The Walking Dead started as a long-running comic book. More grisly and darker than the capes and tights crowd, but fans still loved it. As more issues came out, more and more people jumped on the bandwagon, turning The Walking Dead into one of the biggest “mature” comics ever, right up there with Y The Last Man and The Sandman.
Then, after years, The Walking Dead made its TV debut on AMC network. No one quite knew what to expect. Would the comic translate well to the small screen? They would have to change some things, but would it be too much for comic fans? Would keeping it too close to the original material be too much for casual TV fans to follow?
The Walking Dead – Major Success
Now, after 100 episodes, all those questions have been answered. The Walking Dead is one of the biggest TV programs … ever. It started off with ex-cop Rick Grimes, his family, and best friend, trying to figure out how to survive in a zombie-ridden no man’s land that used to be America. Along the way, they picked up other survivors, some in groups, others like strays. Some were loners that decided they were safer in a group. Others were the sort that walks down a dark staircase just to “see what that noise is.” All the fans have characters they love to love and those they love to hate.
Even social media has gotten in on the fandom, turning several characters into memes and constant topics of conversation. Soon, Rick and company will begin their eighth season of killing the dead and outwitting an increasingly evil line of Bad Guys. As they have been for many seasons, the cast is filming in a small town in rural Georgia, 140 acres that has been many disparate fictional towns, locations, and death traps.
Did the Cast Realize It Was a Hit?
Recently, members of the media met with the cast and crew on location to talk about what it means to reach a plateau, so many other shows never manage to attain. They were asked the obvious question: When did it occur to them that the show would be a hit?
Some said they knew as early as season 2 that they had a barnburner on their hands. Fans were invested in the cast and in the storyline. Even when the plot began to slow down midseason — a constant complaint of TWD fans — people stuck with it. They were all in and wanted to know where things were headed next.
There were some rough spots through the years. Characters and plotlines that fans just couldn’t get behind. But the show made it through those when so many other shows have not. Now, looking ahead at the next season, the cast and creators are telling their fans they ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.