Season 4 of AMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead is easily the best in the show’s history, especially the eight episodes that comprise the second half (okay, the first seven of those, I wasn’t super impressed by season finale, at least not until the very end). I give a lot of this credit, rightly or wrongly, to new showrunner Scott Gimple—these episodes in particular, and their narrative approach, bear the trademarks of those he wrote before landing this gig—and I’m more excited and interested in seeing what happens to these characters than I’ve ever been.
Moving into season 5, which debuts this Sunday, October 12, the producers are saying all of the right things, so it doesn’t appear that these strides forward are a fluke, or that the show will fall back into the mundane and tedious digressions and needlessly elongated story arcs that have plagued it since the beginning. That said, we have some idea of what the show needs to do moving forward in order to continue to be successful in the future. It’s been said they have loose plans out to a 12th season, but we’re not looking that far ahead. We’re just thinking about what the The Walking Dead needs to do in season 5 to continue to make this a show we want to watch, not just begrudgingly tune into because we love the comics and have a swarm of zombies tattooed up our arms.