XenForo Template THE WALKING DEAD The Complete First Season BLU-RAY Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment Year: 2010 Rated: Not Rated Film Length: 4 hours, 52 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish Release Date: March 8, 2011 The Series The Walking Dead is the story of a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse who fight for their lives in the vicinity of Atlanta, Georgia. Chief among this group are Sheriff Rick Grimes(Andrew Lincoln) and his partner Shane Walsh(Jon Bernthal). Rick’s wife Lori(Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl(Chandler Riggs) are also among the survivors. Glenn(Steven Yeun) is a former pizza deliveryman whose intimate knowledge of the streets of Atlanta is invaluable to the group. Andrea(Laurie Holden) and Amy(Emma Bell) are sisters who come under the group’s protection. Dale(Jeffrey DeMunn) is a retired widower whose classic Winnebago becomes a refuge of sorts for the group. The Walking Dead is based on the Eisner Award-winning comic book series written by Robert Kirkman. The TV series premiered on the AMC Network in October and November 2010 to stellar ratings and great acclaim. The series is produced by Gale Ann Hurd(Aliens, The Terminator) and Frank Darabont(The Shawshank Redemption). Darabont also wrote and directed the pilot episode. The Walking Dead’s high level of quality and originality was surely a pleasant surprise to the audience that has been exposed to countless zombie horror films in the last 50 years. The series has, in its brief first season, avoided the trap of routine and predictability that so many other series fall into so easily. Some fans expressed disappointment with the evolution of the story after the first couple of episodes but I found the quality of the series to be consistently high throughout the season. The situation is never really stable for this group of survivors, and that unpredictability and inability to guess what might happen next is part of this series’ charm. The writers have realized the importance of full-fleshed characters to maintain the audience’s interest with some interesting personal dynamics beyond the issue of their survival. The high ratings for the first season prompted AMC to increase its order for episodes of the second season to 13 episodes; one hopes that the next season will retain this quality of awe and surprise for the audience. All 6 episodes from the first season are included in this 2-disc set. The first four episodes are on disc 1 with the final 2 episodes and all of the special features on disc 2. The episodes are as follows: Days Gone By(1:07:03) Guts(44:42) Tell It To The Frogs(45:11) Vatos(44:54) Wildfire(45:14) TS-19(45:21) Video The Walking Dead appears on Blu-Ray in 1080p in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio as originally filmed. The negative format for the series was originally 16mm film printed up to 35mm but you would never know that from the sublime video presentation. Film grain is ubiquitous even while the video retains high contrast. Deliberately muted colors and pale skin tones (even on the living) arguably lends itself well to this genre in setting the tone. Shadow detail is excellent. This set presents an excellent video presentation of the series that surpasses anything that you might have seen of this series on television, even in high definition. Audio The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks are fairly immersive in the outdoor scenes in which directional audio is used to great effect for the sounds of flies, mosquitos, crickets, and other insects. The score composed by Bear McCreary(Battlestar Galactica) is used to full dramatic effect but never overwhelms dialogue or sound effects. The audio approaches standards of reference quality more closely than we might expect from a TV series. Special Features There is a wealth of special features divided into 2 categories, Featurettes and Extra Footage. The special features are all in 1080p high definition and include all of the following: Featurettes The Making of The Walking Dead(29:53): This featurette includes interviews, episode footage, and behind the scenes footage as well as a brief summary of the zombie film genre. Inside The Walking Dead: All 6 episodes have a separate featurette with running times as follows: Episode 1(5:22) Episode 2(5:04) Episode 3(4:51) Episode 4(5:03) Episode 5(5:31) Episode 6(5:15) A Sneak Peek With Robert Kirkman(4:51): A camera crew follows creator Kirkman during a visit to the set during filming of the pilot episode. Behind The Scenes: Zombie Make-Up Tips(6:45): This featurette demonstrates the make-up techniques used on the series that can be duplicated by anyone who wants to dress up as a zombie. Convention Panel With Producers(11:32): This is a highlight reel of the presentation made by producers and cast members to attendees of Comic Con International 2010 in San Diego. Trailer(1:03): Trailer for The Walking Dead. Extra Footage (Most or all of the following featurettes appeared originally on the AMC website.) Zombie School(2:58): This shows the training of extras to look and behave like zombies. Bicycle Girl(5:06): Includes time lapse photography of the makeup applied to one of the first zombies encountered by Rick Grimes in the pilot. On Set With Robert Kirkman(3:07): Creator Kirkman offers a brief preview of the TV series. Hanging With Steven Yeun(3:52): The actor who plays Glen provides his thoughts on the series. Inside Dale’s RV(3:25): Jeffrey DeMunn gives us a walkthrough of the 1977 Winnebago that is Dale’s home. On Set With Andrew Lincoln(1:31): The actor who plays Rick talks about the series while filming occurs nearby. The discs come enclosed in a clamshell case which includes a paper insert for graphic novel series and a second insert that resembles a public service announcement poster to help you identify "walkers.". Disc 1 also includes the following trailers prior to the main menu: Breaking Bad(1:03), I Spit On Your Grave(1:23), and Frozen(1:52). Conclusion The Walking Dead Season 1 on Blu-ray is a great collection of the entire series to date. The video and audio presentation are excellent and the set is crammed with special features, all in high definition, for fans of the series. If the second season of 13 episodes premiering in Fall 2011 can maintain the high standard of these initial episodes, then we are all in for a treat. The Walking Dead Season 1 on Blu-ray comes recommended to everyone who missed the series when it aired originally as well as those who want to relive this story before the premiere of season two.