The Walking Dead
Hit proof: AMC’s hit is currently the highest-rated drama on TV in the adults 18-49 demographic (a 7.2 rating including both repeats and DVR).
Why it shouldn’t work: Put away those machetes and cross-bows and hear me out! What’s cool about TWD might seem obvious. It’s easy to forget how low industry expectations were before it first premiered a couple years ago. And if you told a TV executive the current third season storyline, their expectations would have been even lower. TWD is totally grim, extremely gory, with a cast that looks pretty awful most of the time. Characters are getting rapidly killed off (including the likable non-Lori characters). Perhaps the most unconventional aspect is that nobody seems to have any real hope for a happy ending. Popular stories almost always tease viewers with a light at the end of the tunnel, even if the characters ultimately don’t survive. But on this show, things just keep getting worse, with no real expectation of improvement. It’s like watching people starve to death, plus zombies.
Why it does work: Because the show is so well done, extremely suspenseful and keeps us glued precisely because it breaks so many TV rules.
9 TV hits that should be flops
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The Walking Dead
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