NOTE: Some are claiming that the 3-disc edition is edited. IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT EDITED. There are no missing scenes. There is an international version available that is somewhat less than complete (edited for gore), so beware of third party sellers. It appears that some U.S. copies may have a playback quirk, though (mine doesn't). On the episode "Guts," if you Play All you might see some material edited. If you select the individual episode from the menu (instead of Play All), there is no issue. Otherwise, the official U.S. release is absolutely fine.
So now that all The Walking Dead TV fans have purchased Season One, here comes the inevitable double dip for the 3-Disc Special edition. I always find this a dubious way to reward fans, by making them regret buying your initial product. It does, however, seem to be a commercial reality that continues to disappoint and exploit consumers. Whether or not you will indulge in the new version will depend on how appealing its additional material strikes you. Here is a run down of the new features with the old features (also included) to help you decide.
5 Stars for the show itself, 1 Star for the repeated practice of double dipping.
NEW Material for this re-issue:
Pilot Episode: The B&W Version
Audio Commentaries On All 6 episodes
We Are The Walking Dead
Bring Out The Dead: KNB And The Art of Making Zombies
Digital Decay: The VFX of The Walking Dead
No More Room in Hell: The Walking Dead Phenomenon
Adapting The Dead
Killer Conversations: Frank Darabont & Greg Nicotero
ALL Previous Bonus Material Also Included:
The Making of The Walking Dead
Inside The Walking Dead: Episodes 1 - 6
A Sneak Peek with Robert Kirkman
Behind The Scenes Zombie Make-Up Tips
Convention Panel with the Producers
The Walking Dead Trailer
Extra Footage (Zombie School, Bicycle Girl, On the Set with Robert Kirkman, Hanging with Steven Yeun, Inside Dale's RV, and On Set With Andrew Lincoln)
When I heard that AMC was going to produce a television series based on the zombie epic "The Walking Dead," I was both concerned and delighted. A bona fide classic in undead lore, Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead" graphic novels are brutal and surprising--not really what I would picture for a basic cable TV show (the first season is only 6 episodes, we'll see where it goes from there). But AMC has produced terrific and prestigious shows like "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," so I was pretty stoked to see what they do with this. Add Frank Darabont of "Shawshank Redemption" fame as the creative force behind the show, and I'm pleased to report that we've got a winner!
For years, I've maintained that the principle themes of Kirkman's vision have little to do with actual monsters. This is a story of human survival, of morality, of loyalty, of sacrifice--of doing anything necessary to carry on without losing the basics of what makes life worth living. The fact that this is occurring within the midst of a zombie apocalypse is just a bonus! Darabont and team are fully on board with the notion that it is humanity, not the undead, driving this epic struggle. So while "The Walking Dead" expertly crafts its horrors, the real emotional weight is conveyed through its characters and the decisions they face on a daily basis.
The story in these six episodes, for the most part, adheres to the first few individual comics or the collected "Volume One: Days Gone By." This is the series' jumping off point--and, in truth, sets things up in a fairly typical way. After being involved in a shoot-out, cop Rick awakes from a coma isolated, but not alone, in a local hospital. Apparently, in the time he was out, something has shifted in the world and now the dead walk. The program introduces Rick and many other principles as he tries to figure out what is happening while he crosses the state to locate his family. On the outskirts of Atlanta, Rick is reunited with his wife Lori, son Carl, and police partner Shane with a group of other survivors. I was afraid, with so much story to draw from, Darabont might rush things. Instead, "The Walking Dead" takes its time setting up the premise, introducing the cast, and establishing a bleak new world. It is a tremendous accomplishment that really allows the viewer to identify with the action, to become emotionally connected with the horror.
There are a few diversions from Kirkman's text, but they actually enhance the drama. I particularly enjoyed the possible introduction of one of the series' greatest villains at a much earlier point--rounding off his back story for a reemeergence in the future. With such a large cast, the standouts in the beginning have got to be the leads--Andrew Lincoln as Rick and Jon Bernthal as Shane. Hopefully, should there be a second season, more of the supporting cast will get to shine--but their early contributions are uniformly fine. Lincoln displays an intriguing balance of strength and vulnerability, but it's Bernthal who is the break-out star for me! The gore and effects are absolutely top notch and should be appreciated by horror aficionados. Those that love zombie mayhem should have more than enough to whet their appetite. But, and this I stress, "The Walking Dead" is sophisticated, adult entertainment that should appeal to viewers who might not ordinarily target this genre as well. This is just great TV, plain and simple, and something unexpected fresh (if you can call rotting flesh fresh) on the TV landscape. KGHarris, 11/10.
on February 10, 2012
First off let me say I love the series. I like the writing, directing, and the in your face style of filming.
I purchased the "The Complete First Season 3-Disc Special Edition, based on the reviews here.
While watching my new purchase I was EXTREMELY DISAPOINTED while watching Ep.# 2 "Guts" in the scene where they run into the alley to grab the walker to dismember and use his guts and body parts for camouflage, that entire sequence is edited out of this supposedly complete special edition.
It shows them grabbing the walker and bringing him into the building and closing the door and the next thing you see is them walking out the door covered in the guts and parts.
The whole 3-min+ scene is gone where they talk about who he(the walker) was before and starting to chop him into pieces.
One of the most graphic scenes in the series so far and its not on the complete special edition discs!!!
I am equally dumbfounded that previeous reviewers failed to mention this.
Had I known this was an edited edition I would have purchased a non-edited version.
I feel totally ripped off and let down by Amazon and previous reviewers not to have disclosed this until now.
BUYER BEWARE THIS 3-DISC SPECIAL EDITION SERIES IS EDITED !!!!!!!!!!
on February 6, 2011
++++ NO SPOILERS ++++
I love horror and outre film and television, but, no pun intended, I thought until "The Walking Dead" that the zombie genre was a played out mining town. Starting far back with Bela Lugosi's fantastic "White Zombie" all the way up through the masterpiece "Night of the Living Dead" and ending in satire with the hilarious "Army of Darkness" and "Shaun of the Dead," I thought myself to be on safe ground in this harshly critical assessment. Sometimes, it's a pleasure to be flat wrong.
I watched all six episodes of this, and cannot wait for the next season. It's an ensemble acting piece, so focus never lingers too long on any one particular character. This is a brilliant opening gambit for television since the viewer can, in a way, vicariously share the dread of "just getting to know someone" and then have them ripped away, either by the evil of men, mischance, or zombie attack. Some think that the acting is contrived. I do not. All of the characters are on edge, just up to the point of hysteria, and played consistently thus. True, it can make for one-note dialogue and predictable, archetypal situations, but what other notes might there be in the opening month of the end of the world, and a world not only ending but grown hideously hostile to boot? It will be interesting to see how the actors manage the change into something "else" as they adapt to a zombie-filled world, and I hope they are up to the challenge. From the looks of things thus far, they are.
And this makes the title especially provocative. One would assume that "The Walking Dead" refers to zombies. I am not sure of that at all. Here, the undead are the backdrop to the action, not the action itself. The action lies in the excellent ensemble acting and cleverly turned scripting. It may well unfold that the living are the ones who end up truly meriting that disturbing title, not the once-human shambling mounds of flesh haunting the desolate streets of "Necropolis Atlanta." I have an odd suspicion that by the end of season two, the mindless juggernaut of zombie hordes will be a pale shadow compared to the darker and more malevolent forces that can shape the human soul into something far more fearful and terrifying. And these six shows set up that subtle possibility with suprising elegance as the normal turns suddenly abnormal and the "brave new world" or both urban and rural America comes bloodily undone.
This is not a show for the faint of heart. The make-up and effects for television are very well done and almost entirely convincing. The adult situations, profanity, and desperate sexuality also make "The Walking Dead" unsuitable for minors. But for adults, this is nothing less than a treat and not a "guilty pleasure."
So spread the word. Zombies are back, and very scary again. Almost as scary as the people trying to outlive them. Five stars.
THE WALKING DEAD is an exciting, innovative and very original series. High kudos to AMC. THE WALKING DEAD takes the zombie theme and brings it to a brand new level with intense drama and characters with depth and feeling the viewer can relate to. The show sucks you in from the first second of the pilot. And rest assured, there is blood and guts and gore galore but even with how great those scenes are it is the rest of the show that rules. The story is more about the survivors. It is thru their stories and interpersonal relationships that the heart and also true suspense and drama of the show lives.
The blu ray is amazing. The video presentation is superb. The picture is intentionally a little grainy which adds to its effect while the clarity and sharpness of the picture brings everything to life. Colors are bright and realistic. Close-ups are very crisp and flesh tones very realistic. The scenes with the dead are mezmerizing as the colors of their lifeless walking bodies mesh with the realistic blood and gore in the action sequences. And the audio is also superb. Dialogue is strong and the menacing scenes come to life utilizing all surround speakers. It's a whole other dimension from watching it on tv or dvd. Bottom line, this is a scary zombie series that comes to life due to the heart and soul of the human characters. It is about survival, love, acceptance and trust. Writing and directing are of course superb. Highly recommend this series and the blu ray transcends it to a new level.
on January 17, 2011
I was riveted by this series. It was fantastic and the quality of every aspect about it made it quite cinematic. It never felt like a television show.
Every zombie movie touches upon the difficulties of adjusting to life once society breaks down. However, in those zombie movies, they are only able to devote a few moments, out of the 90-120 minutes, to that enthralling subject.
In this series they go through a painstaking detail about what it's like to lose your family, dealing with "dangerous" survivors, the logic of racism when there is no longer a real race left, sacrificing survivors for the betterment of the others, how to maintain a family and raise children in an apocolypse, figuring out the vulnerabilities and behavior of the zombies, and whether life is really even worth living in such a bleak world.
The zombies are pretty much secondary since they just exist to create this stunning landscape to establish a top notch drama. This is as good as anything that could be out there. Even my wife, who would never willfully watch a "zombie" movie, was totally engrossed by this captivating drama.
This is a "perfect ten" of a piece of entertainment!
on November 5, 2011
I bought this box set as I loved the T.V. show and wanted to add it to my collection of movies. And as such, this won't be a review of the T.V. show, as I figure most of you interested in the box set have either seen the show or at least some of it.
I'd like to point out that the video quality isn't up to Blu-Ray standards. By that I mean there are camera shots that are crystal clear then the scene switches to another camera and it is as grainy as an eighties T.V. show on an era correct T.V. To me, that is disappointing and points out that the show didn't have the budget for HD camera's, or something of that sort.
The extras were good and I really liked the mini documentary about the make up used and how they created a "Zombie School" to teach the extras playing zombies how to walk and move about.
Interviews with the cast and director and even Kirkman are also interesting. It was a good jumping off point for me to dive into the books (I bought the compendium after watching season one).
To summarize, the Blu-Ray set isn't worth the money in my opinion as the video quality isn't top shelf all the way through. Let's be honest, you get Blu-Ray because the video quality and sound quality matter to you and you wan that little extra. For me, if the DVD set is the same as the Blu-Ray I can't see why you'd pay the extra money and not get the extra you wanted.
I'm still happy with my purchase and would/have recommended it to quite a few friends.
on December 3, 2015
Sure. The show is good. However, the review is on a product. People review too often from a streaming and have no skin in the disc purchase.
I PURCHASED the TWO disc Bd set of season one. My opinion is that the bluray quality lacked from one camera to the next. At times the picture was grained. At other times the picture was great. Audio seemed even and good through out. If you want the set for your collection its fine. If you want 1080p broadcast quality wait on a better release.
on September 15, 2011
The zombie infection is more contagious than even the staunches fan might realize. For the past several days, and this week in particular, I've done my part to spread the infection. My friends, coworkers, and casual acquaintances were unable to protect themselves. My anticipation in regards to the AMC premiere of The Walking Dead has rippled through my social circles. This has almost been like a study on seeing how a zombie outbreak might overwhelm society.
Credit AMC for a brilliant promotional campaign complete with screaming crawlers and even the occasional Emergence Alert screen. The way they kept the initial commercials short, showing larger glimpses as the premiere neared, was a lesson on how to pull off an excellent teaser.
Now, I must confess that there has been a layering sense of concern. After all, I was a huge fan of the Terry Goodkind fantasy epic The Sword of Truth. The only thing the televised version of that series got right was the casting. The program itself had no resemblance to the books other than the names of the central characters. In the lead-up to the premiere of the Walking Dead I went into it almost like a jilted lover.
That notwithstanding, I have recently been likened to a kid waiting for Christmas. My non-zombie-loving friends (gasp! Does such a creature exist?) could not help but be caught up in my enthusiasm. Before long they were pulling me up and asking me questions. Truth be told I have never been so grateful that AMC has built a loyal following with Madmen and Breaking Bad. Their reputation for quality has already been established.
A few even warmed up with the IFC showing of Dead Set. That was sort of like giving steak to an infant, but the British mini-series actually converted a few and amped their anticipation for the Walking Dead.
Most of you are familiar with the story and the characters. If not, I recommend picking up the graphic novels. (feel free to peruse the reviews of The Walking Dead 1-12 posted right here at BuyZombie.com.) what I want to talk about is how this adaptation looked...felt...sounded...adhered. Should the fans who've waited commit to this? Should those new to this amazing graphic novel series open their eyes to what will be the newest BIG THING in horror?
The answer is most assuredly yes.
Congratulations (and a huge thank you) goes to Frank Darabont for not only giving us a faithful adaptation--so far--but added a depth to the characters that further put flesh on the bones to a great story. Not only did he do a superb job in adapting Robert Kirkman's story, you can actually see what he reproduced some of Charlie Adlard picture panels to perfection.
Of course a lot has to be said about the cast. Andrew Lincoln sheds his European accent for a very believable Rick Grimes from Georgia. Jon Bernthal is so likeable that I feel sorry that he is cast as Shane Walsh, Rick's friend and partner.
We can't talk about a zombie story without mentioning the visceral factor...the blood and gore. I think that they (the SFX and production team) set the tone right away in the opening scene. All I need to say is: a little nine- or ten-year-old girl with a teddy bear. YIKES!
Kudos to Darabont and AMC. The Walking Dead is going to be a hit. It is going to bring the entire zombie genre to the next level. Set your DVR, or better yet invite your friends over on Sunday night (who cares if it is on at 10:00 pm.) and make this the event that it deserves to be.
The Walking Dead Part 2
Episode 2 of AMC's brand new mega-hit, The Walking Dead, had a lot of pressure riding on it. The first episode was so well received that it had water-coolers buzzing and even a Monday morning mention from Atlanta based CNN. As a zombie fan, I'm sure I wasn't the only one fielding questions last week by those that got a first taste of our passion. (I use that word collectively, why else would you be cruising this site?)
Tonight was the first time we got to see how Frank Darabont would' flesh out' the story a bit. He gave us some familiar faces in strange places. Readers of the series know that Rick was rescued by Glenn and Glenn alone (also there was no tank.) Andria was introduced in Atlanta and is already displaying the badass female character we have come to love. The biggest divergence is Merle Dixon's introduction. I liked it because it made me hate Dixon right away instead of wondering about him. Michael Rooker did a fantastic casting choice.
Rick's rescue is much more of an event--taking up all of episode 2--and as a fan of the graphic novel, I think I'm okay with it. Getting a glimpse of some of the characters at the base camp as well as part of the group encountered in Atlanta gave me a better understanding of the characters and how they will be used in the series. Obviously, if this went exactly by the book, it would burn through the material much too fast.
One of the side effects of the series as it is currently unfolding is my increased dislike in the character of Lori. Sara Wayne Callies is fantastic at making me dislike her for no real reason. Meanwhile, Steven Yeun amps the likeability factor of Glenn exponentially with every scene.
Here my complaint. The zombie climbing the fence? Not so much. Also...are they fast or slow? I can't tell. Granted, they don't sprint a la 28 days later, but they do get moving in a hurry when they see something they like. I half expected the zombie from episode one that got off the bus and later saw Rick on the tank to recognize them during the escape. The series seemed to tread a fine line with its zombie continuity in episode two.
Enough can still not be said about the effects being used in this made-for-tv series. So far it's enjoyable to watch but I will be waiting to see if Darabont blinks when he has to off the first of his cast that people are getting to know and love. Readers of the series are very familiar with the fact that Robert Kirkman has no qualms with taking out a character or two every so often. We all know some of the casualties looming on the horizon.
Overall the episode was satisfying. I did get elbowed in the ribs once or twice and asked by my friends "can you really smear yourself with zombie guts and get away?" In Kirkman's world the answer is yes and I remember how clever it was when I read it in episode one of the graphic novel.
The Walking Dead Part 3
The worst part about writing these reviews for the hit AMC series, The Walking Dead, is that on the first showing I have to take notes and jot down ideas. This keeps me from actually watching the program for the sheer enjoyment factor. I have to save that for one of the replays. But...enough of my meaningless complaints.
So, we start getting a better look at some of the supporting cast in this episode. We've met Glen and Andria, and of course there is the very likeable (?) Shane, and Rick's family: wife Lori and son carl. This is all about getting a taste of Dale, the adorable Amy, and the "charming" Daryl Dixon. That first group of names are people that we the people already know and have our minds made up on. And then there are the "strangers" (i.e. Daryl, T-Dog and some of the bodies running around in the background). Like former fave LOST, these look like potential cannon fodder as well as bodies to fill out the scenery.
With the rescue mission of the eldest Dixon brother being coupled with the original `gun run' from the graphic novel, we get our first glimpse of hero-complex that will come to define Rick Grimes. What must be commented on and complimented on is how well all of this is being dovetailed and layered in the opening episodes.
Each of the actors and actresses being used in this story are proving to mesh wonderfully. There is a lot being done with body language and facial expressions in the scenes and in the background. Despite any of the credits that these people have piled up, the only familiar face for me was Shane (Jon Bernthal).
So now everything is in place. The normally tedious character introductions have been handled masterfully and are basically over as we hit the half way point in this six-episode season. (We can only hope that the success of this series will bring a longer season WHEN it returns.)
Of course, now is when the questions start to build for many of the fans who have read the series. They're sitting right there on the tips of our tongues, and as we sit next to those unfamiliar to the story, we struggle to hold back and reveal nothing. It is now that we must take that leap of faith and trust that Mr Darabont and company will keep to the structure of the story while continuing to add to the depth that makes this feel almost like we're getting bonus material in a re-release of volume one, Days Gone Bye.
As of now, I am left with one raised eyebrow over a single line spoken by Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) "You were the one that told me that he died." And despite what we know about the future story line as originally written, I cant be the only one who truly enjoyed Shane's beat-down of Ed. Doesn't that earn him at least a few Redemption Points?
Episode three of AMC's The Walking Dead earns an Early Release for more and continued character development as well as a cast that does not have a single weak link.
The Walking Dead episode 4
Doubtless, you know by now, that AMC has renewed The Walking Dead for a second season. I urge everyone to email them with praise and words of thanks. Even better news, we'll get thirteen episodes instead of six. Now...on to the show.
Loss. A very common theme in the zombie genre. What didn't we say when we had the chance? Why didn't we appreciate this or that until it was too late? We now get some very real taste of that from many of the characters -both major and supporting--in the Walking Dead's fourth episode. It ads some excellent depth, and ties us as viewers to the story in a way that the splatter fests that past themselves off as zombie fiction often fall short.
However, this episode is the first to really raise some of those Legend of the Seeker flags. The senior citizens...thugs with hearts of gold...brave granny. All nice touches but Kirkman's story already has plenty of depth as well as material. Ever since episode one, this story has edged farther and farther away from the original. And this time, it felt like somebody grabbed the wheel and yanked it. With only 2 episodes left, the Walking Dead seems to be walking a fine line where it risks loosing its core...the fans of the graphic novel.
Of course, as soon as I started getting that sinking feeling...the campsite massacre happens. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the brutal and violent endings of Amy, Ed, and a bunch of faces in the crowd save the day. As those characters bit the big one(forgive the expression) the ship was suddenly righted once more. One hundred and forty seven seconds. That is how long it took to put everything back on track. All is tight in the Walking Dead world.
Now that all of the serious stuff is out of my system, did Glenn have the best line in this episode or what. After laying out a very well designed plan to retrieve the gun bag, Daryl asked "hey, kid, what did you do before this?" Glenn's answer was: "delivered pizza. Why?"
Daryl's insistence in rescuing Glenn, who he'd earlier referred to as a Chinaman when Glenn is in fact a Korean, offers up a subtle but yet deeper glimpse at a person who, up to this point, could easily be dismissed as a typical red neck racist. It will be interesting to see how his role develops within the group. Also, with the loss of Amy, I think it is safe for fans to assume that lives will not be spared in typical Hollywood fashion. (also this event is a major catalyst for Andria -one of my favorite characters in the graphic novel--who begins to unfold as someone far more complex than we've seen so far.
In an episode that began to scare me in a way that had nothing to do with the content, I am thrilled to see that the story line is back on track in the best hour of the series so far.
Walking Dead Episode 5
There have been some grumblings out there about AMC's newest hit, The Walking Dead. Having read a multitude of interviews, I was already prepared for some story stretching and deviations from the original plot. However, this doesn't seem to be the gripe. Apparently if there isn't a disembowelment or a zombie getting its head blown off in every scene, some folks aren't happy. Heaven forbid there be actual character depth and story content. My guess is that these complaints are coming from the same people who mumble, "braaains!" when they think they are imitating a zombie. Those same people completely miss the idea that if the first wave of zombies ate their victims brains, then there wouldn't be any new zombies. Anyways, enough ranting...onto episode 5.
This episode went a long way to leave an impression in regards to the individual characters in the story. I believe that this sort of cinema is exactly what the zombie genre needs to be taken seriously. Great stories can overcome the stereotype, and the walking dead is proof. How many rehash versions of Romero's Dawn of the Dead do we need? In Episode 5, we now have very real people, full of flaws. They're individuals that we can identify with, understand, or dislike. How many of us have fantasized about the zombie apocalypse? What sort of super powers or McGiver like abilities do we bestow upon ourselves during these musing? The beauty of what Darabont did here in pulling Kirkman's characters out of a two-dimensional medium and giving them 3 dimensional depth needs to be applauded in this episode.
With one installment to go, we now have a group of people that aren't merely faces on the screen. How many of you are still fans of Shane now? I for one am absolutely NOT disappointed in season one. (Other than it only being 6 episodes). We now have proof that the zombie can be main-stream. Even better, unlike vampires, there's no need to make things pretty.
Fans of all things zombie should rejoice. We are no longer second rate citizens in the world of horror. And, while some will doggedly resist this movement by cleaning to B grade standards and stereotypes and being more impressed by body count and blood splatter than by character and content we will embrace what can only be called an upgrade.
As a final note, if somebody knows the composer responsible for the soundtrack of this show, I would love to know who it is.
Walking Dead episode 6
It is almost bittersweet. AMC's the Walking Dead has completed its sixth episode run. For the most part, it has won over the hearts of many, while also bringing fresh blood to the ranks of those who are now fan to the zombie genre.
The fact that this episode spun away from the original storyline and embarked on a tangent unique to the television version, certainly had me curious as to the direction this finale would take. There is a certain smug self-satisfaction to be had when watching the program with foreknowledge of what will occur. Sitting next to someone who is commenting on what a `hottie' the character of Amy is while knowing she is destined for an unhappy ending is fun. But like many fans of the graphic novel series, I had no idea what the hell was going to happen tonight.
Loveable Shane is now the ultimate heel. In a span of the first fifteen minutes. But...we know what he saw at the hospital and he is still a tragic hero...until he tries to force himself on his partner and so-called best friend's wife.
Next, we get one of the most in-depth explanations of the question we always ask, but never expect an answer to. Once again we don't actually get a `why', but we do get a bit of a `what'; as in, "what is this?" the demonstration on the giant monitor of Test Subject #19 gives us something. For many (like myself) that whole segment was almost unnecessary. For folks getting their first taste...I'm sure it was fascinating.
As far as the CDC arc of this story, I guess if they weren't certain that the series would be picked up (AMC is still a business after all) there had to be a decision going into production on how to wrap up this series on such a short run. Doing this leaves an opening to return to the original story. It strayed before and as we saw in episode 4, Derabont and company can be back on track in a matter of seconds.
What we got in the final segment was the bonding of Dale and Andria, the death of another `extra' character (Jacqui) and the deepening of the wedge between Rich and Shane. We even got a whispered secret from the doomed doctor Jenner just before Rick and his people depart (my guess is that the blood test results on his pregnant wife). There is a conclusion of sorts, and a pretty explosion, but of course we all know that there is plenty of story to tell.
This series will be a hit for seasons to come. (Which begs the question, how are they going to keep Carl young unless they've hired an actor that carries the Gary Coleman-Webster gene?) It uses the zombies in small doses instead of relying on them as a crutch. This is not a B thriller or a cheap series, it is a STORY. I said it in my series of reviews about the Kirkman graphic novel series, and I will repeat it here: the zombie genre has a new king. All hail the King.
on March 28, 2015
The zombie as reimagined by George Romero in 1967 was a remarkably potent monster that seemed to reach the deepest levels of primal fear. Yet it was a remarkably limited monster. It wasn't intelligent and even romantic like a vampire or even a werewolf when not transformed; not coldly intelligent like an evil space alien, or able to crush cities like Godzilla. Within the short time span of a movie, everything that could be done with them was essentially done in the original Night of the Living Dead. You might change the location to a shopping mall or whatever, but the setup was always the same: a group of people were trapped somewhere and the zombies were trying, always relentlessly, to get at them. It didn't help that the numerous films that followed usually had miniscule budgets, poor writing and minimally talented actors.
Then The Walking Dead showed the way. With a TV series there was time to do more than be trapped in some building. You could develop characters, move around, show interaction between groups of survivors, open the whole thing up, and this is what the Walking Dead staff and actors have done with great success. It's still a bit limited. You can go into the primary group's relationships and dynamics and this can develop characters, but too much of this and it can turn into a soap opera of who's in love with who or whatever and lose its way. Or, you can introduce the possibilities of conflict with other groups or villainous leaders of groups which creates opportunities for action beyond zombie killing. A few people have complained that it is getting somewhat repetitious by the end of season five, but it is still a somewhat limited template. I don't think those fans would want a full season of peace and happiness which is about the only alternative.
The Walking Dead has tried both directions with maybe a bit too much soap opera in the first half of season two and maybe too long of a single villain arc in season three, but each time has pulled back and brought the show back on track. Mostly it explores human nature when the protected life we knew that allowed us to be ultra-nice people disappears and the world becomes a hostile and dangerous place where niceness doesn't suffice any more and we have to bring out the tougher, harsher side of ourselves.,
The show does this wonderfully well and this is where you start. Be forewarned that the show can be pretty ruthless about killing off major characters. But if the primary characters were always safe like in older TV fare, it wouldn't be very unsettling and would become a bore. Like any of the better series coming out of cable these days it can be addicting. ENJOY!
on February 1, 2012
Most folk reading this probably read the graphic novels and watched the first season as it was aired on A&E and then bought the DVD/BD when it became available. I know that was how I experienced the show. When this re-release was announced, I actually found myself looking forward to the Special Edition.
The reasoning is simple - every episode had at least one commentary track (Pilot Ep has two in fact). A whole slew of featurettes, and the original pilot... shot in unrelenting black & white. I've gone through most of the special features and have greatly enjoyed the commentary, specifically director Frank Darabont's musings through the Pilot. He describes the series as an event that allowed him to do the sort of film he'd always wanted to.
Yes, from the man who did Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile. But we know his involvement simply meant that folk would take this project seriously, and as it should be. You can't sell a survival horror story without the deep humanizing that we see in this much too short of it's first season.
One note: commentary tracks may 'dare' you to point out an f/x shot that was done practically or digitally; apparently they think these effects are done so well, you can't tell. Well, for that I have only one thing to say...
CGI is very clear on a big 47" screen and PS3 BD.
Now, it is amazing that they now reveal their is a lot more CGI in these introductory shots. The military base outside the hospital... whole thing: CGI, except for a heli shell, but even it's blades were CGI.
I've written this review specifically to give you as possible buyers what you are getting into. If you are a fan of just the show and don't go for new bonus features and whatnot, don't feel bad and hang on to your original purchase when it was first released. Keep it. It's a great set that I own as well.
But I geek out over the tech stuff. So this Special Edition is a beautiful addition to my BD collection. Bottom line it: do you go geek over zombies? If you do, even in the slightest, pick this up.
And I can almost swear that picture is much, much improved upon. Now you should go back and switch it to 7.1 sound. Re-release again.
And I'll buy it again.