The Walking Dead Live: Essays on the Television Show by Dr. Philip Simpson and Marcus Mallard

Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Genre: Popular Culture Academic Criticism

Pages: 228

In 2010, The Walking Dead premiered on AMC and has since become the most watched scripted program in the history of basic cable. Based on the graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead provides a stark, metaphoric preview of what the end of civilization might look like: the collapse of infrastructure and central government, savage tribal anarchy, and purposeless hordes of the wandering wounded. While the representation of zombies has been a staple of the horror genre for more than half a century, the unprecedented popularity ofThe Walking Dead reflects an increased identification with uncertain times.

In The Walking Dead Live! Essays on the Television Show, Philip L. Simpson and Marcus Mallard have compiled essays that examine the show as a cultural text. Contributors to this volume consider how the show engages with our own social practices—from theology and leadership to gender, race, and politics—as well as how the show reflects matters of masculinity, memory, and survivor’s guilt.

As a product of anxious times, The Walking Dead gives the audience an idea of what the future may hold and what popular interest in the zombie genre means. Providing insight into the broader significance of the zombie apocalypse story, The Walking Dead Live! will be of interest to scholars of sociology, cultural history, and television, as well as to fans of the show.

Phil’s notes:

The book is an anthology consisting of an introduction and ten chapters. Each chapter is written by different individual scholars. Topics range from the place of the series in American cultural history, the changes in the series from its comic book origins to a top-rated cable TV series with millions of viewers, the theology of Dante’s Inferno as it applies to the series, leadership lessons and failures of the main characters, the influence of Gothic literature on the show’s spin-off series Fear the Walking Dead, Holocaust survivor trauma as reflected in the series, how the theory of “time is relative” is applied in the series, gender and racial roles and tensions in the series, and how the series’ battling gangs of human survivors reflect the own partisan and political differences in contemporary American culture (my chapter). The book is published by Rowman and Littlefield, a major academic and general interests publishers.


The book is available through the Rowman and Littlefield website, and all online providers (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.)