The zombies keep coming and the records keep breaking for AMC's post-apocalyptic zombie series "The Walking Dead."


Sunday evening marked the mid-season return of the drama, which follows a band of survivors struggling to navigate a world filled with the undead. According to Reuters, the network recorded the highest viewership for a drama in basic cable history in the valuable 18-49 demographic; with more than 5.4 million (8.1 million overall) tuning in for the 9 p.m. premiere.


Those numbers were good enough to best last October's premiere of Season Two, which drew 7.3 million viewers and set its own demo records. A season three for fall 2012 is already in development.


And how about that episode? Crazy ending, right? I'll admit I was a bit displeased when AMC announced that Season Two would be broken into two parts, but the split worked. As for Season Three, the network recently announced that it will be following a similar pattern, but instead of only 13 episodes, we'll now be treated to 16 glorious scares and thrills of the undead.


And hey — at least next December, we'll have Brad Pitt's zombie flick "World War Z" to bridge the gap.


Check out a preview of next week's "Walking Dead" episode below.


Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Walking Dead' return draws monster ratings
AMC's zombie drama drags in 8.1 million viewers for its mid-season debut Sunday night.