"The Walking Dead" returned on Sunday for its sixth season with the episode "First Time Again." While this ratings juggernaut has won over audiences, it has failed to connect with the Emmys with just two wins for Best Prosthetic Makeup to show for its 13 nominations. However, stellar reviews for this premiere episode (excerpted below) could be the key to breaking through with TV academy voters.
"First Time Again" was written by Scott M. Gimple & Matthew Negrete and directed by Greg Nicotero. AMC's official description: "Rick and the group are still having trouble assimilating into Alexandria. Will a new threat bring them closer together or drive them further apart?"
Returning for the new season are Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Michael Cudlitz. Gimple is back as showrunner for the third year in a row.
Verne Gay, Newsday
"Sunday's episode is exceptional, marred only in a few spots by padding that's inevitable with these supersized episodes. (Sunday's runs an hour and four minutes, not counting commercials.) But 'TWD' season openers always have a little something extra in the goody bag — supersized or otherwise — as a way of subverting expectations and stoking excitement. The episode, which is titled 'First Time Again,' referring to Morgan's reunion with Rick, has several."
Ted Pigeon, Slant
"By casting Rick's protagonist status into question, showrunner Scott Gimple has opened 'The Walking Dead' to new possibilities — both in its narrative and philosophical foundations — and is successfully crafting a rare series of rising caliber and still-widening potential deep into its run."
Ray Rahman, Entertainment Weekly
"As usual with 'The Walking Dead,' it's hard to say where the season will go next. But judging by the premiere, it'll be worth the walk."
Brian Lowry, Variety
"Picking up where season 5 left off, while embarking on new plots, 'The Walking Dead' looks very much at the top of its game, with strong character material mixed with a massive set piece in the extended premiere made possible, no doubt, by its enormous popularity. Blessed and cursed with a vagabond mentality, the first episode finds the gang still trying to fit into a gated community, where the promise of security is balanced against the cultural clash separating the battle-hardened travelers from those sheltered within. Add one familiar face to the mix, and it’s a pretty irresistible feast."
Mike Hale, New York Times
“'The Walking Dead,' AMC’s post-apocalyptic zombie fantasy, has always built toward and ebbed away from great set pieces of carnage and battle. Its 90-minute sixth-season premiere on AMC on Sunday night is essentially an episode-long combat operation, and it reaches for a new level of cinematic wallop. A double narrative that shows the preparations for, and execution of, an elaborate zombie-clearing action, it variously recalls Hollywood biblical epics, European art-house pastorals and the teeming photographs of Sebastião Salgado."