Can Anything Stop ‘The Walking Dead’?

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead features a ragtag group of everyday nobodies struggling for survival against a seemingly unstoppable zombie hoard. Now, in its fifth season, the AMC juggernaut is the unstoppable force, and the rest of the networks are the ones struggling to fight them off.

As recently reported by Forbes, The Walking Dead recently beat the NFL in a head-to-head ratings battle on, something that had no one had accomplished in over five years. The game between Green Bay and Chicago on November 11 drew a 6.1 rating compared to 7.6 for The Walking Dead. This came on the heels of a similar defeat on November 4.

For the last several years, NBC has counted on the ratings pulled down by Sunday Night Football to keep the struggling network afloat. While defeats to the likes of The Walking Dead aren’t exactly harbingers of doom for NBC, it is somewhat surprising to see such a resounding defeat.

Of course, The Walking Dead is not the average show either. With a fan base akin to that of a popular sports team, AMC is currently riding the crest of a wave powered by fanaticism not seen since Lost went off the airwaves.

According to report by CNN, the state of Georgia has seen a noticeable uptick in tourism directly attributed to The Walking Dead. Fans can travel to Atlanta and take “Big Zombie” tours with Atlanta Movie Tours that take fans to many of the locations used in the show’s first season. The same company also provides a tour of the rural locations used in later seasons. Tours cost between $25 and $60 and are part of a booming new industry pumping tens of thousands of dollars into Georgia’s economy each year.

Beyond the fans though, critics have finally joined the party. While always claiming a rabid fan base, The Walking Dead has found a more tepid response from critics. Metacritic has shown critic scores drop consistently from seasons one through four. That may be changing with the most recent season though.

Grantland recently sang the praises of Season 5, arguing the show may have turned the corner from good to great. The Boston Herald was similarly ecstatic about the twists and turns of the Season 5 premier.

The Walking Dead has maintained a stranglehold at the top of the scripted television pecking order. Now the dead are even taking out the once untouchable NFL. Is there a show out there capable of knocking off Sheriff Grimes and Company? Or will The Walking Dead continue its undead march across the television landscape?

[Photo courtesy of AMC]