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The Walking Dead has become a cultural phenomenon since it first aired on AMC in 2010. Based off of the best-selling comic by Robert Kirkman, the show has redefined the expectations for genre television, and with its eighth season coming up at the end of October, it shows no signs of slowing down.

The show’s popularity is the subject of a new book from Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna, Guts: The Anatomy of The Walking Dead, which is out next week. The book not only acts as a good way to read up on the show, but it’s also an examination of its fans and just why a depressing, nihilistic show has become so popular.

I spoke with Vigna about his new book and why he thinks The Walking Dead and Star Trek have a couple of crucial…

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