Whether you a Walking Dead fanatic or are new to the series (or have never sampled it all), you might want to set your television to AMC beginning Tuesday morning (December 30). Bright and early (9:00 a.m. ET), AMC will be starting its Walking Dead New Year’s Marathon. The marathon will cover all seasons, concluding January 3 with the most recent episodes of The Walking Dead.
If you have never watched the series–maybe you’re a zombie-phobe like me, I encourage you to give it a try anyway. I’d resisted for four-plus years, only relenting when a colleague assured me that the show wasn’t actually about zombies (well, not at its inner-core, anyway). He was right.
Yes, of course there are zombies, come to life through the incredible artistry of Greg Nicotero, whose zombies are made compelling because you see beyond the surface to the lost, sorrowful person behind the rotting flesh. But the series is at its absolute best in its reflective moments, the combing through emotions, relationship, grief, and fear that the series becomes compelling. It asks the provocative questions: How far do you go to ensure the safety of your family without losing your humanity (or is your own humanity even part of the equation when it comes to protecting those close to you)? What is the right thing to do? What parts of the social contract still apply when the world has gone to hell? Do you get to come back from having to do terrible things in the name of survival?
To me, the heart of the series is really about coping with loss, and, more importantly, hanging on to your humanity in the face of incredible horror. You can read that horror as the zombie apocalypse, or read the zombie apocalypse and the entire series as a metaphor for any number of real catastrophic events with which the world has been accosted.
In honor of the marathon, I’ll be posting new articles over the next few days, beginning with a look back at season one, and what has happened to each of the original characters over the course of the series: Rick, Lori, Glenn, Merle, Daryl, T-Dog, Carol, Sophia, Jim, Jacqui, and Dale. Some didn’t make it out of the first season; others still survive.
I’ve already posted a piece on season two, and one highlighting my favorite moments of 2014. But in the pipeline, I have retrospectives on season three, and character pieces on several key Walking Dead characters. In the meantime, AMC offers its own list of ways to get ready for The Walking Dead New Year‘s marathon, including lots of videos, interviews, quizzes, webisodes, fan games, and much more.
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The network invites you to follow The Walking Dead on Facebook and Twitter during the marathon to connect with the fan community. I’ll be Tweeting during the marathon (when I’m awake, anyway), so please follow me @B_Barnett. I’ll be using the hashtag #TWDMarathon.