While it’s no secret that ratings for The Walking Dead have slipped, the AMC series still brings in numbers that other cable shows can only dream of. But if you’re someone who hasn’t watched in years, this may be the season to jump back in. I realize that’s an odd thing to say about a show entering its ninth season, but it’s not like starting the Friday the 13th franchise with Jason Lives; new showrunner Angela Kang is embracing a back-to-basics approach that makes tuning in again easy. Plus, with Andrew Lincoln exiting, it’s like The Walking Dead is undergoing a soft reboot. There’s even a new opening!
Sometimes shaking up the status quo is the best approach. That much was evident during a recent set visit, where director/makeup guru Greg Nicotero told UPROXX that his goal this season was to make The Walking Dead great again.
“This season’s all really been about going back to what made The Walking Dead great when we first started watching the show. I felt like it’s very much back to the DNA that we love. The first episode, y’know, all the scenes that I shot… they’re all isolated; there’s nobody else in those frames,” he said. “I wanted you to be leaning in and listening to everything that they’re saying. They have real conversations, conversations that you give a sh*t about. ‘That’s what Rick is feeling! That’s what Daryl is feeling!’ They’re actually talking, and it’s the first time that we’ve done that in a long time, where there are not those ellipses of dot dot dot, and you leave it hanging out there. ‘I don’t know what’s going to come after.’ I’m like, ‘After what?’ Now we’re getting the chance to see these people interact with each other, and they care about each other. I loved it.”
Nicotero compares season nine to season two, and yes, he knows the reputation that batch of episodes has.
“Everyone’s always like, ‘Season two, it’s really boring, Hershel’s farm,’ and I’m like, ‘F*ck you guys.’ Season two is when we fell in love with Daryl! That’s when we fell in love with Carol! Because we took the time,” Nicotero said.
The Walking Dead returns this Sunday, October 7.