The Walking Dead has been named one of the seven most influential television shows of the decade by TV Guide. As the 2010s come to a close, a reflective TV Guide credits American Horror Story with invoking the anthology, Making a Murderer for reigniting true crime passions and Game of Thrones for proving television can sustain big-budgeted genre shows. Its list credits House of Cards for ushering in the era of streaming TV, Arrow for reshaping small screen, live-action superhero TV with its shared universe, and Girls for giving a voice to a generation of millennials.
Once the biggest show on television, The Walking Dead broke records when its Season 5 premiere, “No Sanctuary,” became the most-watched episode in cable history.
TV Guide notes comic book properties were translated for television in the wake of the hit adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comic book — AMC’s own Preacher, Kirkman’s Outcast, as well as zombie-slash-horror shows such as Z Nation, The Strain and Black Summer — but TWD’s greatest impact, TV Guide writes, was on the franchise.
The mothership series, now airing its tenth season on AMC, was followed by spinoff Fear the Walking Dead in 2015. Another still-untitled third series is now in the works for a spring 2020 premiere on the network, and, most impressively, TWD spawned its own live aftershow Talking Dead, which sometimes reconvenes for episodes of Fear. Talking Dead proved so successful the post-show spawned its own spinoffs, inspiring Breaking Bad’s Talking Bad, Better Call Saul’s Talking Saul, Preacher’s Talking Preacher and Chris Hardwick chat show Talking with Chris Hardwick.
TWD has become “its own entity” since premiering in 2010, TV Guide adds, noting the elevation of former showrunner Scott Gimple to the role of chief content officer for TWD brand has created “a corporate structure within a single franchise.”
Labelled The Walking Dead Universe, the franchise now includes three anchoring television series and a planned trilogy of movies led by Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes. Gimple has also revealed plans for future TWD miniseries, specials and other shorter length series to further build out the universe.
Between its three Walking Dead series, there will only be 10 weeks in 2020 where AMC is not airing TWD content. The other 42 Sundays in 2020 belong to the Dead. “That’s a consistency that’s not happened before,” AMC chief operating officer Ed Carroll said during an October conference call.
“I think, even as a consumer, I’ll just say because we want that stuff. We’re consuming things very differently. Everybody essentially has their own video store now,” Gimple recently told The Hollywood Reporter when asked why television is more and more turning to the shared universe model like Marvel or Star Wars.
“You’ve got the Marvel video store, and the Star Wars video store, and all of these places where you can go in and you have an idea of the type of thing you would get — hopefully there’s a lot of variety — and it gives people sort of a deep library to go into,” Gimple said. “And they might not go into it immediately, it’s something that they can go into. It’s something that they essentially own now, through the streaming services. It’s nice to have all those books on the shelf, all those videos on the shelf, and be able to pull them down when you want.”
Gimple previously promised a major 2020 when TWD ushers in its second decade.
New episodes of The Walking Dead Season 10 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.