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8 Reasons to watch The Walking Dead

2011-10-17 14:52
When it first aired in 2010, The Walking Dead gave viewers an alternative to the vampire craze that had filled TV and film screens. After only six episodes, the series won over legions of fans, and it was nominated for an Emmy for Most Outstanding Drama series.

Mad Men may have taken that honour but the zombie-palooza isn't over. The series is back for a second season - this time double the run. It kicks off on Tuesday on Top TV's FX Channel, making South Africa the third country to air the series, after the US and Russia.

Here's whyThe Walking Dead's zombies kick other zombies' butts.

1. Blood, guts and gore
The Walking Dead
may have lost out on the Outstanding Drama Emmy award, but it won one for Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series. And for good reason. Greg Nicotero heads up the team responsible for this. The special effects makeup artist loves nothing more than to create blood, guts and gore. He's worked on dozens of films like Inglourious Basterds and The Chronicles of Narnia, and will go to great lengths to create the perfect zombie. "I sat with a notepad for the first season making notes on how I could make them look more decayed, more rotting. My zombies must be visually arresting," he says.

2. Zombies don't smile   
You won't see zombie extras posting pics on Facebook or Twitter. Nicotero is too much of a perfectionist to allow this. "Imagine Linda Blair from The Exorcist doing that. You're supposed to be scared. It loses its magic if you see the zombie smiling. We work very hard to make them scary and creepy, and most importantly, memorable," he says.

3. Zombie School
A lot of thought goes into choosing the perfect zombies. People with large eyes, a long face, high cheekbones and a small nose make the best extras, says Nicotero. That's to help with adding on prosthetics and the layers of makeup to create the right look, which usually takes about an hour and a half per zombie. Many of the extras also attend a real-life "Zombie School", to learn how to walk just like the dead.

4. The red pill or the blue pill?  
 According to IronE Singleton, who plays T-Dog, this season has changed location and that has upped the ante. "We've left the city setting of Atlanta and now gone to Hershel's farm. The different scenery has had a huge impact. The writers, I don't know if they took the blue pill or the red pill or what," he jokes, "but they've taken it to another level. It gives it more of a Wild Wild West/ Fistful of Dollars feel."

5. In a South African fashion...   
South African Eulyn Womble is the costume designer. Eulyn, from Cape Town, moved to the US six years ago, along with her husband who is a supervisor on the series. She was assisting on the first season, before heading up the department for the second season. "This is my dream job", she says. "I love how well-received this show is. I have so much fun dressing the zombies in general, but in this season there's a move to the farm so we'll see fewer ties and more dungarees, and you know, the 'ou vrou' with her little dress."

6. Fresh zombies 
The Walking Dead
creator Robert Kirkman is always writing new material. "If I'm not stressed out, I don't feel like I am living," he laughs. He wrote the first comic when he was 24, and he creates 4/5 different comic books a month (including TWD). "A hefty comic book workload is lots of fun for me."

7. Movie quality  
Each episode is filmed to look like a movie. As Nicotero puts it, "it’s all very cinematic. In the first season it was like we made six zombie movies, only we had eight days to make them each." Eulyn agrees that this is one of the aspects that helps make the series stand out.

8. D-R-A-M-A   
It's not just about the zombies. Sure, they're a big part of the show's thrills, but as executive producer Gale Ann Hurd likes to say, it's all about the drama at the heart of it. Directors in this season have been involved in other successful character-driven shows like Dexter, The Wire and Breaking Bad. Actor Steven Yuen, who plays Glen, says it's all about the people. "The zombies are fantastic and scary, but the real drama comes from the people and what they go through with each other."

The Walking Dead
season 2 starts on Top TV's Fox FX (channel 110) on Tuesday October 18 at 21:15. 

Watch the trailer here.

The second season of the zombie-apocalypse thriller is here. This is why you should tune in.
Read more on:    tv

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