TV review: "The Walking Dead" is getting better

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

“The Walking Dead” may be the most popular drama on television, but that doesn’t make it the best. In fact, that populous distinction is usually a sign of a bad TV show (i.e. “The Big Bang Theory”).

So “The Walking Dead” is a cultural phenomenon — who doesn’t love zombie killing? — but it’s hardly been a great, or even good, show. Here’s the thing, though: Since Scott Gimple took over as showrunner, the series has gotten slowly, progressively better.

Last season took time to develop characters, even if it was too-little, too-late for some viewers who’d given up on Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Co. And the action-gore was still fun, gross and prevalent. Basically, the show — once we finally got rid of the tiresome Governor — got better(ish).

It’s safe to presume “The Walking Dead” will never live up to its potential. But if it can rely on what it does best (action, horror and suspense) and forgo its deplorable aspects — STOP using children in an exploitative manner — it can surely be entertaining. And that’s exactly what the Season 5 premiere is.

Following last season’s cliffhanger in the train car of Terminus, we see our group of merry badasses gearing up for a last stand. It doesn’t take long before the action gets ratcheted up with blood, guts and zombies everywhere. (There are still some groan-inducing plot mechanisms, but it’s easy to forget when blood is spewing from a jugular.)

This is (another) strong opening for what will probably turn into a weak, meandering season of “The Walking Dead.” I hope not, because I want this to be a good show, and the open-ended result in the premiere’s conclusion may turn out interesting. Or not, and “The Walking Dead” just goes back to bad habits.

Photo courtesy AMC

"The Walking Dead"

9 p.m. Sundays on AMC

2.5 stars