Yes, anticipation was huge for the next season of the Walking Dead, but did anyone think it would make TV history?
Record breaking, sure, but the third season of Walking Dead is indeed enormous, and pundits all over the 'Net can’t seem to crank out the hyperbole fast enough.
"A monster size hit," writes Detroit Free Press. "The Walking Dead is now the undisputed king of cable TV," opines Examiner.com.
While several reviews for the third season felt the first episode went overboard with the gore, there’s no question the audience is back stronger than ever for the show. This also proves that zombies, which many thought would be yesterday’s pop culture news by now, are also still going strong.
So let’s cut through all the hyperbole and present the undead facts. As the New York Times reports, The Walking Dead is right now the biggest hit of the fall TV season. The Dead season debut blew out every show on Sunday night that wasn’t sports, including Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory and The Voice, and drew in 10.9 million viewers. As The Wrap reports, this also makes it "the most-watched basic cable drama telecast ever."
The Walking Dead also blew itself away, beating its last record. (The season two finale brought in 9 million viewers). Along with the 10 p.m. and midnight repeats, the night scored 15.2 million viewers total. The New York Times put this season’s debut as 50% higher than season two’s debut. Not to mention the ratings could go up even higher once it’s figured out how many people recorded the show to watch it later.
So just when you think zombies keep growing progressively weaker and finally fall apart, they seem to be holding together pretty strong these days. As the work of George Romero proved, the best zombie stories are always more than just zombie stories, and Greg Nicotero, make-up master and executive producer of The Walking Dead, couldn’t agree more.
"I think The Walking Dead has done a tremendous amount for elevating the genre because you have three distinct ingredients: Great story, great actors, and a great monster," Nictoero says. "Because of the pedigree with which it was created, with Frank Darabont and Gale Anne Hurd, their respect for the material really had a lot of people turning their heads and saying, ‘Hey, look at that. It’s not just a zombie show.’ It respects the convictions of the horror genre, but it’s also more of a social commentary."