Every October a new season of AMC’s fabled zombie show, “The Walking Dead” is released and record numbers of viewers flock. “The Walking Dead” has become one of the most popular shows on TV, with 17.3 million people tuning in to the season five premiere. The show has had some weak seasons, but this premiere felt different.
The beginning of a season for “The Walking Dead” always starts with a bang, and this season was no different. Captured by a group of cannibals, Rick Grimes and his group of survivors must battle a horde of zombies and the humans trying to keep them prisoner in order to escape.
What hits the hardest about this premier is the sheer brutality of it. The members of Terminus, a former sanctuary turned cannibal cult deal with their prisoners as one would prepare a cow for a slaughterhouse. There has always been gore in the show, but it feels harsher this time. A feeling of desperation hangs over this episode in a way that only a few episodes have managed before. The coldness and methodology of the Terminus group makes them perfect villains for Rick’s group to try and defeat. This season premiere was one of the best in the entire series.
One of the main faults with the earlier seasons of “The Walking Dead” is after their explosive season premieres, all the energy dissipated and the viewers were left with a show that promised action and delivered boring dialogue after boring dialogue. But something very surprising happened this season. The dialogue was actually interesting. The next few episodes after the premiere, most notably “Strangers” and “Four Walls and a Roof” maintain the breakneck pace of the beginning while managing to deliver on some much needed character development.
This season of “The Walking Dead” is immeasurably better than the previous one which literally consisted of the group, split into three smaller groups, walking down three separate train tracks. Compared to that, anything would be good, but there are some negatives. Some of the characters, specifically Abraham and Rosalita are almost caricatures. Abraham, with his obviously dyed red hair and handlebar mustache, looks like a leprechaun that joined a biker gang. His personality isn’t much better, with “grizzled man” being pretty much the only character development he gets. At least he speaks though, Rosalita barely talks throughout the show and when she does it’s some throw away line that should have been edited out. While the episode “Self Help” focuses almost exclusively on these two characters, they still need a lot of work.
Despite some of it’s weak characters, “The Walking Dead” is a quality show and this season brings it to another level. With it’s massive budget and quality actors, “The Walking Dead” is an example of television done right. While some of the episodes drag on and the personalities of some characters remain undeveloped despite the massive amount of dialogue in the last season, this season is gearing up to be the best of the series.