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The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Not Rated
  • Region: A (B?C?)
  • Discs: 2
  • Studio: Anchor Bay
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 8, 2011
  • List Price: $49.99

[amazon-product align=”right”]B0049P1ZZQ[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Walking Dead: Season 1 (2 Disc) -

Purchase The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:5/5]

Like its undead subject matter, the zombie genre is difficult to kill. You may put it down for a while, but sooner or later it’s going to to come lumbering back, often with a face that’s nastier than you remember. Unfortunately, for every Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, or Zombieland, we’re forced to endure a dozen or more closer in quality to Zombie Strippers or the latest installment of Resident Evil (a.k.a. The Franchise That Wouldn’t Die). And now we’ve got made-for-TV zombies? Seriously? Shouldn’t we just stop reading right now?

Don’t you dare.

Based on Robert Kirkman’s bestselling graphic novels and developed as an original series for AMC (home of Mad Men and Breaking Bad), The Walking Dead is helmed by Hollywood genre wizards Frank Darabont (Director of The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist) and Gale Anne Hurd (Producer of The Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss). With a pedigree like that, it should come as no surprise that The Walking Dead is the best thing to grace the small screen since Joss Whedon’s Firefly.

After suffering multiple gun shot wounds during a shoot-out with heavily-armed criminals, Sherriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes from his coma in an abandoned hospital to find that the real nightmare has only just begun. Surrounded by death and devastation, Rick gathers his wits, his hat, and a gym bag full of guns before setting out for Atlanta in search of his family. As he says to a fellow survivor along the way: “I’m not a cop anymore. I’m just a man looking for his wife and son – and anyone who gets in the way of that is gonna lose.”

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Anchor Bay brings the first six episodes of “The Walking Dead” to Blu-ray and overall things look mighty fine. Compared with the AMC HD broadcasts I’ve seen on DISH Network, this 1080p transfer exhibits improved clarity and fine image detail without the compression artifacts that occasionally plague the shadows of cable and satellite content. Blacks are sufficiently deep and skin tones (on the living at least) appear natural once Rick finds himself a hot shower. The Walking Dead was shot on 16mm film, and this gives the show a gritty and sometimes grainy veneer, but don’t mistake that for a bad thing. This show has a superb look to it, and Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray does a fine job of rendering things

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Faring just as well as the video, and perhaps even better, is the lossless Dolby TrueHD soundtrack adorning each of these six freshman episodes. Setting the tone perfectly is the series’ haunting score from composer Bear McCreary, who also helped create the score for SyFy’s recent Battlestar Galactica reboot. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout, and there’s plenty of low-end oomph to be be felt when guns are fired or zombie brains are, um, bashed in with shovels.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

Disc Two of Anchor Bay’s set features a respectable assortment of behind-the-scenes goodies. The main attraction is an aptly-named featurette entitled, “The Making of The Walking Dead” featuring interviews with key members of the cast and crew including Lincoln and showrunner Frank Darabont. Other extras include zombie make-up tips, an amusing set tour with creator Robert Kirkman, and plenty more.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

It feels wrong to use the word “fresh” when discussing zombies, what with their odorous, flesh-torn corpses and all, but that’s precisely the descriptor that comes to mind when talking about Frank Darabont’s unique and compelling The Walking Dead. Like the greatest works of fantasy and horror, it doesn’t matter if you’re facing a giant shark, Emperor Zurg, or a xenomorph with acid for blood. In the end, it’s all about the characters. (Yes, I just made a Toy Story reference while talking about zombies.) Like John Lasseter and the crew at Pixar, Frank Darabont and the creative team behind The Walking Dead wisely keep the focus on the humanity of the story’s central characters and the tenuous relationships that hold them together. When everything else is stripped away, it’s those relationships that make life worth living. That, and killing zombies with a crossbow.

Additional Screen Captures:

[amazon-product align=”right”]B0049P1ZZQ[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Walking Dead: Season 1 (2 Disc) -

Purchase The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]

Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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