"The Walking Dead," AMC's brilliant series focused on humanity's struggles to survive the undead, enters its sophomore season this Sunday (Oct. 16). With only six episodes last fall, viewers in record numbers enjoyed a decent bite of the world based on the Robert Kirkman graphic novels, but were left hungry following the dramatic ending.
In response, AMC has increased the episodes in season two to 13 — and so far, early reviews of the first few are scoring major points with critics.
"The show seems somehow sleeker and better paced," writes Hank Stuever of the Washington Post
. "Characters may now be people first and archetypes second. This has the subtle but immediate effect of making 'The Walking Dead' less predictable and more frightening."
For fans curious to know how the series would progress without veteran show-runner Frank Darabont at the helm (he was replaced this summer), it appears not to have impacted the storytelling.
"'The Walking Dead' may be under new management," writes David Hinckley of the NY Daily News
, "but it seems to have kept its rhythm, moving easily between bursts of intense violence and long stretches of psychological sparring."
Obviously, what makes any horror show a hit is how well it can straddle the line between drama and gore, something THR critic Tim Goodman praises
the series for carrying forward.
"'The Walking Dead' is at its best when it can go beyond the conventions of the genre and, for instance, raise the emotional stakes," he writes. "Making the series have gravitas as an adult drama with depth and nuance is what attracted non-zombie movie fans to the series in the first place. Early in Season 2, it’s very clear that keeping that dramatic heft is of primary concern."
Turn off the lights and tune in for a little early Halloween fun this Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Check out a Season 2 promo below.