Oh Officer Rick, how I have missed you. It’s been a year since The Walking Dead debuted to tremendous success on AMC and now Rick Grimes and his band of increasingly hopeless survivors are back, ready to see if they can top, or at least replicate, season one’s success. After the unceremonious sacking of Frank Darabont, the creator/head writer/showrunner, just after Comic Con over the summer, it feels like a bit of an uphill battle. With so much behind the scenes drama, I wonder if some of that tension leaks into the show (of course, things on the show are so tense already I’m not sure we’d notice yet more tension). I also wonder whether or not the show can maintain its momentum without Darabont, who many called the driving creative force.

Increasingly it seems as though the Hollywood suits don’t know what to do with a serious zombie. Darabont was canned over “creative differences” and money squabbles. The creative differences came down to how dark to make the show. Answer: Very dark. Have you seen the graphic novels? Nothing good ever happens ever for anyone. It’s incredibly bleak. Darabont wanted The Walking Dead to have the same vibe and, from what I hear, the execs at AMC balked. There was a specific incident in season 2 that was under discussion—I’m interested to see if it makes the final cut and if so, how close it is to Darabont’s original vision. I just think that the honchos got all excited about the zombie attacks and forgot that the human element is what kept people coming back week-to-week; they started second-guessing some of the stuff happening with the human characters.

Season 2 sees Officer Rick and his fellow survivors leaving Atlanta and finding refuge on a farm. We’ll be (re)introduced to Rick’s chief antagonist and we’ll see the fallout of Stupid Shane and Horrible Lori’s affair. I’m hoping we get a lot more Glen this season, too. Season 1 was just six episodes and it was a bit uneven. The pilot was brilliant and the final two episodes picked back up on that, but the middle three were choppy, thanks to cramming as much character introduction and backstory as possible into just six episodes. Season 2 has thirteen of them, more room to breathe, so I hope the story structure eases up.

No, I’m not sh*tting on The Walking Dead yet. Yes, there’s been some (unfortunate) upheaval. But this is a talented cast and crew and I choose to believe that they’re going to be able to continue producing the most unique show on television. We’ll have plenty of opportunity to talk about it and let us know if you’re interested in recapping episodes weekly.

The Walking Dead Season 2 premieres on AMC on October 16 at 9pm.