Terry Morrow: 'Walking Dead' retains excellence in season three

Michonne (Danai Gurira) protects Andrea (Laurie Holden) as "The Walking Dead" gets rolling in season three on Sunday.

Photo by Gene Page/AMC

Michonne (Danai Gurira) protects Andrea (Laurie Holden) as "The Walking Dead" gets rolling in season three on Sunday.

Perhaps the greatest injustice on cable today is the lack of respect "The Walking Dead" (9 p.m. Sunday, AMC) gets.

Sure. The zombie-filled hour gets Emmy love for its make-up effects — and rightfully so— but it has earned so much more than being a hair-and-make-up extravaganza.

The writing and plotting are like none other on TV. It's every bit on par with "Breaking Bad" in terms of movement and exploring questions of morality.

If "Mad Men" is the slowest hour on TV (while still being superbly delivered), "Dead" is just the opposite. It finds fulfillment from keeping the pace in overdrive, mirroring the characters' dilemma with an uncanny precision.

If you still think "Dead" is just a gory horror tale, you're missing the point. Zombies had to the urgencies, but, by no means, completes the show.

The third season, which launches tonight, finds "Dead" in top form, picking up months after season two's finale. The human survivors, now homeless because of a fire and zombie invasion overtook their farmhouse base, are desperate, wandering and running out of resources.

Diehard fans know there are changes in the wind this season. The location shifts to an abandon prison. New faces are weaved into the cast — including the mysterious swordswoman Michonne (Danai Gurira, who doesn't get to prove her chops in the episodes offered for review) and the tyrant The Governor (David Morrisey, whose introduction is coming a bit later).

For now, "Dead" is taking its time with the major transitions as to not alienate the audience all at once.

"Dead" is still jaw-dropping good and well worth revisiting.

Score: 4 stars (out of five)

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-345-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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