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From the Editor: The Walking Dead Returns

By Cory Sekine-Pettite

walking dead productionIt’s October, which means (in my world) that AMC’s The Walking Dead returns for another season of compelling programming. Specifically, the show returns October 13 for Season 4, which promises to be just as good as the last three seasons. This unexpectedly successful show about a zombie apocalypse has become a pop culture phenomenon, spawning a talk show (AMC’s Talking Dead), video games and board games, a web-only series, a fan-produced podcast, and a convention.

One need not be a fan of the zombie genre to enjoy this show. In fact, I was not a fan of zombie movies prior to this series. However, the appeal of this show lies in the living characters and their relationships with each other as they try to survive. The show’s visual effects and makeup artistry also are quite appealing and are a big draw for many viewers. In 2011, Markee spoke with KNB EFX and Stargate Studios about their work for the show. (You can read this article on our website at http://bit.ly/1gzdMnT.)

As we reported, Greg Nicotero, a KNB EFX founding partner and executive producer, director, and special effects makeup artist on the show, calls the interplay of digital VFX and practical effects “a delicate ballet” but says “when people understand how to use each to maximum effect, you get the best results – a perfect blend of the two art forms.”

To me, this show is a perfect blend of feature film-quality effects and dramatic storytelling that only a lengthy TV series with the full support of a network could provide. There’s nothing else like it on television – that is, until this team (including show creator Robert Kirkman) reveal The Walking Dead spin-off series, which is scheduled to air on AMC sometime in 2015. (Details are scarce right now.)

“The biggest challenge for us was bringing such an ambitious world view to the TV audience,” Stargate Studios’ Jason Sperling told us in 2011. “Frank [Darabont] did an incredible storyboard for the pilot. We were able to give him mock-ups of what his shots might look like; that gained his trust and built our artistic relationship. Tonally and image-wise, the pilot really set the look and feel for the rest of the [first] season and, we hope, the rest of the series.”

Are you a fan of The Walking Dead? Let me know why you tune in each week and what you expect from Season 4.