The Walking Dead proved horror could be “pretty successful” on TV, says Greg Nicotero

The Walking Dead

Now that we're heading into the final season of The Walking Dead, some of the creators have been reflecting on the legacy of the TV series. Greg Nicotero, designer and director on the zombie show, believes a precedent was set when it became as popular as it is.

During our interview on season three of Creepshow on Shudder, Nicotero compares Creepshow setting a trend for anthology series to The Walking Dead's swift fandom. “When we launched our show, we were one of the first anthology horror shows, and now there’s a whole bunch,” he explained. “It kind of feels similar to the experiences of when The Walking Dead first came out, and then all of a sudden everybody went ‘Wait, horror can be pretty successful on television’.”

Indeed, when The Walking Dead premiered in 2010, there wasn't much horror on TV, nevermind stuff focused on the undead. Based on the comic of the same name created by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Tony Moore, it became an unprecedented success from the first season, setting the stage for the likes of American Horror Story, Hannibal, and a whole slew of other horrific programmes.

This isn’t necessarily new – sci-fi series The X-Files, and ’90s show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer are just two recent hits that helped push high-concept genre into the mainstream. But the difference is The Walking Dead has the sheen of prestige TV, with the requisite effects, gore, and lower episode count per season.

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Now that it’s bowing out, it leaves many great pieces of televisual horror in its wake. Black Mirror, Channel Zero, The Terror, The Returned, Black Summer, Stranger Things, Marianne, we’re spoiled for choice on shows and Netflix TV series. And that’s before mentioning Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond both carrying the franchise as spin-offs.

The Walking Dead season 11, featuring Nicotero as director on several episodes, and starring Norman Reedus and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, is currently airing on AMC. You can watch seasons one through nine, as well as Fear The Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond, on streaming service Amazon Prime. You can sign up for a free trial on Prime through our affiliate link here.

And if you’d like to watch Creepshow, which is currently available on shudder, you can sign up through our affiliate link for that here.

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Anthony McGlynn

Staff writer

Updated: Sep 27, 2021


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