Customer Reviews: The Walking Dead: Season 1
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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)

Original Review:
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.
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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.
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VINE VOICEon September 20, 2011
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.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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VINE VOICEon February 17, 2012
I read The Walking Dead, Book 1 (Bk. 1) when it came out, and when I saw that there was going to be a TV version of this beloved graphic novel. I was in.

I was especially happy that AMC was taking this project on, because I love Mad Men, and I have appreciated Breaking Bad from afar (I did watch the first 4 episodes and plan on watching more). To top things off the writer Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont, Mike Nicotero ,and Gale Anne Hurd were on board.Im a huge fan of all of them. A show like this HAS to have a good cast. The graphic novels are so well loved, and the characters so significant, that to not honor them would be a tragedy. For the most part the cast is a dream there is but one stinker in the bunch (im looking at you Sarah Wayne Callies).

A show that follows a book/novel/comic cannot just stick to the original story line like glue, you have to veer off at some point and make new paths. The smart fans will understand that, the fans with half a brain eaten wont. I happen to love where they take this season, what they added and what they took away. It made perfect sense to me.

The makeup ...oh the special effects! I couldnt have asked for better Walkers (they are never called zombies...i love that) from the "hero" dead, to the glimpsed and shot dead, its all a giant bloody rotten orgasm to my eyes. This show made even non undead lovers, a fan of the genre. I mean who hasnt watched a Romero movie and just wanted it to keep on and on and on!!! I hope this show lasts a while, its one of the best dramas put forth in years.
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on October 3, 2015
The Walking dead is arguably the best undead movie series ever made . My wife and I own the series, although it is still running. We will buy the next season as it becomes available. The characters are believable and are all outstandingly realistic. Just like a soap opera, there are characters that you love and others that you hate. This captivating series follows a group of people as they try to survive after Some disease has killed most of the human race. The dead come back to life as Walkers that eat the flesh of those not infected with with the disease. The walkers vastly outnumber the survivors and the walkers continuously attack the survivors. If you like horror, you will love the walking dead series.
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on March 17, 2011
Acclaimed director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) has seemingly done the impossible by taking zombies, probably the least television-friendly genre, and has brought them shambling to the small screen with The Walking Dead, adapted from the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman.

Deputy sheriff Rick Grimes is gunned down after a high-speed chase on the highways of Georgia and ends up comatose. But Rick's nightmare truly begins when he wakes up to find the dead have come back to life to feast upon the living. He sets out to find his wife and son, whom he believes have abandoned their homes for safer shelter and could still be alive. He ventures to Atlanta to find it overrun by "walkers," and only manages to make it out alive with the aid of a handful of survivors who have set up camp in the hills outside of town. Rick joins the group as they struggle to survive zombie attacks, internal conflicts within the group, and a journey to the CDC in search of a cure, answers, or just hope in a future where the likelihood of living much longer is incredibly slim.

Darabont sets a measured, cinematic pace, so nothing in the show feels rushed for the sake of fitting the hourlong timeslot. The show certainly doesn't skimp on production value either, as we get to see all the guts and gore (and even the occasional profanity) that is inherent in the zombie genre. Thankfully, cable channel AMC, producers of shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, allows its shows to push the envelope with its content, because if The Walking Dead had been produced by one of the more conservative broadcast channels, then the show probably would not have turned out as fantastic as it did. We also get to see broad cityscapes ravaged by the fall of society, and it's pretty remarkable that any major city would let a production of any kind take over its streets the way The Walking Dead does with Atlanta.

But the element that makes the show truly shine is the human element. It isn't a show merely about zombies, its about the struggles of those left standing after the world ends. The title "The Walking Dead" describes the zombies who have overrun the planet, but it also describes Rick and the other survivors and the almost hopeless nature of their situation. They might survive the hoards of undead now, but for how long? Is there any point of holding out hope when it seems almost futile to try in a world where falling prey to the flesh-eating masses seems inevitable?

The Walking Dead may be a television series, but it has the look and feel of a big-budget zombie film, and it was easily the best new series of 2010.

This two-disc Blu-Ray set includes all of Season 1's episodes as well as behind-the-scenes and "Making Of" docs as well as a fun little tutorial about doing your own zombie make-up by Greg Nicotero of the Oscar-winning special effects group KNB EFX.
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The dead will walk, and boy do they ever. A pitch-perfect adaptation of Robert Kirkman's Image Comics series, AMC's The Walking Dead is simply spectacular. Georgia cop Rick (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up from a coma to find the world around him has gone straight to hell. Flesh eating zombies are everywhere, but that doesn't stop Rick from searching for his missing wife Lori (Prison Break's Sarah Wayne Callies) and young son Carl (Chandler Riggs). Unbeknownst to Rick however is that his partner Shane (Jon Bernthal) has things well in hand, with things getting hot and heavy between him and Lori in the process. Produced by Frank Darabont (director of The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile; and who also helms the pilot episode), The Walking Dead captures both the horror and human elements that make Kirkman's comic so good in the first place. Deviations from the source material aside, this is the brilliant zombie epic we've been waiting years for. It's scary, rightfully bloody, and features a wonderful cast that also includes Darabont regulars Jeffrey DeMunn and Laurie Holden as Dale and Andrea respectively, newcomer Steven Yuen who is excellent as Glenn, and memorable guest appearances from Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker, and Noah Emmerich. While this first season's six episodes are based on the comic's first storyarc, things conclude in a very different manner than the comic, and it leaves things sitting on a powder keg for the upcoming second season. Do yourself a favor, even if you've never checked out the comic, give The Walking Dead a try. If the brilliant pilot and haunting season finale doesn't hook you, you need to check your pulse.
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