The Walking Dead Season 5 premier aired and social media is already buzzing for the show’s return.
The Season 4 premier had more than 16 million viewers in primetime alone, and topped 20 million when on demand and online viewership was added to the total. It even beat the ratings for Sunday Night Football, which is a huge feat for a niche show on basic cable. The Season 4 premier saw a 30 % increase in viewers from the Season 2 premier and Season 5 is set to surpass Season 4 by a huge percentage also. Like the virus that has infected the post-apocalypse world that the show is set in The Walking Dead continues to grow in popularity every season. If the show remains consistent the ratings this season should decimate those of previous seasons.
Season 4 brought to a close a stunning season that was both brutal and poignant. Fans got to see many of the characters reveal their backstories during the period of time when they were separated into small groups following the attack on the prison and the death of Hershel Greene, the moral guiding light of the show, in the mid-season finale. By the end of the season all of the characters had undergone a real transformation after facing some life changing situations. Carol was exiled from the group, then after reuniting with Tyreese, Judith, Lizzie and Mike had to face Lizzie’s mental issues that led her to kill her sister. In a performance that won her a Saturn award and should have won her an Emmy Melissa McBride’s Carol had to kill Lizzie to prevent her from causing any further death or danger.
But the biggest change happened in Rick, who proved that he would go to any lengths to protect Carl. Hershel had been the last tie that Rick had to any sense of greater good and with the death of Hershel Rick became a man driven only by the desire to protect his son and the other members of the group. At the end of the harrowing season the prison group survivors are reunited, but they are being held prisoner in a train car in Terminus.
It’s been reported that the Season 5 premier will run an extra long 90 minutes, similar to the first episode Days Gone Bye, and runs more like a mini-movie than a normal episode. Unlike previous seasons there is no time jump during the seasons and Season 5 picks up with the prison survivors locked in the train car by the Termites and faced with a battle to escape. All that is known for sure is that they will get out of the train car, and by the end of the episode everyone will be reunited except for Beth, who was taken by persons unknown in the second half of Season 4. The reuniting of the group is a moment that fans have been waiting for since the mid-season finale of Season 4 when the group was split up. The heartwarming scene where fans get to see Rick reunited with baby Judith will give fans a brief respite from what is sure to be a bloody and action packed opening to the season.
The Walking Dead has remained popular throughout the hiatus on social media but now that the return of the show is imminent fans are firing up their Twitter and Facebook accounts to connect with other fans. Many members of the The Walking Dead Family, the informal collective of Walking Dead fans that crosses every spectrum, will be live-tweeting the season premiere so that they can share the intense experience with other people who share their excitement for the return of the show.
It seems likely that The Walking Dead will dominate social media as well as the ratings this season, proving that the zombie show which was passed over by almost every network is one of those one in a million shows that will change the TV landscape. The Walking Dead Season 5 premiers on Sunday October 12th on AMC.