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If you're alive, heck even if you're dead, there's a good chance that you watched the Season 4 premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead. We all knew Season 4 would debut huge, but the numbers released today are still impressive: 16.1 million viewers watched the zombie drama *BOING eyeballs pop out of sockets*, crushing the series' previous personal best and reasserting itself as television's biggest scripted series, cable or otherwise. Also, it seems that the further you are from dying, the more likely it is that you watched: The 18-49-year-old audience for the premiere was 10.4 million viewers, an absolutely ridiculous number. 

The Walking Dead's previous best belongs to the Season 3 finale, which drew 12.4 million viewers and 8.1 million 18-49ers. Considered a super smash back then, last night's stats make us wonder just how far this cable show can go. We're no longer comparing The Walking Dead to scripted shows from major networks, we're now comparing it to primetime NFL games; early numbers for NBC's Sunday-night airing of the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins game have it at around 19.65 million total viewers, and in its press release, AMC says The Walking Dead outperformed football in the important 18-49 demo. Wow. Plus, the network expects DVR and on-demand viewing to push the premiere to more than 20 million total viewers. 

The Walking Dead picked a great time to draw its biggest audience, too. "30 Days Without an Accident" was a revitalized effort from the unsteady show, thanks in large part to new showrunner Scott Gimple. I don't know about you, but I thought it was awesome and I really hope it continues to improve. And please kill all those new bratty little girls!


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/3/2016

Season 6 : Episode 16

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You know what I just figured out? The "so happy I'm crying" zombie from the picture above died from the same illness that killed Patrick.

The carrier might be someone working on the fence rather than the food or farm animals.
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Wow am offically impressed The ratings have coem a lonnng way from Season 1.
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Cable television is where the best shows are now a days due to the antiquated standards that hinder and restrict network television. Is Walking Dead was on a network it most likely would be the highest rated show, but then so would Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and so many others
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This is why i say dont get rid of a tv show that has 1 million shows or less because it will progress
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The walking dead is so good that every time they don't have new episodes airing it seems that more and more new viewers realize that it's a fucking great show and bench watch it. The strength of word of mouth!
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Ageist networks. NCIS gets over 20 million viewers every week like its no big deal.
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NCIS is also on a Broadcast network, not cable.
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Not surprised. I'd say this is probably one of the best episodes ever.
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30 days without an incident, after the last 3 seasons that was worth watching even if we didn't make it to 31.
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still, people didn't know about it before planning to sit for the premiere, right?
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@safibwana: You are entirely right. I'll add that the "rationale" for hyping 18-49 was just the need to hype FOX's ratings when it started and the game continued when NBC started losing its audience but wanted to still pretend it was doing great.

There has never been a real rationale for a car company, for instance, to overpay for people who can't afford their product (car buyers' median age is 51).

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i can't claim credit, I just googled like prometheus said, and posted the quote and link.
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It is so sad that AC still hypes ageist spin numbers now that they have a real hit.

Advertisers pay for pairs of eyes, not demo numbers. I realize they don't want to come out and say they were full of it before, but at least they could just bask in their real honest-to-goodness hit without trying to still spin something that does need to be.
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Advertisers pay for the right pairs of eyes for their products. If you're selling retirement plans, you might want to do it during other shows than TWD. Age groups are important.
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the premiere of the season 4 of the walking dead had better ratings than the finale of Breaking Bad ? crazy world ...

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Breaking Bad's finale was still huge.
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Indeed. Remember the walking dead has a comic fan base and a zombie fan base that breaking bad never had. Higher ratings isn't about quality of show just number of viewers.
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I haven't watched it, or been tempted to watch it yet. I'm kind of dreading it, because of the boring seasons.
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I am like you. I stopped watching it halfway through Season one (was bored and put off by the racial stereotyping) and I am tempted by haven't mustered the interest.
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I think the numbers are in relation to the fact that its on cable and drawing outstanding numbers as opposed to others of it kind as well as most network shows, (not all but most).
I'm just hoping they don't screw this season up.
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The networks would kill for something with 16 million viewers and the growth it has had.

The last hit on the networks was The Mentalist six years ago.
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Exactly.
Especially because it also proves viewership is still growing. From the 10mil opening last season to 16mil for a the next is huge as well as gaining an extra 4million over hiatus.
And in it's FOURTH season no less.
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I just think 16 million people wanted to see Daryl.
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I couldn't agree more! :)
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I guess I am confused, and maybe it's just hyperbole, but how can the Walking dead be the "biggest" scripted series with only 16 million viewers? NCIS and Big Bang Theory regularly beat that, right? So do we mean "biggest scripted genre series" or something similarly qualified?
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Its the 10 millions on the key demo methinks.
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TV.com have confused the issue a bit here - it is apparently the highest rated, which is quite different to highest viewers.
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For total viewers Big Bang Theory is bigger. But what matters in advertising is the ages 18-49 demographic, of which Walking Dead has a much higher amount than any other scripted show on television.
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That's because AMC can't be content with having a real hit and the highest-rated scripted series on cable. Out of habit it feels compelled to pretend it's more and uses demo numbers to try and spin the show into something it's not.

It's really sad...
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The demo for Big Bang's premiere was 6.1. Walking Dead's was 10.4. Walking Dead wins, and can charge more for its advertising than Big Bang.
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Thank you! That's what I was wondering, but the article very clearly glossed over this. Shocked at the 10.4 demo that Walking Dead gets, but I guess people just like to see zombies do anything at all these days...
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That's quite a few gore-horny people. But I thought NCIS regularly draws 20 million...?
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I might be wrong about this, but, you need to pay to see AMC, right? While the NCIS is in a "free" network (CBS)? Wouldn't that make a very big difference?
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It does. But don't tell that to AMC's PR people. They're so used to hype flops that they don't know how to act when you have a hit.
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Anyone over 49 "doesn't count" towards the ratings they use to set prices for advertisers. NCIS' last rating was 2.7; WD crushed it in the viewers that count.
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Ah, thanks.
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I don't know why I'm still shocked by these broken records. Anything TWD with a 'premiere' or 'finale' tacked onto it basically destroys the ratings.
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I guess that's why AMC adds premiere to the bottom of every single episode when it airs. Ridiculous .
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Wow!! Congrats, TWD!!
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It was definitely a good start to the season. I just hope the quality of the following episodes mirrors or betters the quality of the first episode. I figured it would get huge ratings but not that high. That is pretty impressive.
And I agree Tim. Kill those bratty girls very very soon. Hopefully zombie Patrick snacks on them next week...
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Personally, I like living in an era where a show about the Zompocalypse is so widely accepted. It's a double edged sword though. 99 times out of a hundred, massive popularity leads to running a good thing to death in order to milk as much revenue from it as possible.

Most of the time, less is more, but hey! What can ya do? ::shrug::
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Soon, there will be movies about zombies in love. Oh, wait...
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Heh! Seen it on a whim & can never unsee it again

Just wait until the CW jumps on the bandwagon & we get really hot highschool zombies that drink alot to curb their appetite for brains
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They would have to fatten up the skinny chicks the CW casts to get them looking like zombies though. :)
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Throw in an angel and a shirtless werewolf and I am so there.
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Holy shit. Those numbers are insane! I think that even if all new shows from AMC are more like Low Winter Sun than Breaking Bad, Mad Men or The Walking Dead, the network could probably survive on TWD on its own...
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Breaking Bad was a flop except for the last few episodes that were buoyed by AMC spending unprecedented amounts of money (probably from The Walking Dead ad sales).

Mad Men was and is a flop (AMC will probably try to to a Breaking Bad for its last few episodes to justify wasting all that money on it).

In other words, AMC has one hit. It's great. It's more than most channels (NBC would kill for a real hit), but let's not overhype this more than it is.
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If it was a flop, AMC would have never kept renewing it. It didn't do gangbuster numbers, but it justified its stay. Breaking Bad doubled its audience in season 4 and the final season shot up because of the word of mouth about its quality.
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I'm aware of Mad Men and Breaking Bad's numbers, I was referring more to their quality...
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One of the reasons I guess is the show does appeal to many people from a wide range of age group. I missed the season 1 as I am not one of those into Zombies show. I actually literately skipped most Zombies movies. It was good word of mouth from friends and the internet plus the fact that season 1 was only 7 episodes that got me started. After watching the 1st season,there was no stopping our family.

Now I am considering AHS, again we don't watch horror but again AHS has very good word of mouth and reviews.
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Wow. I just hope the new season will improve the show for my taste... I am going to watch the first episode right now.
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Big Bang still kicked its ass.
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Nope. The 18-49 demo is the only relevant number here. TWD is the highest rated show on tv right now pulling numbers comparable to the first seasons of Greys Anatomy, Lost, Desperate Housewives etc. Unlike those shows,TWD numbers are growing steadily each season with no sign of slowing down.
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Prometheus, you have been spun. Advertisers as a group buy overall audience.

Again, shame that AMC chooses to be ageist even in the face of a real hit.
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Please TV.com write a nice article explaining ratings and how they work because there seem to be a lot of confusion about the topic. I understant the compulsion to be in denial about a mediocre show like TWD being such a ratings hit but please stop denying facts(yes safibwana I am talking to you to). First of all AMC is not ageist. The 18-49 standard applies to the whole TV spectrum. As safibwana pointed out this might no longer apply in today's economic reality, but advertisers still use it so it is still very relevant. Also RenaMoretti said about 18-49 being a PR spin. Sorry to break your bubble but the PR spin works the other way round. Total numbers are used to ''spin'' a show's popularity simply because most people understand numbers like 20 milion total viewers better then say an 8.2 in A18-49. Here is a site where people can get informed about ratings http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/demystifying-the-s/
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All that means is that more people between the ages of 18-49 were watching, but in total TWD was behind TBBT, which was the point of my first post.
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TV By the Numbers is like the Wikipedia of television ratings and people should consult it before speaking on the subject. Very good explanation.
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18-49 is the only relevant number? Is everybody else dead? 20 million is more than 16 million.
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You are right Yaspaa. Congratulations for not falling for the PR spin. :)
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PR spin? Advertisers are trying to target 18-49yos. < 18 don't have money; >49 start spending less of it. The price advertisers pay are set by C+3 commercial ratings for 18-49yos. Period.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2013/10/13/network-pr-jedi-mind-tricks-live3-day-live7-day-ratings-and-your-favorite-shows-future-2/207397/
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Thank you for that exceptional mathematical insight. Now let me spell out for you why 18-49 is something to keep in mind. BTW a google search is just as effective. Apparently old people don't matter to companies who decide to have their products advertised on television. The amount of money a network makes on advertizing is directly linked to that 18-49 demo. Simply put a show is worth more if young people watch.
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>Who cares what the bigwigs think? TBBT has more overall
>viewers, domestic and worldwide, a wider fan base, and if
>you think TWD is worth more $, you're seriously
>misguided

You folks are seriously misguided. Networks charge based on monopoly Nielson's C+3 commercial ratings. Period. They'd LIKE to charge for total viewers, web views, etc., but that's not the way the industry works right now.

>This is, simply put, false.

And your source is what, exactly? Why don't you explain to us how networks charge for their advertising?

>It is repeated all the time, but that doesn't make it right.

Just like evolution and the age of the earth and 2+2 = 4? :-) It's repeated, because that's the answer of how networks charge for their advertising.

>Think about it for a moment (why would drug companies
>overpay for people who don't need their drugs?) and
>you'll get it I'm sure. :)

Get what? The networks can't /don't charge every single customer a separate rate depending on exactly who they want to target. They have one price, so it's based on the 18-49 average ratings determined during a few "sweeps weeks".
More +
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This is, simply put, false.

It is repeated all the time, but that doesn't make it right.

Think about it for a moment (why would drug companies overpay for people who don't need their drugs?) and you'll get it I'm sure. :)
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"The value of the18-49 demo was based on assumptions that are no longer true:
1. Eighteen-year-olds were entering the work force in large numbers.
2. Most 50-year-olds were empty nesters easing toward retirement.
3. Most of us over 50 were completely locked into our brand choices.
Here's the new reality:
1. Most 18-25-year-olds now have minimal money to spend, as even college graduates have trouble finding jobs and are frequently saddled with loan repayments.
2. Many families have kids living at home while parents are well into their 50s.
3. Changing lifestyles, a reduction in brand loyalty, rapid new product development and economic hardship have eroded brand loyalty at any age."

http://news.dssimon.com/in-the-news/marketersmoronicloveaffair.print
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Who cares what the bigwigs think? TBBT has more overall viewers, domestic and worldwide, a wider fan base, and if you think TWD is worth more $, you're seriously misguided.
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I guess 16.1 million people can be wrong.
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Wow! Congrats to AMC and the Walking Dead crew!
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I really enjoy The Walking Dead, and I'm glad its having all of this success, but at some point it has drop, right? I mean this is just getting insane.
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I'll never understand why this show draws so many more viewers than Breaking Bad or even Mad Men. The qualities aren't even comparable
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Much less people want to watch a show about meth dealers or lecherous drunken advertisers in the past. No appeal. We look to tv for things we can't see somewhere else. And thus, people want to watch zombies, angels and shirtless werewolves.
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I'd say young audiences are drawn to zombies, katana girls and crossbow experts like Daryl, which is why Revolution only focussed on those, but to capture a broad demographic the show needs characters that actually caught our attention, and a pace that allows us to invest in those characters before something bad happens to them.

Where shirtless werewolves and vampires hit towns filled with caucasian teenagers with no parents, these zombies are actually fought by elders, spinsters and minorities aside the archetypical hero. It's not survival of the fittest, but a completely random massacre that makes the audience relate to Merle and Morgan better than it would to Bella Swan.
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The walking dead has at least two huge fan bases pushing the numbers. The fans of the comic and those fans of all things zombies I'm not even including the horror fan or the gore fan. Breaking bad and the first seasons of mad men have superior quality. But shows with highest ratings don't usually equate to highest quality shows. It just means the show is popular. Ratings for jersey shore and honey boo boo were high for their respective networks.... Just saying.
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Zeitgeist
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Generally, I assume it's because of the subject matter. Watching people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse seems more universal (despite it not being a "real" thing) than an old dude who gets cancer and turns to making drugs. The premise itself just seems more fun, doesn't it?
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If that were the case, then Revolution should've had better ratings because it focusses on the fun side of a post-apocalyptic world, yet it didn't.

To me, this says its a broad demographic: the Daryls, the Shashas, the Patricks, all the characters that other shows just do not bother with.
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Nanobots draining the power out of things isn't very accessible. And for those to whom it is very accessible, they realize it is hokum.
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Agreed. Zombies are easy to understand, where a complicated basis leads to tuning out.
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Zombies are very accessible. Almost universally so. Like vampires. Men and women. Old and young. Cultures across the world.
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As opposed to zombies which are so very realistic and accessible...
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I believe it's because it doesn't appeal to just one demographic, the cast is so versatile with characters that other shows wouldn't even bother with such as Carol, Hershel, Maggie & Glenn, Morgan or the children.

Traditional archetypes like Rick have atypical arcs that keep things fresh and unpredictable, tragedies are as random as Lori or Sophia, new characters like Tyreese or Michonne have something to contribute, Carl has a dramatic purpose other than being the cute kid of one of the leads, etc.
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We can add a lot of shows to that list. The reason I think The Walking Dead is so successful is because people love to see groups of people join together, try to survive and fight the odds.

Look at the success Lost had. Granted, it was a tremendous show, but I believe a lot of people were first drawn in by the fact that it was a group of people trying to survive. The Walking Dead has that same quality added with a lot of fast-paced, bloody action scenes and zombies.

Mad Men has a reputation of being a slower moving show, and Breaking Bad took its time setting up a story as well. Those features can lead to excellent shows/stories, which both shows have, but it doesn't always equal viewers.
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People who are into Mad Men and Breaking Bad like me might still enjoyed The Walking Dead. Some others who are into The Walking Dead might fall asleep watching Mad Men. My wife is one of them
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Quantity doesn't follow quality. Oscar winners will never be summer blockbusters. Same goes in all genres, books, tv, film. TWD is good entertainment and the masses follow.
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To be fair, it can be argued that Oscars & Emmys are less about quality & more about popularity given the lobbying that goes on for those awards. Seems to me that many times, bones are occasionally thrown to movies & shows that are under the radar & truly deserve them in order to maintain the illusion of credibility.
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I was just using the Oscars as an example for what is considered to be of a higher standard than an action flick. The question wasn't the merit of awards (I personally don't buy into the Oscars or Emmys etc), but why the TWD gets such high viewing compared to shows that are better quality. My point is that most people want entertainment, not high concept, theme exploring tv shows. When TWD gets it right it is excellent, it has tension, drama, gore, cool fights, and relationship drama. It's a show men and women can enjoy together, and it has talking points.
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You got it right Marburg.

Hollywood awards are essentially up for sale, with the caveat that the Academy has to "feel good' about what you're selling, so low-rated low-quality feels "highbrow" if it is backed by an ad campaign...
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That being said, there are some Oscar winners that are just, ugh.
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The Return of the King won best picture, was a blockbuster and quality.
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Do you watch the show?
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I do and I don't think its a bad show by any means. I think I'm just confused that the show continues to draw more people despite the fact that I think most of us can agree that it hasn't improved in quality or anything like that. And my current favorite show is Sons of Anarchy so Walking Dead is I'm not just into slow shows like Mad Men & BB
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Not sure why people think breaking bad was a "slow " show. I would argue that the second season of walking dead was slower than any season of breaking bad. Sons of anarchy is an excellent show. Kudos to you for sticking up for quality shows. Too many robots out there supporting brainless shows like Marvel agents of shield or the following.
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Nobody is into slow shows like Mad Men. That's why it's a ratings flop that critics love to chide you about not watching.
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