AMC’s The Walking Dead is shuffling towards season 5, which is sure to be another year of monster ratings. Though we’ve been hot and cold on the show over the years, the last half of season 4 was the best the hit zombie drama has ever been, and more than enough to get us as excited than we’ve been about the series since before it premiered in 2010. Just in cast you forgot, or let the show slip from the forefront of your mind, they’re back with a new trailer to remind you.
We’ve had a bunch of quick, ten or eleven second teasers lately that are more tone than content, and this video stitches some of those together, with a bit of new footage thrown in to keep things interesting. If nothing else, this is like a full minute of zombies blowing up (this explosion already looks better than the last one, in the final episode of season 1, which honestly wasn’t so hot) and sloganeering for zombie apocalypse survival. Seriously, can’t you imagine phrases like “Hunt or be hunted,” “It’s not over until we’re dead,” or “Never let your guard down” spray-painted on a bunker wall somewhere, like a kind of post-apocalyptic motivational poster (I can’t help but think of the kitten dangling from a branch with “Hang on” written over it).
Aside from that, one thing this teaser does well is give you a feel for what’s in store. First up, there’s a lot of action, which is something of a double-edged sword in regards to The Walking Dead. When the show focuses more on the characters, developing them and telling their stories, that’s when it is the strongest. When action takes center stage, it’s often less compelling. During the final eight episodes of season 4, the weakest part, at least for me anyway, was the last half of the last episode, largely because they moved away from character work and brought mediocre action to the forefront. Then again, this is a trailer, and it’s easier to convey activity and movement in a minute than tease these characters growing as individuals. I just hope they don’t stray too far from what made those recent episodes so good.
The second thing this trailer does is actually a bit of a spoiler. Season 4 ended on such a cliffhanger, with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and most of the survivors trapped in a train car in Terminus. From the footage shown here, it’s obvious that most of them make it out of there relatively unscathed, or at the very least, still alive. You don’t see everyone, so it’s possible not everyone makes it (one major death has already been teased), but the bulk of them survive, for now anyway.
It’s possible that the Terminus arc simply doesn’t take up all that much time in the grand scheme of things, and could be a launching pad to further adventures (which is certainly looks like they’re going to have). Thus far, the show has been loosely following the plot of Robert Kirkman’s comics that serve as the source material—the details are different, but the big structural points have generally been the same—and around this time on the printed page they have an encounter that appears similar to this (when the come into contact with “The Hunters”), at least on the surface. It’s a tense, harrowing, dangerous bit, but not one that is particularly drawn out. What it does, is cement some of the changes in these characters, and show the hardness and lengths that they’re willing to go to in order to survive, which is something the series could use.
We’ll have to wait and see to be sure, but we don’t have all that much longer, as The Walking Dead returns to your TV on Sunday, October 12.