Andrew Lincoln rolls up his sleeve to show what the zombies did to him.
"This happened in the first week," he says, displaying a 4-inch long cut on his forearm. "I've been burned. I've been bruised. I've been thrown around."
Playing a Georgia policeman fighting for survival in the undead drama "The Walking Dead," debuting
10 p.m. Sunday on AMC, Lincoln has had his own scrapes with cinematic zombies during filming. Based on the acclaimed comic book of the same name, "Dead" follows the adventures of human survivors during a zombie apocalypse. Lincoln plays Rick Grimes, who awakens after an accident to find a world overrun with the flesh-eating dead.
Eager to reunite with his missing wife and son, Rick soon encounters other survivors hoping to make sense out of what's gone on. Rick, a lawman who plays by the rules, is suddenly thrust into a world where none exist.
"Rick is this everyman," says Lincoln, best known for his role in the 2003 romantic comedy "Love Actually." "He's the moral compass of this story, and that gets twisted and turned the more he learns about what's going on."
"Dead" has quite a pedigree to live up to. Already critics are saying it's AMC's next great series, right up there with "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," substituting the ad agencies and meth-making for zombies who want your brains for lunch.
Also, the monthly comic book has been around for more than 75 issues, has earned a loyal reader fan base and kudos such as the 2010 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series - the Academy Awards of comics.
Unlike "Bad" and "Mad Men," "Dead" will have much more movement and faster stories.
The series also stars Sarah Wayne Callies ("Prison Break") as Rick's wife, Lori; Laurie Holden ("The Shield") as Andrea, a fellow survivor; and Jon Bernthal ("Date Night") as Rick's impulsive ride-along partner.
Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile") directs and developed the series for TV. Writer Robert Kirkman, who created the comic book, is an executive producer.
Lincoln found cementing the fantastical story in reality wasn't that difficult. "For me, the most important thing was making this true," he says.
But what really brings a bit of a smile to Lincoln is when he talks about the intensity of the stunts. "The amount of adrenaline that's been pumping through my body over the past few months has been unbelievable," he says. "This job is an emotional workout."
His wife and two children came to visit him on the set and saw him take a pounding while filming. "My wife said, ‘I didn't know you were being beat up like this,'" he says with a laugh.
What does she think of his scar?
"I haven't told her yet," he says with another laugh.
Other highlights for the week of Oct. 31 to Nov. 6 (Listings are subject to change.):
"The Monstrous Munster Mash" (10 a.m., WGN). A nine-hour marathon of "The Munsters" sitcom includes Grandpa accidentally drugging his family at breakfast. This is a sitcom, right?
"Ghost Hunters Halloween Live" (7 p.m., SyFy). The annual live telecast has the hunters investigating spooks at an abandoned Buffalo, N.Y., rail terminal.
"Dawn of the Dead" (8 p.m., AMC). When the world is taken over by zombies, you may want to stay away from the mall. But maybe it would be a good day to snatch a good sale.
"The Newlywed Game" (6 p.m., GSN). Sherri Shepherd is now the host who asks about making whoopee.
"My Big Friggin Wedding" (9 p.m., VH1). Five couples stress over their weddings in this reality show from the geniuses who brought us "The Jersey Shore."
"Dancing with the Stars" (8 p.m., ABC). The series marks its 200th installment with Taylor Swift performing. Former contestants return to the floor.
"Modern Family" (8 p.m., ABC). Phil (Ty Burrell) goes to war with a fire alarm that taunts him.
"Circus" (9 p.m., PBS). Life is a circus in this reality series that goes behind the scenes of one.
"Smallville" (7 p.m., CW). Lois Lane's dad visits for Thanksgiving (already?). Awkward moment alert: He rants to Clark Kent about how he hates superheroes.
"Downsized" (9 p.m., WE). A family hit hard by the economic downturn learns to pull together and change their lifestyle in this reality series.