And the winners are... TV Guide Magazine's fourth annual Fan Favorites Awards drew nearly 600,000 votes in 11 categories (the full list of winners is at the bottom of this story). The Walking Dead lived up to its Nielsen popularity with a victory in the Favorite Horror Show category. Here's our tribute...
The Walking Dead is very much alive, with one of television's most passionate and vocal fan bases. Need proof? Just venture into the actors' personal spaces on the Georgia set. "My trailer is rammed full of fan mail, and it's gotten to the point where I can't even look at it. It makes me feel sick because I'm so far behind," says star Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes). "But please tell the fans thank you for the letters. They're incredibly moving, and I will eventually get to them."
Fans around the world have mobilized behind the AMC drama, which continues to shatter ratings records in its fifth season, with the Oct. 12 premiere pulling in a series-high 17.3 million viewers. Not bad for a show with dark tones, vicious violence, and stomach-knotting tension. "Even though it's an incredibly bleak, dark, brutal world, the thing that holds the characters together is hope, family, tenderness, and friendship," Lincoln says. "Perhaps that resonates with people, those pockets of humanity and joy that make it all worthwhile."
The actors are reminded of the adoration every year when they attend both the San Diego and New York editions of Comic-Con, where they reveal exclusive footage in front of thousands of screaming fans. But a few encounters are more memorable than others. "When somebody showed me [a tattoo of] my face on their leg, that was quite a profound, out-of-body moment in my life," Lincoln says with a laugh. "I wasn't prepared for it, but it's an overwhelming and beautiful kind of experience."
Viewers anxious for their Dead fix will have to wait until Feb. 8 for the continuation of Season 5, which Lincoln says contains "two episodes that are probably my favorite since the pilot." The fallout from Eugene's (Josh McDermitt) lie about a cure in Washington, D.C., will persist, according to executive producer Gale Anne Hurd. "Whenever you put all your eggs in one basket—especially when it's the fate of humanity—that's going to be an awful blow that continues to resonate," she says. "We've experienced some very game-changing revelations, and there will be more."
As always on The Walking Dead, no one is safe in this postapocalyptic world, even if that means putting fan-favorite characters (like Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus) in jeopardy. "I love the passion, but to be honest storytellers, you have to do what's best for the series," Hurd says. And with new faces being introduced in the second half of Season 5 (including American Horror Story alum Alexandra Breckenridge), Lincoln warns, "there are just too many people in the boat. There will be blood!"
Here's the full list of winners of TV Guide Magazine's 2014 Fan Favorites Awards:
Favorite Drama: Outlander
Favorite Comedy: The Big Bang Theory
Favorite Actor: Nathan Fillion, Castle
Favorite Actress: Stana Katic, Castle
Favorite Sci-fi/Fantasy Show: Arrow
Favorite Horror Show: The Walking Dead
Favorite Reality Competition Show: The Voice
Favorite New Show: The Flash
Favorite Villain: Regina/Evil Queen, Once Upon a Time
Favorite Duo: Claire and Jamie, Outlander
Favorite Guilty Pleasure: Syfy movies
For more on all of the winners, pick up the new issue of TV Guide Magazine, on sale Thursday, Dec. 4.