Bob Mahoney photo of The Walking Dead cast © 2011 TWD Productions LLC.
The Walking Dead begins its 13-episode second season tonight at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Its character work — the hallmark of AMC's original series, thanks to brilliant contributions on both sides of the camera — makes Dead recommended viewing for anyone who can stomach the viscera and suspense-laden filmmaking that are endemic to a show set during a zombie apocalypse. You don't have to be a horror enthusiast to enjoy it, however, any more than you have to know or care about the advertising world or crystal meth to get hooked on the stellar storytelling in Mad Men or Breaking Bad. Sure, The Walking Dead is about survival in a world where a global outbreak has left living, breathing humans the minority amidst hordes of shambling corpses whose only instinct is to feast on fresh flesh and transfer their disease, but the emphasis is on the stark reality of our protagonists' existence.
For those who missed the 6-episode first season that debuted last Halloween, or just want to watch it again, AMC is airing it in order today starting at 2:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. CT). The 90-minute second-season premiere follows, repeating at 10:30, after which comes a live special discussing the show called Talking Dead. Extras including behind-the-scenes videos and six brief "webisodes" are available the above-linked site.