ATLANTA, Georgia - How do you sustain a committed relationship during a zombie apocalypse?
It turns out that it is not all that different from how you get viewers to keep watching a hit television show: After the initial rush of excitement fades, slowly raise the stakes and keep everyone invested in the characters.
As The Walking Dead returns for its fourth season this Sunday on Fox Movies Premium (StarHub TV Channel 622, SingTel mio TV Channel 414), this will mean, among other things, solidifying the relationship between the show's star couple, Glenn and Maggie, and using it as a metaphor for survival and resilence.
Steven Yeun, the 29-year-old Korean- born American who plays Glenn, says: "Season 4 is about keeping what's important to you - holding on to what you've gone through so much for. And for Glenn, holding on to the people that he loves."
British actress Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, thinks that "a little romance" goes a long way when the world is coming to an end. "I think you need it. It's fun," says the 31-year-old.
The show, a post-apocalyptic drama about flesh-eating zombies, continues to be fun for fans.
The new season's first episode made headlines for attracting a record- breaking audience of 16.1 million people in the United States last weekend, making it the top entertainment telecast among key adult demographics and increasing its viewership by about 5 million compared to last October's Season 3 premiere.
During a press visit to the set in Atlanta, Georgia, last month, the cast and producers were typically stingy with details about upcoming episodes, but spoke cryptically of a new "non-zombie" threat that the show will introduce.
The series is also ramping things up with a host of new characters, while at the same time going more in-depth with the original group of survivors that it started off with.
Loyal fans have thus been promised meatier back stories and mini "character studies" of cast favourites such as Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and his family, as well as Glenn (Yeun) and Daryl (Norman Reedus).