview Sundance docudrama Certified Fresh Thanksgiving OWN harry potter TV Land Awards CMT Marathons Starz