For AMC, the Worst Is Coming This Fall

If history holds, The Walking Dead will once again set record ratings for AMC Networks when Season 4 makes its debut this October.

How can I be sure? Because, as is his style in the comics, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman has a way of making sure the next story is more gruesome, more awful, and more terrifying than the last. Season 4 will be another adrenaline-booster.

"Things are definitely going to be WAY crazier. It's an escalation. I mean, the world is getting worse, the people are getting more ragged, there's more terrible things happening," Kirkman said in a Friday afternoon panel discussion at San Diego Comic-Con. "Things are going to keep progressing, if you can believe that."

Anyone who doesn't take Kirkman at his his word must not watch the show or read the comics that started it all. Still skeptical? Watch the trailer, if you can stomach the sight of zombies and kill shots:

Sources: YouTube, AMC Networks.

In many ways, The Walking Dead is a reminder of the sorts of fare that established AMC in the first place. Classic and new horror films still have a home on the network's "Fear Friday." The difference is that TWD isn't so much a horror show as it is a human story set in horrific conditions.

For example, actor David Morrissey plays a character called "The Governor" who justifies brutality in the name of survival in a world gone mad. He'll be back to torment the main cast in Season 4.

"He's still out there," Kirkman said at Comic-Con. "But how he returns, when he returns, and what he's doing when he returns is going to be a pretty big mystery this season."

The Governor gets ready for war in Season 3 of The Walking Dead. Photo credit: Gene Page/AMC.

Among rival networks, only HBO and Showtime have shown a consistent willingness to push boundaries as much as AMC has with The Walking Dead. Count Netflix among the rare exceptions. Hemlock Grove with its werewolves and Orange Is the New Black with its dark depiction of prison life both take joy in tormenting the squeamish.

But these are the exceptions, and that means AMC is likely to keep drawing in millions of viewers who enjoy its darker tales. Are you among them? Leave a comment to let us know what you think of the show and AMC stock.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Netflix at the time of publication. He was also long January 2014 Netflix $50 call options. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool recommends AMC Networks and Netflix and owns shares of Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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