Every Episode of The Walking Dead Ranked by Tomatometer
The Walking Dead fans have hung with AMC’s zombie series for over 10 seasons now — 161 episodes — and helped the show break several ratings records, including the most-watched cable episode in history when its season 5 premiere aired.
We looked at how each of its episodes so far have fared on the Tomatometer and found the most Rotten episodes occurred in season 6, with five of the 16 episodes in that season being deemed Rotten by a consensus of critics (although the season fared well overall — it is Certified Fresh at 76%).
The fifth season is the Freshest of the bunch, with eight TWD seasons overall Certified Fresh, and with the highest overall score at 90%.
Seasons 5 and 3 scored the most episodes in the top 10, claiming four slots each standing at 100%. Season 7’s premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” had the most reviews of any individual episode with 54 — unsurprising, given that it was the episode in which viewers found out which characters Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) had brained.
Where did “For Blood,” episode 8 of season 11 land? Read on to find out!
What was your favorite episode of The Walking Dead? Tell us in the comments.
Critics Consensus: Despite Jeffrey Dean Morgan's deliciously evil turn as Negan, the meandering "Last Day on Earth" -- and its manipulative cliffhanger ending -- make for a disappointing season finale.
Synopsis: To save one of their own, Rick's group must venture outside the walls; their experience changes their lives forever.... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Splinter" doesn't move this season's story forward in any meaningful way, but Paola Lázaro's performance and some hallucinatory flourishes keep this character-focused installment from being wholly redundant.
Synopsis: Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess are captured and separated by the mysterious troopers that surrounded them at the rail yard;... [More]
Critics Consensus: Daryl is an involving tour guide through The Walking Dead's final batch of antagonists, although "Rendition" won't convince the skeptics that The Reapers are much different than the murderous militias who have plagued the series before.
Synopsis: Daryl and Dog get captured by the Reapers; they are taken to the Meridian and reconnect with a familiar figure... [More]
Critics Consensus: The flashback-laden "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be" is slow to deliver the payoff from last season's finale -- but ultimately delivers with sadistic acts of gut-wrenching violence that will push Walking Dead fans to their limit.
Synopsis: As the members of the group remain helpless, Negan takes action that will forever haunt those who survive.... [More]
Critics Consensus: Though some character motivations remain boggling, a dangerous morality shift between hero and villain -- along with a gratifyingly gruesome death -- make "Still Gotta Mean Something" an enthralling lead-up to the final two episodes of this The Walking Dead season.
Synopsis: A Heaps prisoner makes a discovery; Carol searches for someone in the nearby forest; Rick and Morgan find themselves in... [More]
Critics Consensus:The Walking Dead delivers another character-driven episode in "The Cell," which successfully delves deeper into the world of Negan and his cronies, even if its attempts to humanize a villain achieve somewhat mixed results.
Synopsis: A new group of survivors seem to have it all in their impressive community; however, there is a price.... [More]
Critics Consensus: The Commonwealth gets explored and proves too good to be true while "Out of the Ashes" is a believably fine table-setting installment, befitting a season that has been more solid than gutsy so far.
Synopsis: Aaron, Carol, Lydia, and Jerry go to the Hilltop ruins for blacksmith tools and nearby game; Eugene's group goes through... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Wrath" begins predictably and ends twistedly as it tidily closes out the "all-out-war" arc that's been creeping throughout TWD season 8, presenting a cliffhanger that goes against the grain of several lead characters and the series itself.
Synopsis: The communities join forces in the last stand against the Saviors as all-out war unfolds.... [More]
Critics Consensus: "What Comes After" serves as an emotionally raw and rousing farewell to series lead Andrew Lincoln, though some viewers may find Rick Grimes' ambiguous departure more of a cop out than a relief.
Synopsis: Rick is forced to face the past as he struggles to maintain the safety of the communities and protect the... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Hearts Still Beating" corrects course after a frustrating first half to The Walking Dead's seventh season, using an improved pace and some welcome narrative jolts to set up a hopeful, rousing conclusion.
Synopsis: Negan's unwelcome visit to Alexandria continues as other members scavenge for supplies; things quickly spin out of control.... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Stradivarius" efficiently sets the board for promising developments and provides a welcome spotlight for Daryl Dixon, but some viewers may feel The Walking Dead is sacrificing organic narrative development and stalling for time with contrivances.
Synopsis: Carol seeks out an old friend living alone in a wilderness teeming with walkers; survivors make the perilous trek to... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Bounty" rekindles The Walking Dead's knack for a lighthearted shaggy dog story and hair-raising horror set-piece, but some viewers may come away dissatisfied with the installment's teasing of a clash that never materializes.
Synopsis: The savage group led by Alpha confronts the Hilltop in a harrowing attempt to retrieve her daughter; a supply run... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Omega" utilizes an unreliable narrator to flesh out the zombie skin-clad fanatic Alpha and succeeds at making her all the more unnerving, but some viewers may find the episode's flashback structure and side plots to be more laborious than revelatory.
Synopsis: A new arrival at the Hilltop opens up about the leader of a group of mask-wearing savages; a search party... [More]
Critics Consensus: The introduction of new characters and a face-off (or eye-off) between The Governor and Michonne make "Made to Suffer" a gripping episode as season three enters its mid-season break.
Synopsis: Andrea steps up when the people of Woodbury are thrown into uncharted territory; a new threat arises at the prison.... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Guardians" presents dual stories of tested leadership with thematic resonance and provides the malevolent Alpha a plump opportunity to demonstrate her villainy -- although The Walking Dead is still withholding crucial context from viewers longing to understand the motivations of their heroes.
Synopsis: While one community struggles to ease tensions that threaten to divide from within, the true nature of another group comes... [More]
Critics Consensus:The Walking Dead delivers an unnerving midseason cliffhanger -- and a new and terrifying threat -- although some viewers may feel that the ghoulish Whisperers are a retread of the same old antagonists with a new, rotting face.
Synopsis: A small rescue mission braves a dangerous herd in their hunt for a missing comrade, only to discover a surprising... [More]
Critics Consensus: Though its myriad of lingering questions will no doubt frustrate fans, the introduction of the outrageously entertaining Princess breathes new life into TWD as "The Tower" finds the series switching gears to great effect.
Synopsis: The communities prepare for the final battle of the Whisperer War; meanwhile, Eugene's group encounters Princess.... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Who Are You Now?" swiftly establishes a new world order in The Walking Dead without Rick Grimes, effectively conveying the progression of the survivors, but some viewers may feel adrift in what feels like the umpteenth re-set for the series.
Synopsis: The survivors encounter unfamiliar faces outside the safety of their community's walls and must decide whether or not this new... [More]
Critics Consensus: "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life" overcomes sporadic doldrums with an action-packed battle sequence, satisfying and innovative storytelling, and impressively imaginative use of a tiger.
Synopsis: The stakes continue to grow higher as paths cross; the group enacts an intricate plan.... [More]
Critics Consensus: An emotionally lacerating installment of The Walking Dead provides crucial backstory for the series' new status quo with a flashback structure that culminates in a shocking set-piece that will leave even the most hard-bitten fans shaken.
Synopsis: An outsider's arrival forces Alexandria to rehash devastating old wounds; eye-opening secrets from the past are revealed.... [More]
Critics Consensus: Moving performances by Lennie James and Melissa McBride as their characters get their mojo back move the season's arc forward in "Bury Me Here," though the pacing is slow and their journeys seem relatively implausible.
Synopsis: Things do not go as planned when a group of Kingdommers delivers goods to the Saviors during a routine supply... [More]
Critics Consensus: Jeffrey Dean Morgan's chemistry with real-life partner Hilarie Burton adds a bittersweet authenticity to "Here's Negan," a strong season finale that brings shades of humanity to one of The Walking Dead's most irredeemable characters.
Synopsis: With Maggie back at Alexandria, Carol takes Negan on a journey to minimize the increasing tension; here, Negan reflects on... [More]
Critics Consensus: While it may slow the season's pace, "Hostiles and Calamities" takes a tense look inside previously unexplored Savior lives, advancing one character's logical and much-needed moral transformation.
Synopsis: An Alexandrian discovers they must navigate the mysterious, confusing and terrifying world within the Saviors' compound.... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Look at the Flowers" dives back into the conflict between the Hilltop crew and the Whisperers with a richly introspective episode that explores the far-reaching impact of Alpha's demise.
Synopsis: Heroes and villains reckon with the aftermath of the Hilltop fire; Eugene takes a group on a journey to meet... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Indifference" takes it to the street as survivors search for supplies, in an episode successfully driven by human drama and culminating in a high-stakes choice between Rick and Carol.
Synopsis: Daryl and a small group set out on foot in search of medicine, but their mission faces obstacles; Rick and... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Worth" briskly cleans house to varying degrees of satisfaction, setting the stage for what could be one of the series' most explosive finales -- assuming the show finally follows through on its promise of All Out War.
Synopsis: With the threat of the Saviors still looming, Aaron continues searching for allies; Daryl and Rosita take action and confront... [More]
Critics Consensus: Hell freezes over in a wintry The Walking Dead finale that takes full advantage of "The Storm" with some chilly scares and a meditative, mournful tone -- although this elegiac installment arguably would have best worked as a preamble instead of a denouement.
Synopsis: In the aftermath of an overwhelming loss, the communities must brave a ferocious blizzard; as one group deals with an... [More]
Critics Consensus: "The Calm Before" exemplifies everything that The Walking Dead does best - bittersweetly affirming the bonds of a makeshift community and finding glimmers humanity in a nihilistic landscape before dropping a horrifying twist that will leave viewers reeling long after.
Synopsis: The fair at the Kingdom is underway, with all four communities coming together in celebration for the first time in... [More]
Critics Consensus: "Adaptation" creepily fleshes out the Whisperers beyond their rotting camouflage to chilling effect and teases that redemption for the irredeemable Negan may be possible -- adding up to a solid and satisfying return for The Walking Dead.
Synopsis: The communities thought they could build a better future separately, but the recent loss of one of their own drives... [More]
Critics Consensus: A knockout opener to The Walking Dead's sixth season, "First Time Again" has everything one would hope for - including intense plot development, entertaining character interplay, and more zombies than ever before.
Synopsis: Rick and the others have a difficult time assimilating into Alexandria; a new threat arises that could bring the group... [More]
Critics Consensus: Carried by its charming cast, Modern Love sweet and simple sensibilities are easy enough to enjoy, even if its quaint portrait of modern life in New York City doesn't always ring true.
Synopsis: A medical emergency proves traumatic and leaves a life hanging in the balance; Rick and the group discover a potential... [More]
Critics Consensus: Though it ultimately sets up more than it pays off, "Bonds" introduces a contentious dynamic between Negan and Alpha that offers some of this season's more memorable character moments.
Synopsis: Carol and Daryl go on a mission together while Siddiq struggles to solve a mystery.... [More]
Critics Consensus: "The Well" brings a welcome reprieve from the brutality of the season premiere, introducing a colorful new character and focusing on two of The Walking Dead's most fascinating regulars.
Synopsis: For a number of familiar faces, a new, well-established community seems too good to be true.... [More]
Critics Consensus: Fueled by a thrillingly brutal confrontation between Daryl and Alpha, "Stalker" showcases a nerve-wracking flashpoint that brings the tensions of the incoming Whisperer War to a simmering boil.
Synopsis: The group must defend Alexandria from a threatening outside force.... [More]
Critics Consensus: A visually impressive episode of The Walking Dead, "What Happened and What's Going On" artfully portrays the psychology of the characters, rather than focusing on its shocking moments.
Synopsis: After facing all of the recent trials, a slight detour may offer the solution that the group has been seeking.... [More]
Two beloved series bid adieu this month on NBC and AMC, while we welcome in much-anticipated sophomore seasons from the likes of Comedy Central, HBO Max, Showtime, and more. With plenty of binge-worthy series to go around, let’s break down what you should be catching up on this August.
What it is: From creators Michele Abbott, Ilene Chaiken, and Kathy Greenberg, the original Emmy-nominated series (decorated elsewhere by GLAAD for its landmark lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters) and its years-in-the-making sequel series, The L Word: Generation Q, charts the intersecting friendships and love lives of a group of queer women living in Los Angeles.
Why you should watch it: As heralded today as it is maligned, there’s no denying that The L Word made leaps for LGBTQ representation onscreen upon its 2004 premiere, even if it didn’t always hit its mark. While its first season was Certified Fresh for all its bombastic soapiness and memorable characters, critics didn’t follow it into its subsequent seasons, resulting in years without Tomatometer scores — and its sixth and final season was ravaged with a measly 8%. But the show still has its fans and its merits. Plus, its reboot welcomely (and freshly) revisits the components that first made us fall in love with these ladies (including original stars Katherine Moennig and Jennifer Beals) while expanding and bettering itself where there is room to grow. The L Word: Generation Q season 2 premieres August 8 on Showtime.
What it is: Based on the character from the DC Comics by Geoff Johns and Lee Moder, DC’s Stargirl follows teenager Courtney Whitmore, who, upon discovering the Cosmic Staff and learning that her stepfather was once sidekick to Starman, takes up the cause of the Justice Society of America and recruits a whole new crew of superheroes to join her cause.
Why you should watch it: Already renewed for a third season before its second even airs, star Brec Bassinger has woven some superpowered magic with her hit DC Universe–turned–CW series. With action and family-friendly fun for all ages, it strikes an inspiring narrative of the powers of good that can rise up in the face of evil. Season 2 premieres August 10 on the CW.
What it is: This hit comedy series from creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur is a workplace sitcom featuring some very distinct personalities — the aloof and gregarious Detective Jake Peralta (Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg), his fictional precinct’s dry commanding officer, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), and the rest of the motley crew of the Nine-Nine.
Why you should watch it: We’ve seen fan-initiated primetime resuscitations before, but rarely do they happen as swiftly as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s after its unceremonious cancellation at Fox. The online outcry had barely begun before Universal Television began shopping the sitcom around, and it was scooped up by NBC just a day later — with good reason. The series is beloved by fans, which is why it comes as particularly sad news that its eighth season, premiering August 12, will also be its last.
What it is: This series is centered on its titular group of young superheroes — led by none other than Nightwing (formerly Robin of Batman-sidekick fame) — as they save the world from forces that want to end it. A long-in-the-making effort, Titans is a welcome addition to DC Comics’ TV footprint.
Why you should watch it:Greg Berlanti is the mastermind behind DC Comics’ takeover of the small screen, so you know you’re in good hands for this streaming hit with him and co-creators Akiva Goldsman and Geoff Johns (also of Stargirl fame) at the helm. The Titans action is slick and laid on thick, and buoyed by a stellar young-Hollywood cast. We can’t wait to see what superhero adventures are in store next. Season 3 premieres August 12 on HBO Max.
What it is: From director and showrunner John Carney (best known for musical romances Once, Begin Again, and Sing Street) and based on the New York Times’s much-loved column of the same name, Modern Love is a anthological series charting the love lives of various disparate New Yorkers played by the likes of Tina Fey, Anne Hathaway, Dev Patel, Catherine Keener, and more.
Why you should watch it: The acting talent alone is enough reason to tune in, but this series packs on the charm in ways both expected and surprising, sending its material over the edge from just basic rom-com fare to something a little more special. Season 2 premieres August 13 on Amazon Prime Video.
What it is: Creator Awkwafina stars here as Nora Lin, a Flushing, Queens, native comically trying to get her young adulthood life together with the help of some family and friends.
Why you should watch it: Fresh off the breakout acclaim of Crazy Rich Asians and The Farewell, Awkwafina’s self-titled Comedy Central series became the latest semi-autobiographical half-hour to take a hold of us. With supporting and scene-stealing turns from BD Wong, Lori Tan Chinn, and Bowen Yang as her father, grandmother, and cousin respectively, it’s a series that showcases the universality of coming-of-age. Season 2 premieres August 18 on Comedy Central.
What it is: Don’t know what The Walking Dead is? You may want to check your pulse…
Why you should watch it: Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard’s post-apocalyptic premise of zombies walking the Earth and ending mankind as we know it, the acclaimed series developed by creator Frank Darabont indulges in gore and “what if” fascinations. These are characters brought to life with bone-deep precision from a stable of some of TV’s greatest talents. You just never know when your favorite will bite the dust, but that’s admittedly part of the fun, too. Its eleventh and final season premieres August 22 on AMC.
What it is: Following the highs and lows of a self-proclaimed fat, queer dyke who suffers from OCD and depression while living in Chicago, co-creator and star Abby McEnany turns the lens inward and makes one heck of a debut.
Why you should watch it: Not many entertainers can say they had their “mainstream” breakout after 50, but McEnany can count herself among the lucky few. A mainstay of Chicago’s comedy scene via Second City and a one-time student of Stephen Colbert, the multi-hyphenate finds ways to turn the cringingly personal into universal reflections on contemporary humanity. Season 2 premieres August 22 on Showtime.
What it is: From director Kwang Il Han and based on the book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is a prequel spinoff film of Netflix’s hit Henry Cavill starrer from creator Lauren Schmidt that charts the monster-slaying adventures of Geralt’s mentor, Vesemir, in stunning anime.
Why you should watch it: If you haven’t already read the source material, we recommend the best way to catch up for this feature is to binge the first season of The Witcher. Ambitiously violent and larger-than-life, it certainly ranks as one of Netflix’s best fantasy series and will give you all the knowledge you need to appreciate this animated vision of what came before. The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf premieres August 23 on Netflix. (Season 2 of the live-action series premieres on December 17.)
What it is: Now going into its 10th season, the spooky anthology series is a favorite of critics and audiences alike. Previous seasons featured haunted houses, witches, vampires, crazed killers, and every manner of unhinged human.
Why you should watch it: You don’t have to watch every season of American Horror Story to catch up for season 10, but don’t you want to!? The acclaimed anthology series is known for being as campy as it is horrific. The upcoming season, American Horror Story: Double Feature, is divided in two parts for two times the fun; one half is set by the sea, the other by the sand. Returning stars to the franchise include Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters after taking a break from 1984, Frances Conroy, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, Lily Rabe, Angelica Ross, Finn Wittrock, Denis O’Hare, Matt Bomer, and more. Season 10 premieres August 25 on FX.
What it is: Even the sleekest of action-packed espionage thrillers have an air of cartoonish hyperbole to them, but FXX’s Archer does away with that suspension of disbelief by making the whole thing a cartoon to begin with. The half-hour comedy from creator Adam Reed can land a joke as deftly as its titular man-child spy can land a punch, so expect to be thrilled while laughing yourself silly.
Why you should watch it: Over 11 hit seasons, Archer has never shied away from genre experimentation. Season 8’s Dreamland and 9’s Danger Island were particularly high-concept highlights, with season 10 following suit with 1999, which saw Archer not as the ass-kicking spy of ISIS we know from earlier incarnations, but a futuristic explorer of space on the M/V Seamus alongside our longstanding favorite characters and the voice actors behind them. Season 11 marked the spies much-anticipated return to reality after he wakes up from his coma and does away with those bottle-themed seasons. Season 12, which features the late, great Jessica Walter’s final bow as the voice of Malory, premieres August 25 on FXX.
What it is: Cary (Drew Tarver), and his sister, Brooke (Heléne Yorke) had dreams of fame of fortune, but now fast-approaching 30 with not much to show for it, they’re forced to contend with overnight, Justin Bieber–style viral fame of their teen brother Chase (Case Walker).
Why you should watch it: With a never-better Molly Shannon as the central three’s supportive (but a bit delusional) mother, this laugh-out-loud series from Saturday Night Live vets Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider parodies pop culture as much as it celebrates it — and it’s just about perfect. Season 2 premieres August 26 on HBO Max.
Star Wars and X-Men actor Oscar Isaac has learned some new moves as a Marvel superhero, get a look at the Powerpuff Women, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan hints at The Walking Dead Negan spinoff. Plus, new trailers and more of the biggest TV and streaming news of the week.
Moon Knight Training Video Suggests Oscar Isaac Might Be a Killer
It probably shouldn’t come as a total surprise that mercenary with multiple personalities could become quite violent. But a new video chronicling Moon Knight star Isaac’s training for his role as the lead in the upcoming Disney+ Marvel series suggests the titular character may be a real killer, something that could potentially the family friendliness right out of the MCU story.
The video reveals some impressive fight moves during Isaac’s training, several sequences of which end with what appears to be throat-slitting knife work. The video was posted to Instagram by Mad Gene Media, the New York–based production company founded by Isaac and Elvira Lind.
Whatever Isaac’s character is getting up to in the series, it definitely seems like there’s plenty of action-packed drama ahead … for viewers whose mommies and daddies deem it appropriate viewing, anyway.
First Look at the Powerpuff Girls as Women
(Photo by James Acomb/The CW)
If you were a little underwhelmed last week at the sight of the Powerpuff girls in costume on the set of The CW’s upcoming live-action reboot of the Powerpuff Girls cartoon, we’ve got news and an important update. The literally cartoon-y look of the costumes was intentional; the scenes being filmed were flashbacks to Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup Utonium in action during their teenage years.
This week, The CW released the first official photo of Powerpuff stars Chloe Bennet, Dove Cameron, and Yana Perrault as adults, and they’re wearing some colorful, but still all grown up, stylin’ duds. The pilot, in fact, will be largely focused on the women as adults, and their angst about having spent their younger years as world-saving heroines.
In other Powerpuff news, Robyn Lively joined the cast as Sara Bellum, the mayor’s assistant, while original series narrator, Tom Kenny, will return as the narrator for the reboot..
The Walking Dead: Another Spin-Off Coming, Featuring Negan?
With season 10’s finale – the season-best “Here’s Negan” episode of The Walking Dead that featured Jeffrey Dean Morgan and his real-life wife Hilarie Burton playing Negan and his wife Lucille – setting up the inevitable showdown between Negan and Lauren Cohan’s Maggie in TWD’s upcoming final season, fans are facing the end of the line for most TV versions of TWD’s characters.
But during Morgan’s appearance on Conan this week, he provided hope for fans of his performance of Negan, confirming to Conan O’Brien that there have been discussions about a spin-off series revolving around the bat-swinging killer who’s trying to redeem himself.
“I think they’re thinking of a couple different ideas, but I’ve definitely had conversations about possibly continuing the story of Negan,” Morgan said.
(Photo by AMC)
Future TWD projects already announced include a spin-off starring BFFs Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) and a series of movies featuring the return of Andy Lincoln as Rick Grimes.
And speaking of Rick, who disappeared from the series when Lincoln left the series, but was killed off in the comic book, he’s going to be resurrected for a special issue of the book.
Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman announced this week he’ll celebrate the 10th anniversary of his company Skybound with a five-issue, limited edition comic book series called Skybound X, with one non-canonical issue featuring Rick Grimes and revisiting a bonus ending story from the comics (issue #75) that revealed aliens to have a hand in the zombie apocalypse.
NEW TRAILERS: Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad: What If It Really Was an Actual Railroad?
The Underground Railroad is Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins’ moving series that imagines an alternate timeline in which the network of abolitionists is an actual railroad, based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Stars Thuso Mbedu, Joel Edgerton, Chase W. Dillon, William Jackson Harper, and Damon Herriman. Premieres May 14 (Amazon Video).
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• In Treatment returns with season 4 and new lead the Emmy-winning Uzo Aduba, as observant, empathetic Dr. Brooke Taylor, a Los Angeles therapist who will help her patients tackle topics like the global pandemic and recent major social and cultural shifts, while she also deals with the complications of her own personal life. Also stars Joel Kinnaman, Anthony Ramos, Quintessa Swindell, and John Benjamin Hickey. Premieres May 23 (HBO).
• Ziwe is the new variety series from the titular comedian and Desus & Mero writer, featuring sketches, musical numbers, and interviews that challenge America’s discomfort with race, politics, and other cultural issues. Stars Ziwe, and guest stars like Bowen Yang and Phoebe Bridgers. Premieres May 9 (Showtime).
• Cruel Summer is a new twist-filled teen mystery set in Texas and sparked by an abduction. Stars Sarah Drew, Chiara Aurelia, and Harley Quinn Smith. Premieres April 20 (Freeform).
• In Mythic Quest season 2, the Raven’s Banquet gang is back in the office post-quarantine, except for C.W. (F. Murray Abraham), whose advanced age means it’s safer for him to continue working remotely. Stars Rob McElhenney, Jessie Ennis, Charlotte Nicdao, Danny Pudi, David Hornsby, and guest star Snoop Dogg. Premieres May 7 (Apple TV+).
• Shrill is the third and final season of the comedy starring delightful Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant. Premieres May 7 (Hulu).
• The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is the docuseries about the story behind the story of the investigation of the 1970s “Son of Sam” murders in New York. David Berkowitz was convicted of the serial killings, but a journalist named Maury Terry became obsessed with the idea that Berkowitz had not acted alone. His obsession eventually cost him everything. Premieres May 5 (Netflix).
• Headspace Guide to Sleep is the animated series that sheds health-changing light on just how important sleep is to the human body, and the things we can do – and shouldn’t do – to ensure we get it. Premieres April 28 (Netflix).
• A Black Lady Sketch Show returns for Season 2 with guest stars Gabrielle Union, Miguel, Jesse Williams, and Skai Jackson. Premieres April 23 (HBO).
• Pet Stars is a reality series about an animal talent agency revolving around the biggest social media animal influencers. Premieres April 20 (Netflix).
CASTING: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Returning to TV in The Second Home, a Drama About a Family Ruined by the Secrets of a Cape Cod Summer
(Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)
Jamie Lannister is coming back to television … or rather his portrayer, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is. The Game of Thrones will star in and executive produce The Second Home, a series adaptation of author Christina Clancy’s debut novel of the same name. The story follows the Gordon and Shaw families, and the two generations of the families whose lives are unraveled by a secret that began during a fateful summer in Cape Cod. No network is yet attached to the series. (Variety)
Fabien Frankel (Last Christmas) has been cast in the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, where he’ll play Ser Criston Cole, a common-born man with serious sword-swinging skills who is a member of King Viserys I Targaryen’s Kingsguard. (George R. R. Martin’s Blog)
Oscar winner Common has joined the season 2 cast of Mindy Kaling’s YA Netflix hit Never Have I Ever. In a recurring role written just for him after he proclaimed the series one of his pandemic watch favorites, Common will play Dr. Chris Jackson, a dermatologist with a list of celebrity patients, who works in the same building as Nalini (Poorna Jagannathan). Season 2 is scheduled to premiere in July.
Another Oscar winner, Natalie Portman, is staking more claim in TV land. Portman, who recently signed a first-look deal with Apple TV+, will star in and executive produce The Days of Abandonment, an HBO movie adaptation of author Elena Ferrante’s book of the same title. Portman will play Tess, a woman who gave up her dreams to be a wife and mother, only to be abandoned herself when her husband leaves her and throws her world out of control.
Arrested Development alum Michael Cera will make his first return in a regular TV role since Arrested, playing a farmer and chef who brutally honest in the upcoming Amy Schumer Hulu comedy Life & Beth. Schumer, who stars in, executive produces, directs, and writes the 10-episode series, plays Beth, who seems successful to everyone around her, but is shaken when a sudden event makes her rethink her teen years and who she really wants to be.
Justin Timberlake will play The Gong Show host Chuck Barris in an Apple TV+ series about Barris’ life. The series will be based on the late Barris’ 1984 memoir Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which he claimed his gigs as game show host and creator of game shows The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game were actually covers for his other job: as CIA assassin. The book was already adapted as the 2002 George Clooney–directed movie adaptation of the same name, with Sam Rockwell playing Barris. (Deadline)
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for FIJI Water)
Renée Elise Goldsberry, star of Hamilton and Tina Fey’s upcoming Peacock series Girls5Eva, will also star in the Disney+ Marvel series She-Hulk, playing a character named Amelia. The series, starring Tatiana Malany in the title role, started filming this week in Atlanta. (Deadline)
Christine Elise McCarthy and Alex Vincent are the latest Child’s Play franchise stars who will join their titular creepy doll co-star in the upcoming USA/Syfy series Chucky. McCarthy (Beverly Hills 90210) will again play Kyle, which she also played in Child’s Play 2 and Cult of Chucky, while Vincent will play Andy Barclay, a role he played in the original 1988 Child’s Playmovie, as well as Child’s Play 2 and Curse of Chucky. Original movie star Brad Dourif is returning as the voice of Chucky in the series, while Dourif’s daughter Fiona will reprise her role as Nica, which she played in Curse of Chucky and Cult of Chucky. Jennifer Tilly (Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Curse of Chucky, and Cult of Chucky), Barbara Alyn Woods (One Tree Hill) and her daughter Alyvia Alyn Lind (The Young and the Restless), and Devon Sawa (Final Destination) also star. (EW)
District 9 star Sharlto Copley has joined the upcoming second season of Natasha Lyonne’s Netflix hit Russian Doll. No details have been released about the storyline or new characters for season 2 of the dramedy. (Deadline)
All-American star Jordan Belfi will join the cast of NBC’s Good Girls for a recurring role this season. He’ll play Z, who Dean (Matthew Lillard) meets when he gets mixed up with a multi-level marketing group. (Deadline)
New Amsterdam star Anupam Kher, one of the series’ original cast members as Dr. Vijay Kapoor, has left the series to spend more time with his wife, actress Kirron, as she battles cancer. (EW)
Rob Delaney will co-star with Chiwetel Ejiofor in Showtime’s The Man Who Fell to Earth. Catastrophe alum Delaney will play Hatch Flood, the black sheep of a wealthy tech family who becomes involved with Ejiofor’s titular alien character.
Andrew Dice Clay and Pepi Sonuga (9-1-1) are joining the cast of Hulu’s Pam & Tommy limited series about the infamous sex tape made by former marrieds Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee. Clay will play a shady loan shark character, while Sonuga will play Anderson’s best friend. (Deadline)
PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: Hulu’s The 39 Steps Limited Series Will Star Benedict Cumberbatch
(Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Entone)
Hulu is developing a limited series adaptation of the classic 1915 John Buchan thriller novel and 1935 Alfred Hitchcock movie The 39 Steps, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Reteaming with his Patrick Melrose director Edward Berger on the project, Cumberbatch will play Richard Hanney, a man who becomes a pawn in a global conspiracy to change the world, via 39 steps. The actor and Berger are also executive producers on the limited series. (Deadline)
Magic Mike star Channing Tatum and director Steven Soderbergh are among the executive producers of The Real Magic Mike, an upcoming HBO Max reality series in which 10 men will compete for cash and a shot to perform in the Magic Mike Live stage show in Las Vegas.
Kenan co-star Don Johnson confirmed he’s set to begin production in San Francisco on a Nash Bridges reboot that may be a full reboot or a two-hour movie, airing on NBC or Peacock. He’ll be joined by original co-stars Cheech Marin and Jeff Perry. (TVLine)
EPIX has greenlit the 10-episode sci-fi horror series From, created by John Griffin (Crater). The cliffhanger-packed drama “unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town in middle America that traps all those who enter. As the unwilling residents fight to keep a sense of normalcy and search for a way out, they must also survive the threats of the surrounding forest – including the terrifying creatures that come out when the sun goes down.” Game of Thrones and Lost director Jack Bender directs the first four episodes of From, which begins production in May in Nova Scotia for a planned 2022 premiere.
(Photo by Russ Martin/CBS)
Star Trek: Picard and upcoming Strange New Worlds co-showrunner Akiva Goldsman says the new series, which stars Anson Mount as original Trek captain Christopher Pike, will be more episodic, like the original series that launched the Trek universe, with stories jumping from horror to “hard sci-fi” to more comedic turns, like the classic “The Trouble with Tribbles” installment. (THR)
Ron Howard and his character-actor brother Clint are writing a joint memoir about their lives as child actors. The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family will be released on October 12 from William Morrow, and will unfold a story “by turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing” that “lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives. It’s the journey of a tight four-person family unit that held fast in an unforgiving business and of two brothers who survived ‘child-actor syndrome’ to become fulfilled adults.”
VAX LINE: The Concert to Reunite the World will air and stream on May 8 as a concert to try to inspire vaccine confidence around the world. Selena Gomez hosts and performers include Foo Fighters, Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, J Balvin and H.E.R. for the special, which will air on ABC, CBS, FOX, YouTube, and iHeartMedia.
Demi Lovato may be doing double duty for NBC, as the network ordered pilots for her comedy Hungry and romantic comedy Someone Out There. The autobiographical Hungry stars Lovato (who also executive produces) as the member of an eating disorder group, and the romantic comedy stars the singer and actress as one half of a stubborn duo who are inspired by strangers to change their ways and potentially find love (and possibly with each other).
Netflix will be the home for the live-action movie adaptation of the 1979 TV series Gundam, which Brian K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man) will write and Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts will direct.
Colton Underwood, star of season 23 of ABC’s The Bachelor, announced he is gay during an interview on Good Morning America on Wednesday, and on Thursday Variety reported he is filming a reality show for Netflix about living as a gay man.
The original cast of NBC’s ER, including George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Laura Innes, Anthony Edwards, Paul Crane, Ming-Na Wen, Gloria Reuben, Julianna Margulies, Goran Visnjic, Yvette Freeman, CCH Pounder, and Alex Kingston, are reuniting on April 22 in a live, virtual gathering on Stars in the House, in a benefit for the Waterkeeper Alliance, the global nonprofit focusing on clean water. Reuben is the president of Waterkeeper Alliance, and the reunion will stream on People magazine’s social media platforms at 8 PM ET on April 22.
It’s been 10 years since The Walking Dead shuffled onto our screens. The series went on to spawn an entire universe of zombie drama, including Fear the Walking Dead and YA horror roadtrip The Walking Dead: World Beyond. If you’ve already checked out those, here are five other shows with horror and post-apocalyptic melancholy that we think you’ll enjoy more than a zombie scarfing down a bowl of brains. Dig in!
It should come as no surprise that Christmas is not Greg Nicotero’s favorite holiday.
“Do I even have to answer that question? Of course Halloween is my favorite holiday,” The Walking Dead and Shudder’s Creepshow series executive producer told Rotten Tomatoes. “I know that there’s going to be a bunch of zombie heads on spikes in my front yard for sure. The zombie heads are easy. The spikes are harder for me, because now I have to make them. But I got a bunch of zombie heads that I want to line up along the street outside of my house.”
Trick-or-treaters, be on the lookout, because as the co-founder of the Oscar and Emmy-winning KNB EFX Group special effects studio, Nicotero’s lawn decorations of horror will obviously top anything you can buy at Target. In addition to the more than 400 TV and movie projects he and KNB have worked on since they formed in 1988, Nicotero’s handiwork is an integral part of the look of The Walking Dead, which he has been a part of since the show premiered on Halloween 2010.
In honor of the series’ 10th anniversary, we talked to Nicotero about how he was actually part of the series before it became a series thanks to his friendship with Frank Darabont, why he thinks the show’s Western vibes are a big reason it propelled zombies into the mainstream, and how the upcoming spin-off with Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (played by his good friend and Nic & Norman’s restaurant partner Norman Reedus) has been building since season 2.
Nicotero also talks about the cast and crew’s famously close relationships (including the only person he told about how nervous he was to direct his first episode), how TWD and Creepshow are dealing with filming during the pandemic, and the very cool zombie idea he’d like to try out before The Walking Dead wraps after season 11.
(Photo by Mark Hill/AMC)
Kim Potts for Rotten Tomatoes: How are you doing?
Greg Nicotero: I’m really good. We’re filming away on Creepshow, and it’s been super fun, surprisingly. I was a little concerned about all of the crazy COVID procedures making it more tedious and less fun, but it’s been a blast. The actors have been great, and the crew has been great. We’re having a really good time, so it feels great to be back at it again. You get to set, and you’ve got your mask on and your face shield, but when you’re in it, you forget about all that stuff, and you get a chance to focus on what you love doing.
You’re also working on the additional Walking Dead season 10 episode that will air next year?
Nicotero: Yeah. The challenge is sort of getting out of one bubble and getting myself into another bubble, then getting tested, then doing set work, and then tested again, because you can’t go from one set to the other without getting tested and put into another bubble. We probably started prepping Walking Dead stuff back in July, just sort of making adjustments in what we were doing for the show to allow for accelerated makeup times and easier application and all kinds of scenarios. I was working on Walking Dead July, August, and September, and then in September we started shooting Creepshow again. It’s been kind of busy.
Has it forced you to make any storyline changes in either show?
Nicotero:The Walking Dead stuff is really intended to be these kind of episodes that are a little more production-friendly … because you’re dipping your toes in the water a little bit. With Creepshow, we’re primarily a stage show, so we don’t have to go out into the world very often, and that allows us to be a little bit more self-contained. Fortunately, not a lot of people kiss in either show, so we’re not worrying too much about somebody kissing someone. It’s definitely a change in the way that we are accustomed to doing things, but so far, so good.
Are you directing any of the six remaining season 10 episodes?
Nicotero: No. Originally, (TWD showrunner) Angela (Kang) had called and asked me if I wanted to and, unfortunately, because of when the pandemic hit and everything shut down, Creepshow was set to start shooting, and we had prepped the first two episodes. I think in my head originally, I was like, “Well, I can shoot Creepshow and then run over and do Walking Dead,” and then I thought, “That’s insane. I would literally die.” Until January, I’m all the way up to my eyeballs in Creepshow.
(Photo by AMC)
Halloween this year marks the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead. Does it feel to you like it’s been a decade? I always think of the show as all of you making an hour-long movie, for TV, every week.
Nicotero: Yeah, it feels like it’s been 100 years. Honestly, time has a very different meaning when you’re on a show of this magnitude for this duration, because there are some episodes I remember like they were yesterday. There are other episodes that I’m like, “I don’t even remember that,” just because we’ve done so many episodes. Even when I go to the studio, and I’ll stand on the backlot and be like, “This is where the prison was, and then that’s where the Heaps were, and then, oh, this is the scene where they thought that Carol was dead and they put a grave in the prison field …” There are numerous beautiful moments of the show, and some of them get lost in the fact that we’ve been on for such a long time, and I kind of forget some of them.
I just recently went back and rewatched Game of Thrones with my son, Deven, and there was so much stuff that I was able to appreciate about the show going back and seeing it after a little bit of time. I’m looking forward to doing that with Walking Dead, going back to the beginning and really sort of looking at what the DNA of the show was then and the great scenes that we crafted and the great moments with Chandler (Riggs) and with Emily (Kinney). There are so many people that you start going back and thinking about what amazing work they did. God bless Scott Wilson, because I had some of the greatest moments of my career with Scott. I’ll be forever grateful that I got a chance to be a part of his life.
I don’t think I’ve ever talked to you about this: how did your involvement with the show begin?
Nicotero: Frank (Darabont) is one of my best friends, still to this day, and probably a year before the show was ever put into production, he had given me the script and was like, “Okay, we’re going to do The Walking Dead.” The irony behind all of this was I remember buying the first issue of the comic book when I was working with Robert Rodriguez in Austin, Texas. There was a great comic book shop there, and I bought the first issue. Frank and I had always talked about the idea of wanting to do a zombie project, because he loved Night of the Living Dead. His No. 1 criteria was, it’s got to be the right stories. It really needs to be about survival and what people do, what they become in order to survive.
I remember one night specifically, one dinner, where we were talking about it. I don’t think we ever thought about it as a TV show, because this was years before Walking Dead even happened. At that point, zombie television wasn’t even a thing. No one would have ever imagined doing a TV show with zombies in it. We were talking about a movie. Then a couple of years later he sent the script over and was like, “Hey, man, this is what we’re going to do.” We had designed a couple of zombie busts that he took to his meetings to help sell the show, because one of the big questions that every network asked was, “Well, how are you going to do the zombies? No one’s ever done anything like this on television before.” (Frank) was like, “Oh, it’s easy. I got this guy, Greg Nicotero, and he makes zombie busts, and this is what the zombies are going to look like.”
(Photo by Scott Garfield/AMC)
There are so few of you left from the beginning, but you’ve been there even before it was even a show.
Nicotero: I remember talking about the opening scene with Frank, with a little girl at the gas station, and I said, “You know, Frank, the Dawn of the Dead remake had a very similar sequence where there’s a little girl zombie at the beginning,” and he was like, “Yeah, I don’t care about that. It doesn’t matter. This is going to be our show.”
I would have never imagined that the mainstream would have sort of caught up to everything that I have loved since I was a kid, which is zombie movies. Before The Walking Dead, zombies were a very, very niche sort of sub-genre that appealed to a specific group of people. I think what Frank was able to do was really break the mold and show that The Walking Dead really is a Western. Andy (Lincoln) always, always talked about that a lot; his inspiration for Rick Grimes was Clint Eastwood and The Outlaw Josie Wales. That was something that was very important, because a lot of the actors, when we did season 1, they hadn’t seen a lot of zombie stuff. They hadn’t seen Night of the Living Dead. They hadn’t seen Dawn of the Dead. Even though that was a lot of the inspiration for the show, they were approaching it like Frank, from sort of a dramatic survival standpoint.
I have to say that the cast that we put together for season 1, with Sarah Callies and Steven Yeun and Jon Bernthal and Laurie Holden and Jeff DeMunn … what a cast. I mean, the cast was absolutely astonishing and that’s where Frank always excels, his ensemble casting. He did it in The Green Mile. He did it in Shawshank (Redemption). He did it in The Mist. And, of course, there are Norman (Reedus) and Melissa (McBride), who have been on the show since day one.
Do you think it’s that focus on those aspects, those dramatic aspects and the kind of survival, the universal, human themes is what really helped the show cross over to the mainstream?
Nicotero: Absolutely. Absolutely, because a lot of times in zombie movies, prior to The Walking Dead, the gore was the big element, the horror was the big element, and I think there were a lot of instances where people might have been turned off by the gore. Even when you talk to people that watch The Walking Dead, they had this preconceived notion about it until they watched it, and when they experienced it through the eyes of Rick Grimes, who is waking up in the hospital, and he’s learning about what the world is, the first thing people would say is, “It’s not a show about zombies.” I’m like, “No, it’s a show about survival, and it’s a show about what people are willing to do in a situation like that.” Of course the zombies are a big part of it, and I’m very proud of the contribution that I’ve made to the show and that my team has made to the show, but a lot of the drive for the show has been about those specific character moments where the audience can identify with Maggie or Glenn or Hershel and put themselves in those characters’ positions and imagine what they would or would not have been able to do.
(Photo by Gene Page/AMC)
Do you have a favorite episode or storyline? You’ve been involved in so many of the great ones, but can you choose just one?
Nicotero: I would probably say one of my favorite episodes is the episode where Merle fights The Governor and Merle dies [“This Sorrowful Life”]. The moment where Norman just literally poured his soul out when he saw Merle as a walker. I’ll never forget filming that. I’ll never forget people calling me and saying, “How the fuck did you make me cry in a show like this?” I’ve had so many amazing moments working with Norman and working with Melissa. I mean, having filmed Andy’s last episode, and the number of people that I’ve had to kill on the show, that’s never fun.
I don’t know if I could pick just one episode. I think the episode where the walkers invade Alexandria [“Start to Finish”], and that was like our Night of Living Dead homage. I would probably go back and watch episodes and not even remember like, “Oh, I shot that episode. That’s right,” because we’ve had so many, so many moments. Negan’s introduction [“Last Day on Earth”, which was certainly controversial, but I’m tremendously proud of what we did, and Jeffrey (Dean Morgan’s) performance and shooting 12 pages of dialogue in two nights is, it’s a little bonkers in the TV schedule. So yeah, I just don’t know if I could pick one.
Has the show ever made you cry?
Nicotero: I think there have been characters that died (that have made me cry). I think the moment with Jeffrey DeMunn, that was the first episode I had ever directed [“Judge, Jury, Executioner”], and, yeah, I got emotional when I shot it and when I watched the first cut. Chandler was a little boy. I remember Chandler running down through the field and shooting his reaction to seeing Jeff on the ground with his stomach torn open and blood bubbling out of it, and just how hysterical everybody got. To see the fear in Jeffrey’s eyes when Norman walked over with the gun and said, “I’m sorry, brother,” it was intense.
That episode was just … I was so terrified, because it was the first hour of television that I had ever directed, and I had my little graphs and my little charts of where the camera would go. I think probably Andy was the only person that I had shared with him like, “I’m scared sh–less here,” but I trusted my instincts, I trusted my camera department, and I trusted my actors. If you look at the episodes in season 2, 3, and 3, those episodes are so dense. There’s so much story that we’re telling, and it just propelled us. If you watch that episode, which was written by Angela, there’s so much. You’re telling an entire season’s worth of story in that one episode.
That’s what I mean. They were like movies every week.
Nicotero: Oh, without a doubt. There’s not one moment where there’s a frame of film that doesn’t serve something, that doesn’t serve a character, a story point, the propulsion of the show as it’s moving forward. I’ve rewatched that episode recently, and it’s just crazy what we did. I think we shot that in seven days maybe.
(Photo by Gene Page/AMC)
You are responsible for starting The Walking Dead Zombie School, to train the zombie actors on the show. How has that evolved through the seasons? I’m guessing that just from watching the show, people are coming to you a little more prepared at this point.
Nicotero: Definitely. In fact, I don’t think we’ve done Zombie School in two years, because at this point, we have our troupe of zombie performers and actors, and I think the people that we love, we bring them back over and over again. At the beginning, we wanted to make sure that we were maintaining the aesthetic of what we wanted for the zombies, but also, they had to be able to perform with the actors. They have to be able to die well, they had to be able to be convincing as zombies. What you don’t want to do is spend an entire hour or two fine tuning background zombie performances that would then be taking away from shooting the rest of the scene, so it was always very important that the zombies were well directed in terms of their performance and what was expected of them. Every season, I would say we’d probably end up with like 20 people that were just standout performers, and a lot of them initially came from a place in Georgia called Netherworld, which is a haunted house attraction that would open in September/October. A lot of those people that had been working at that attraction ended up being some of our best zombie performers.
The Walking Dead cast and crew have been known to be very close, even though there are a lot of changes with all the character deaths. How have you maintained that?
Nicotero: Well, listen, the dynamic of the cast changes as certain actors leave and other actors come in, so it evolves. It’s a very organic thing. I think one of the unique things about any show that has a tightknit family is when you’re in the trenches with them, you’re sharing something that you can’t share with anybody else. That was something I learned working with Quentin Tarantino. When we were doing Inglourious Basterds, he had looked at me one day and said, “You know, there’s nobody else I would ever want to be in the trenches with,” and that really stuck with me a lot, because I realized that it’s a shared experience, and I have a bond with this crew and these actors that no one can ever take away from me and no one can replace. I still keep in touch with most of the actors from the show, even if it’s once a month, just a quick text saying, “Hey, how’s it going?” I talk to Sonequa (Martin-Green) a lot. I talk to (Michael) Cudlitz a lot. I talk to Alanna (Masterson) a lot. Of course, on the show, Norman and Jeffrey and Christian (Serratos) and Lauren (Cohan). Even during the pandemic, I would just find myself calling Khary (Payton) to just see how he is doing. or I would call Seth (Gilliam).
When you’ve been in these intense situations with these people for so long, they just become part of your life. I’m grateful, forever grateful, for that and for the friendships that I have. I talked to Jeffrey DeMunn not long ago. It’s like that never goes away. When you work on a movie, that goes for six months or eight months, then it’s gone, and you move on. When you’re doing serialized television, you come back year after year, and you come back with the same people. You watch their children grow up, and you watch them get married or divorced or whatever happens, but you end up being a part of that whole scenario. It’s fun for me to look at Andy’s kids and Jeffrey (Dean Morgan)’s kids. Jeffrey’s son is really into special effects makeup, so I would send him little makeup kits and little zombie wounds and things. I send videos to Andy from set of the creatures from Creepshow so that he can show it to his kids, because they’re sort of now at that age where they’re kind of fascinated with the monster aspect of it.
(Photo by AMC)
You mentioned Carol and Daryl, and how Norman and Melissa are the other people still with the show who have been there from the beginning. Their characters, separately and together, are so beloved that they’re going to be their own spinoff. Since you’ve witnessed it all, is that relationship something that developed organically?
Nicotero: With Daryl, that was a creation of Frank Darabont, and I remember specifically when we were casting for the show, Frank had called me one day and said, “Hey, I’m thinking about this guy Norman Reedus to play Daryl, and I know that you had worked with him on Masters of Horror. What did you think of him?” I gave him a huge thumbs up, but I said, “Listen, let’s reach out to the director and get a review from John Carpenter.” John couldn’t say enough good things about Norman. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the van dressed up as a zombie for (“Tell It to the Frogs”), and Norman’s sitting in the chair next to me. I didn’t even realize that the deal had gone through. He didn’t recognize me because I was dressed up as a zombie. I had my zombie teeth in, and I was trying to talk to him. Ironically enough, I am the first zombie that Daryl kills in the series.
I think the way that season 2 was crafted and the way that Daryl’s character evolved into somebody who was not going to give up looking for Carol’s daughter, Sophia, that’s really where that bond began, because of Daryl’s undying commitment to find Sophia. Between Melissa’s brilliant performance as Carol and Norman, they just fell together so perfectly that you couldn’t have planned it. It just worked amazingly well and kept growing from there.
You are an executive producer, the special effects guru, and a go-to director on the series. What do you still want to do in The Walking Dead universe?
Nicotero: Oh, boy. I was thinking about this the other night, that it would be kind of interesting to have an episode where we actually follow a walker all the way from the beginning, like the opening scene would be a person is killed, and they’re on the ground dead, and then they come back as a walker, and we actually follow them through the world as they come into contact with different people. I just think it would be a unique perspective, to see an episode not necessarily shot from the point of view of the zombie, but kind of being with a walker as it’s killed and then reanimated and then going into a herd. We kind of had a little bit of that in the beginning of season 2 when we started showing the beginning of the herd that overruns Hershel’s farm, but I just think we could do something really fun and special with that.
We’ve tracked the best (and worst) cold-weather TV and streaming offerings since mid-December, gathering a list of all the premieres this season – series, miniseries, and TV movies across cable, broadcast, and streaming – and ranked them by Tomatometer. And now it’s time to say goodbye. We’ve closed down the list as of March 19, the last day of winter.
The final list of 110 titles includes every eligible new TV season or streaming movie that premiered since December 13, with highlights like The Witcher on Netflix, AMC’s Better Call Saul, The Expanse on Amazon Prime Video, Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access, the final season of Schitt’s Creek on Pop, Freeform’s Party of Five, HBO’s The New Pope, 9-1-1: Lone Star on Fox, Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens on Comedy Central, Katy Keene on The CW, Briarpatch on USA Network, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet on Apple TV+, the final season of Homeland on Showtime, High Fidelity on Hulu, Outlander on Starz, Togo on Disney+, and more!
To be included, each TV show on the list must have received at least 10 critic reviews, while TV movies had to have at least 20 reviews. So if you’re wondering why your favorite show or TV movie isn’t on here, it likely just doesn’t yet have enough reviews to qualify under our criteria. And remember: a Certified Fresh badge generally means that a show or film has earned the respect of the majority of reviewers weighing in (at least 20 for a TV season and 40 for films), including some of the industry’s top critics.
Just added:Visible: Out on Television (miniseries), Queen Sono: season 1, Brockmire: season 4, Motherland: Fort Salem: season 1, Feel Good: season 1
Critics Consensus: An apathetic performance from Ricky Gervais can't quite sink the 77th Golden Globes, but scattered moments of hope, from unexpected winners to heart-felt speeches, can't quite save it either.
Critics Consensus: This radical retelling of Charles Dickens' classic parable struggles to justify its oppressive tone and edgy flourishes, although Guy Pearce is suitably haunting as the haunted Ebenezer Scrooge.
Synopsis: Scottish business tycoon Mr. Scrooge faces some big changes when a trio of atypical spirits pay him a visit at... [More]
Critics Consensus:DAVE can be just as off-putting as Lil Dicky's rap persona with its abundance of genitalia jokes and self-aggrandizement, but beneath the raunchy veneer is a surprisingly self-aware show with a sweet core.
Critics Consensus: If Avenue 5's maiden voyage isn't as smooth as its creative clout implies, it's still a hilarious step in a completely new -- while still enjoyably caustic -- direction for creator Armando Iannucci.
Critics Consensus: Though it at times buckles under the emotional weight of its source material, All The Bright Place succeeds on the strength of Elle Fanning and Justice Smith's charming and tender performances.
Synopsis: After meeting each other, two people struggle with the emotional and physical scars of their past. They discover that even... [More]
Critics Consensus: A delicious blend of horror and humor that more-or-less balances modern sensibilities and the character's beloved legacy, Dracula is a frighteningly fun -- if not always faithful -- time.
Critics Consensus: Though Little Fires Everywhere at times plays it too safe, sparks fly when it lets well-matched leads Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon dig into the difficult questions it does dare to ask.
Critics Consensus:Briarpatch's ambiance is at times more intriguing than the simmering mystery at its center, but a captivating Rosario Dawson and surreal setting ensure it's never less than watchable.
Critics Consensus:Nora From Queens showcases Awkwafina's charming brashness and surrounds her with an equally delightful cast -- especially scene stealer Lori Tan Chinn -- but it could stand to walk a less familiar comedic beat.
Critics Consensus:Westworld successfully reboots itself by broadening its scope while tightening its storytelling clarity -- although some may feel that the soul has been stripped from this machine in the process.
Critics Consensus: A weird and whimsical journey into the unknown, Dispatches from Elsewhere's experimental approach doesn't always coalesce, but committed performances and a genuine sense of wonder make it a trip worth taking.
Critics Consensus: Familiar, but in a fresh way, Next in Fashion may not rewrite the rules of fashion competition shows, but exciting new talent and Tan France and Alexa Chungs winning chemistry make it worth tuning in.
Critics Consensus: Though it skips the occasional beat, High Fidelity's fresh take on a familiar track is as witty as it is emotionally charged, giving a curmudgeonly charming Zoë Kravitz plenty of room to shine.
Critics Consensus: As awkward and charming as adolescence, but with twice the supernatural twists, I Am Not Okay With This' first season at times veers into shallow territory, but Sophia Lillis' strong performance keeps it afloat.
Critics Consensus: Like something out of a movie, McMillions effectively -- if not always artfully -- captures the chaos of this once-in-a-lifetime, very real con and the colorful cast of characters at its center.
Critics Consensus: Anchored by the incomparable Patrick Stewart, Picard departs from standard Starfleet protocol with a slower, serialized story, but like all great Star Trek it tackles timely themes with grace and makes for an exciting push further into the final frontier.
Critics Consensus: While it relies too heavily on the workplace comedy formula, Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet is nonetheless hilarious and stands out for exploring the gaming industry with intelligence, thoughtfulness, and sincerity.
Critics Consensus: Penn Badgley's perversely endearing serial stalker keeps looking for love in all the wrong places during a second season that maintains the subversive tension while adding some welcome variations on the series' formula.
Critics Consensus: By focusing on its strong ensemble and the character moments fans have come to love, Runaways ends its three season run on an exciting -- and surprisingly introspective -- high note.
Critics Consensus: Cop-doctors finally get their due in Medical Police, a show that works almost as well as a good old fashioned action-adventure as it does a delightfully absurd satire about doctor-cops.
Critics Consensus: With an inspirational troupe of teens and willingness to engage in the tougher trials facing the sport today, Cheer perfectly captures the highs and lows of what it takes to be a cheerleader.
Critics Consensus: With spectacular musical numbers, a smartly silly sensibility, and just the right amount of existential dread, John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch is a joyous reminder that kindness and comedy can in fact go hand in hand.
Synopsis: Emmy Award Winning Comedian John Mulaney aims to recapture the magic of that bygone television era when children sang songs... [More]
Critics Consensus: Bittersweet and brilliant to the very end, BoJack Horseman's final season manages to keep surprising viewers with its empathy and depth, solidifying its place as one of TV's greatest offerings.
Critics Consensus: Smart and thrilling as ever, The Expanse's fourth season doesn't miss a beat, successfully navigating network changes without losing any of its rich character work or narrative complexities.
* Due to a technical issue, the score for season 5 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow won’t show up in this view. It stands at 99% with 13 season-level reviews, as well as episode-level reviews with scores that also count toward its season score.
In a world in which the most anticipated TV return of the year, Game of Thrones — the title we all expected would be a top contender in this list — crashed and burned in a fiery three-episode Rotten streak to end the epic HBO series, we can’t help but be surprised about the midyear lineup in our ranked list of the best TV shows of the year through late June.
We collected all of the Certified Fresh TV and streaming titles of 2019 — the season premieres that occurred January through December 31 that are Fresh with at least 20 critics reviews (five of those being from Top Critics) — to provide you with a list of the best 2019 TV shows you should be watching, according to critics. They are listed below from those that were Certified Fresh at 75% or above, but subsequently fell below that threshold for CF designation, to this year’s 20 members of the 100% Club, an enviable group whose members have gotten a positive review from every critic who’s seen them.
The year’s surprises:
Fleabag supremacy — although fans of Phoebe Waller-Bridge won’t be surprised at all; the writer-actor is also creator of Killing Eve, and scores with that title’s second season, as well
20 titles in the 100% Club!
Game of Thrones being absent from this list, which is both surprising and sad
That The Mandalorian would gift us with a wee, fuzzy, green Star Wars creature now known to fans everywhere as “Baby Yoda”
In our most recent and final update to our 2019 list, Watchmen took a tumble in the ranking, although its score remains above 95%; a Rotten episode 8 score sent American Horror Story: 1984 lower, as well; and a number of late-season additions peppered the list from top to bottom.
Among the recent additions, Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty season 4 and Work in Progress season 1 score coveted spots in the 100% Club — coveted, for instance, by titles like The Expanse, which is two Top Critic reviews away from a 100% Certified Fresh score for its fourth season. (The space-opera’s third season is only one Top Critic review away from the honor.)
Meanwhile, Apple TV+’s Dickinson squeaks onto the list with a 75% score, joining the first seasons of The Twilight Zone and Modern Love and miniseries I Am the Night as 2019 TV seasons that flirted with Certified Fresh and won.
And the final word on 2019 TV – that is, until someone writes a review that awards another 2019 series Certified Fresh status (welcome, Dublin Murders!): Season 2 of Amazon comedy Fleabag remains the most appreciated season of TV in 2019 with a 100% Tomatometer score on 90 reviews. Fleabag season 2 is also the best of the decade, in fact (see that list here).
Read on to find out where popular titles The Mandalorian (season 1), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (season 3), and Servant (season 1) made their debut.
Did your favorite 2019 show make the list? Have a look at our ranking and see what series from this year are Certified Fresh.
Critics Consensus:The Twilight Zone explores the strangeness of the modern world through Rod Serling's winning formula, creating a thought-provoking -- if not always spine-tingling -- showcase for Jordan Peele and his exceptional crop of collaborators.
Critics Consensus: Carried by its charming cast, Modern Love sweet and simple sensibilities are easy enough to enjoy, even if its quaint portrait of modern life in New York City doesn't always ring true.
Critics Consensus: Chris Pine inhabits I Am the Night with the roguish gravitas befitting a noir -- even if this entry into the pulp genre is more straightforward and languidly paced than some viewers would like.
Critics Consensus: Audacious and aspirational, Dickinson's bold blend of period-drama and millennial milieu definitely won't be for all, but those looking to break free from the doldrums of their viewing life may find some kind of hope in its singular vision.
Critics Consensus:The Umbrella Academy unfurls an imaginative yarn with furtive emotion and an exceptionally compelling ensemble, but the series' dour sensibility often clashes with its splashy genre trappings.
Critics Consensus: Though fans may find what they've been looking for in its nostalgic stylings, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series follows a little too closely in its predecessors steps to truly be the start of something new.
Critics Consensus: Marrying filmmaker Gregg Araki's frisky style with heady conspiracies and literary allusions, Now Apocalypse's bodacious aesthetics and philosophical pondering may prove too deliberately offbeat and garish for some.
Critics Consensus: Though it often buckles under the weight of its lofty ambitions and ideological pedigree, Warrior's devil may care attitude provides thrilling energy and action that will please those looking for a period drama with a little kick.
Critics Consensus: This animated anthology has enough creative Death to satisfy cyberpunk aficionados who Love their Robots to have some Heavy Metal influence, but the series' lofty ambitions are often undercut by a preoccupation with gore and titillation.
Critics Consensus: Though Baptiste does little to distinguish itself from The Missing, jolting twists and a deliciously jittery performance by Tom Hollander provide ample enough enticement for mystery fans.
Critics Consensus: Strange, surreal, and surprising, Living With Yourself takes a minute to come together, but once it does it proves to be a clever rumination on identity driven by Paul Rudd's impressive dueling performances.
Critics Consensus: Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams give viewers plenty of razzle and dazzle in Fosse/Verdon -- a straightforward miniseries that is hampered by rote biographical tropes, but still shimmies with the requisite glitz, grit, and all that jazz audiences crave.
Critics Consensus: The daemon is in the details and while His Dark Materials visual splendor and exceptional performances deftly capture the essence of Philip Pullman's seminal novels, it could use a little more magic.
Critics Consensus: While its family drama and superhero aspirations don't quite come together, compelling performances and a sense of wonder keep Raising Dion afloat and suggest that with a little more guidance it could become something great.