The Walking Dead premiered on AMC on Halloween night in 2010. Based on the popular graphic novel series of the same name, the show ran for 11 seasons, concluding last November. Not only did the series turn out to be a long-running hit for the network, it also spawned several spinoffs, including last fall’s “Tales of the Walking Dead.”
Like its parent show, TTWD is set in an apocalyptic world infested by the reanimated dead (aka zombies). In standalone episodes, viewers get glimpses into the lives of people who are dealing with the fallout of a society that’s unraveling in the wake of a virus that not only kills people, but also resurrects them into flesh-eating undead creatures.
While most of the characters in the series’ six episodes are ones viewers don’t know, there is one that focuses on the backstory of the villain Alpha (Samanta Morton) from the parent show’’s Season 10.
If you’re a fan of the original show, you might remember a flashback from Season 2 in which Lori Grimes and Shane Walsh are stuck in a standstill traffic jam on a freeway as society starts to unravel. They venture off the highway to see military helicopters bombing downtown Atlanta in an attempt to destroy the undead. It was an interesting glimpse into the past that got me wanting more of this type of content to further flesh out the storyline. But it never happened in that series and is all that TTWD is about. On the surface, it works, in actual execution, it doesn’t always.
Having read some of the reviews of TTWD before watching it, I didn’t expect much from the series but was pleasantly surprised by how good the show is. Guest appearances by Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine and America’s Got Talent), Parker Posey (Lost in Space and Granite Flats), and Anthony Edwards (ER and Top Gun) add star power to the show.
This isn’t to say that everything about TTWD works. Some of the storylines are a little out there, like Posey’s episode which had its moments, but struggled overall with its “Groundhog Day”-like premise. Even Bill Murray couldn’t have saved this episode.
Edwards’ episode was thought-provoking as his character, a doctor, looked at the undead through the lens of science while grappling with the common sense point of view that they were beyond being human any longer. Deep stuff.
If I had to pick one episode of TTWD as my favorite, it would be the backstory of Alpha, the leader of The Whisperers on the parent show. The episode provides a better understanding of how she became the unhinged character we first met on the original series.
For fans of the parent series, TTWD is worthwhile viewing and is a good addition to the franchise’s world.
As of this article, AMC has not decided if TTWD will have a second season.