Catch up on The Walking Dead

You can now watch all eight seasons on demand! Here’s why you need to see the biggest show on TV

Even its makers only expected it to become a cult favourite, but instead it’s walked off with the status of a world-conquering hit

Find The Walking Dead seasons 1-8 in On Demand > Box Sets, or buy now on the Virgin Media Store in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Media Store

Set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, The Walking Dead follows a ragtag group of desperate humans as they attempt to evade the hungry hordes of “walkers” (other survivors of the unknown disaster that caused the dead to rise) and, on more than one occasion, each other.

 

The ninth season – which promises major changes – starts next week, but don’t despair if you’ve missed a few episodes along the way, or even if you’re yet to check out the biggest show ever to hit US cable TV.

 

Here are eight reasons you need to watch the eight seasons so far…

1. The story grips you from the start

The world has ended, but life goes on. Cop Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes from a coma in the first episode and discovers that a plague has transformed most of the populace into flesh-eating zombies. He makes contact with fellow survivors, learning that his wife and son have miraculously escaped, and then spends eight seasons of wildly entertaining telly looking for a permanent place of safety.

 

2. The cast are top-notch

Lincoln was still known to many as “Egg from This Life” or “him from Love Actually” before this, but now Rick will forever be his signature role. He does extraordinary work as a good man forced to cross his own moral lines to survive. Aside from Lincoln, the cast was a major stepping stone for future stars like Jon Bernthal (The Punisher) and Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery), with a whole heap of other meaty roles for the hardy band of survivors.

 

3. The death toll, however, is stratospheric

Here’s the thing that you learn quite quickly: no one is safe. Saintly old geezers and manly heroes are not the only ones who can fall prey to the zombie menace here. Women and children are as likely to die violently on The Walking Dead as anyone else, and disease or tragic accident could get you even if the undead don’t. It keeps the viewers continually on edge because anyone could go. At any time.

 

4. Daryl is about to be your new favourite character

Not long after Norman Reedus’ crossbow-toting Daryl joined the main cast in season 2, you could see fans wearing T-shirts that read, “If Daryl dies, we riot”. Aggressive, honest and highly lethal, Daryl’s a loyal friend, a deadly enemy and a magnetic screen presence. He may just eclipse Rick himself as the most popular and likeable member of the cast.

 

5. Wait, no, Michonne is going to be your favourite


OK, wait, it’s a toss-up. Michonne first appears armed with a samurai sword, awesomely leading two armless zombies around on chains, and soon proves this isn’t just for show with exploits demonstrating how tough, smart and strong she is. It also helps that she’s played by the great Danai Gurira (Black Panther’s Okoye) with emotional delicacy and huge helpings of attitude.

 

6. It’s terrifying

Never mind that it’s inherently scary to think about a world where most people are shuffling corpses and survivors have to struggle amid the flesh-hungry hordes. This is also proper, horror-movie scary, with brilliantly conceived shocks, slow-building tension and grotesque special effects. Best to cover the eyes of any sensitive pets.

 

7. It has the best bad guys


If there’s a moral to the story of The Walking Dead, it’s that the greatest threats come from the living humans and not the monsters. The series has had a succession of memorable, dangerous antagonists who range from well-meaning to completely psychotic. Look out in particular for David Morrissey’s Governor and Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s terrifying Negan (pictured above).

 

8. Surprises are guaranteed

The show is based on a still-running series of (brilliant) comic books by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, but it doesn’t slavishly follow their story. Some current comic-book characters are long dead on TV, and vice versa, and some appear only in one medium. The show takes, at most, inspiration from plot points in the books, so even your smug comic-book-geek mate can’t spoil what’s coming. As long as you take advantage of this Box Set opportunity and watch all eight seasons now.

 

Find The Walking Dead seasons 1-8 in On Demand > Box Sets, or buy now on the Virgin Media Store in On Demand > Movies > Virgin Media Store


Not heard about the Virgin Media Store?

It’s the place where you can buy the latest and greatest movies and TV Box Sets, yours to watch again and again, at home or on the go. Sign up now at virginmediastore.com, choose from hundreds of films and TV Box Sets and start watching instantly. 

 

Enjoy your purchases on your Virgin TV Box (TiVo®/V6), online, or on your registered iOS and Android devices with the Virgin Media Store app. 

 

Show me the latest releases on the Virgin Media Store.

On Demand: Content available to view depends on TV package. Time limits apply for viewing chargeable On Demand content – see virginmedia.com. Once purchased, all chargeable On Demand content must be viewed within 48 hours. Premium channels and upgrades must be kept for at least 30 days.

Virgin Media Store: Separate terms and conditions apply to the Virgin Media Store service. DVD included for movie purchases only. Purchases must be made on the website or set top box. Virgin TV subscription and our latest Virgin TV V6 box required to buy and watch via set top box – Store is not available on other boxes. Compatible device & browser required. Max 5 registered devices. Max 2 devices can stream content simultaneously. Stream and download in UK only (or while temporarily in the EU).

Image credits: The Walking Dead © Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC