‘The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon’ Review: A Spin-Off That Revitalizes the Zombie Franchise


The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon premieres next week on AMC and if you’re looking for a show that brings back the original feeling, this spin-off is for you.

It’s hard to put into words just how important Daryl Dixon has become in TWD Universe. A beloved character for over 10 years, there’s still so much undisclosed about him that he hides under his rough exterior. In The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, the crossbow wielding, motorcycle riding badass finds himself in unfamiliar territory when he washes ashore the beaches of France. When he arrives, he meets a nun named Isabelle (Clémence Poésy) that helps him in his recovery and they become unlikely allies that watch over a young boy who many say is the “chosen one.”

Daryl gathers a rag-tag group along his journey, overcoming many obstacles that add layers to him that haven’t been seen before. Reedus explores these new facets of a character he’s been playing for over 11 years so intimately — from family to religion, these new revelations add depth to a universe that lost a bit of footing when Andrew Lincoln stepped back from filming in season 9 to spend more time with his family. In a time where The Last of Us took over the first half of 2023, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is a welcoming addition to the resurgence of zombie subject matter that The Walking Dead helped kickstart over a decade ago. Even though it’s still part of the universe, it almost feels like it’s own separate entity and it’s not just because the series takes place in France. The Walking Dead: Dead City heralded by Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan was much of the same with its massive budget and a new spin on the flagship series’ most notable rivalries. With the decision to end the original series, it gives these spin-offs a lot more room to breath and spread their wings, which is incredibly evident in its writing and production value.

Poésy’s character is a standout opposite Reedus. Though she’s dedicated her life to being a nun, her backstory is one of the more interesting parts of the series. How she’s able to overcome her hardships and rise from the ashes gives her a beautiful, well-rounded season arc. Louis Puech Scigliuzzi, the young French actor who plays Laurent makes his big break with the series but you wouldn’t believe it from how captivating he is as Laurent, especially in the later episodes.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon is still about, well, the dead that walk among us at the end of the day, but the climate of this series is very reminiscent to the early days of The Walking Dead, just with an evolved variant that was first noted in The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the limited series which premiered in 2021, by Dr. Edward Jenner. Jenner explained in a voice recording that the variants of walkers that are popping up in Toledo, Ohio could be because of the Primrose team conference. We find out there were two teams — Primrose and Violet, with the implication being that the virus was entirely manmade.

In season 11 of The Walking Dead, new variants started popped up that showed them being able to climb, pick up rocks and throw them, open doors, and more. (The walkers in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon are labeled as “Burners.”) Overall, The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon revitalizes The Walking Dead Universe with a fresh landscape and storylines that have the capability of carrying this series for years to come.

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon premieres Sunday, September 10 at 9 p.m. EST/PT on AMC.

Haley joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2019 as a Writer and Editor. Her main fandoms include Criminal Minds, Wrestling, and The Walking Dead. You can find her on Twitter @haleyanne_.

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