Sometimes we really like a television series after watching it only a few times. Then, we find out that it is not a new series but has been on for several seasons with a lot of rich history between the characters. This happens a lot with AMC’s The Walking Dead. As a huge fan of the show, discussing it a lot with people in my living room and on the Internet as each season runs, I honestly cannot count the times people have come to the show in seasons four or later and then want to know what happened earlier. They almost always ask, “Does Netflix Have The Walking Dead?”
Netflix has been bringing us movies since 1991 when subscribers anxiously awaited the arrival of their signature red DVD envelopes in the mail. As our viewing methods and habits have changed, Netflix has met us every step of the way in technology and managing its movie and TV show collections, making thousands of titles and genres available.
Netflix has consistently worked toward sealing deals with the producers of our favorite films and TV shows to make the most popular streaming video content available to its global subscriber base. One of its most recent deals begins later this year when Netflix subscribers can begin to stream titles including Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, and more from Disney properties like Pixar and Lucasfilm.
In 2011, Netflix began a partnership with AMC that would be mutually beneficial to each of those companies and extremely so to their viewers. The concept of binge-watching went mainstream with AMC titles like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. New shows like Better Call Saul and Preacher are already planned to arrive on Netflix shortly after their seasons on AMC conclude.
I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters. – George A. Romero
The Walking Dead on AMC
AMC, perhaps appropriately, premiered its “zombie” series, The Walking Dead (TWD), on October 31, 2010 — Halloween. It is a zombie series that pays no homage to any zombie movie that came before it. A zombie show where the word “zombie” is never heard. Most of the time, the reanimated dead are called “walkers. ” They’ve also been labeled “biters,” “roamers,” “floaters,” “rotters,” and a few other things, but never, ever is the z-word used.
TWD has been a cable ratings success with its viewer numbers increasing with every season since its introduction. The viewers are in a demographic advertisers crave — 18 to 49 year olds — which makes TWD a profitable entry for AMC. Fans of TWD are true fanatics. The series has spawned two television shows (Fear the Walking Dead and Talking Dead), video games, Georgia tourism, and merchandise sales ranging from action figures to books to t-shirts featuring “Carol’s Cookies,” “Terminus BBQ,” “Hershel’s Farm,” and “Visit Beautiful Woodbury.”
Catching Up with TWD
Those phrases on the t-shirts mean little or nothing if you haven’t been watching the adventures of our heroes from the beginning. Fortunately, as a Netflix subscriber you can catch up on all previous seasons of TWD starting with the series’ pilot, “Days Gone Bye” through the last episode of Season 5, “Conquer.” Season 6 will probably arrive at the Netflix vault in late September, giving those of us who missed all or part of it a couple of weeks to catch up before the 7th season premieres on AMC in October 2016. If you are not yet a Netflix subscriber, you can sign up now for their 30-day free trial.
New viewers may wonder if they really have to start watching TWD all the way back to Season 1 to understand the series. The answer is, “Yes, you do.” Watch it on your smartphone, tablet, home computer, and of course, your television set but be sure to watch it all. Even many long-standing fans (true fanatics) of TWD go back to watch “Days Gone Bye” at least once a year.
Unless you watch that first episode, you can never really join or appreciate a discussion in the continuing debate on just how long Rick Grimes was in the hospital before waking up to meet his first walker. Another ongoing discussion from “Days Gone Bye” is about the little girl zombie and the teddy bear.
Here’s a quick look back at TWD season by season, pulling out some of the scenes you do not want to miss. There are no real spoilers, I promise.
In the rest of Season 1, you gain valuable background on how our fave group of characters found each other, how the walker apocalypse began, some facts about the walkers and how our heroes learn to deal with them. You meet the core group of characters: Glenn, Shane, Laurie, Dale, Carol, Merle, Daryl, Carl, and others. It is impossible to understand the loyalty and trust between Glenn and Rick, or Rick and Morgan, without Season 1. The first season also features the group’s visit to the CDC. Carl looks so young.
Continue on to Season 2 if you want to know about Hershel and his farm. You’ll also meet his daughters, Maggie and Beth, and witness the budding romance between Maggie and Glenn. This is the season when Rick reveals to the others what Dr. Jenner told him at the CDC, we meet the first “floater,” and Michonne makes her dramatic first appearance.
Season 3 introduces us to Woodbury and the Governor, and a baby is born. It is a difficult and dark season to watch — we see Rick starting to lose it and we lose several people dear to our hearts — but it is essential viewing if you want to understand how the characters developed into the heroes we cheer today.
What some viewers call the most gut-wrenching episode in all of TWD plays out in Season 4. Life at the abandoned prison is peaceful. Carol begins teaching the children and is later sent into exile. We meet Lizzie and her sister, Mika, along with Tyreese and his sister, Sasha. For most of Season 4, everyone is on the way to Terminus in separate small groups. Maggie and Glenn are separated, both wondering if the other is alive. The season closes with Rick saying, “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out … they’re (messing) with the wrong people.”
Season 5 opens with our heroes in peril. They all understand now why it’s very important to look for the comma in a sentence like, “Let’s eat, Grandpa!” Later, there is a touching reunion. We learn Beth’s fate and the truth about Eugene. The group settles safely in Alexandria under the capable leadership of Deanna, though resentment grows and by the end, explodes.
As said earlier, the most recent season of TWD comes to Netflix this fall, probably a couple of weeks before the start of Season 7 on AMC. In Season 6, Wolves attack Alexandria. We lose several of whom we are fond, and cries go out all over the Internet as it seems the walkers chomped on someone we’ve loved since “Days Gone Bye.” Later, our heroes meet a guy called “Jesus” and learn of Negan and the Saviors. In the last horrifying episode, Negan introduces Lucille.
The Season 6 cliffhanger is not a favorite with TWD fans. We were left wondering too much, like how many of our heroes will be lost to Lucille, if the others will be forever enslaved, how Maggie’s baby is doing, and worst of all, through whose eyes we witnessed the horrific and deadly bludgeoning.
Hopefully these little snippets had enough information to convince you that you cannot miss a single season of TWD if you want to more fully engage with what comes in the next season. There were no real spoilers, though the concept of a “spoiler” doesn’t really exist when it comes to TWD.
That’s because anyone who wants to know the broad strokes of what is coming next can check the comics. Knowing what’s up in the comics doesn’t mean you gain nothing from the series. Many people who read the comics long before TWD came to TV are among the series’ most die-hard fans, like those mentioned earlier who spend their vacations in rural Georgia and watch “Days Gone Bye” at least once a year.
The series does not follow the comics play-by-play — Daryl does not appear in the comics at all, for example — but most major plot devices are retained. That’s why most die-hard fans knew Lucille was coming and sat through all of Season 6 with such great dread, and a big part of the reason so many of us moaned when it seemed a walker got Glenn early in the season.
While people post a “spoiler alert” before getting into an online discussion of the week’s episode with others who have already watched it (in consideration of those who will watch a couple days later on their DVRs), it’s not as if what might come next is a total and absolute secret. Still, we don’t know what will happen each week, and there are always nuances of a scene or character that can be explored far better on television than it was in the comics, so it is nice of people to try to avoid posting spoiler material without warning.
Now that you know all this, when someone you know has recently discovered TWD and asks you, “Does Netflix Have The Walking Dead?” you can smile real big and say, “Yes, of course! Come on over and we’ll watch together. You’ll get cookies. Lots of cookies!”