Fear The Walking Dead debuts its special edition Season 1 Blu-ray set to coincide with the upcoming season 2 premiere on April 10, 2016. This set, with its commentaries, deleted scenes, and other special features renders obsolete the original bare bones Season 1 Blu-ray set released on December 1, 2015.
The Production: 4/5
Fear The Walking Dead is the spinoff series to The Walking Dead and takes place in the same universe, but in a different location than its predecessor. Whereas The Walking Dead takes place primarily in rural Georgia, Fear The Walking Dead transpires in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles. Fear The Walking Dead also takes place in an earlier time than the series which inspired it. In this series, the audience are witnesses to the beginning of the fall of civilization, as seen through the microcosm of a mixed family trying to make sense of all the chaos.
Madison Clark(Kim Dickens) is a high school guidance counselor dating English teacher Travis Manawa(Cliff Curtis). Madison has a son and daughter, Nick(Frank Dillane) and Alicia(Alycia Debnam-Carey), and Travis has a son, Chris(Lorenzo James Henrie). As if divorcees with teenage children in Los Angeles do not have enough drama, the apocalypse arrives to really shake things up for them. Madison’s son Nick also happens to be a junkie, which causes additional problems after the arrival of the undead and martial law. In the midst of the chaos, this family allies themselves with the Salazar family, Griselda(Patricia Reyes Spindola), her husband Daniel(Ruben Blades), and their daughter Ofelia(Mercedes Mason). The character dynamics are as integral a part of the story as the larger events affecting these characters, just as in The Walking Dead.
The time in which Fear The Walking Dead takes place really distinguishes it from The Walking Dead. In The Walking Dead, civilization has long since collapsed by the time that we meet its characters. In contrast, Fear The Walking Dead begins in a world not unlike our own in which a mysterious flu outbreak is wreaking havoc. The audience knows more about this “mysterious flu virus” than the characters. This makes the gradual decline of law and order in the series scarier, in a sense, as the fall of civilization depicted seems more plausible than the result, after the fact, depicted in The Walking Dead. By the end of this first season consisting of 6 episodes, the world appears much more familiar to viewers who have been watching The Walking Dead.
Fear The Walking Dead largely succeeds in its less-is-more philosophy, to the extent that a single walker popping up in the initial episodes can seem more menacing, given the right dramatic situation, than a horde of walkers. Make no mistake, there are many walkers to be seen in this series, but the suspense builds gradually to coincide with the decline of law and order. The final episode, The Good Man, features a turn of events that, while inevitable, may seem contrived regarding the downfall of law and order in Los Angeles. Even so, the season ends in an interesting place for its characters, which shows promise for the storytelling possibilities that have opened up for season 2.
3D Rating: NA
The first season’s original televised aspect ratio of 1.78:1 is presented in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Fine detail is excellent with a sublime grain structure. Black levels display a touch of black crush at times resulting in some apparent, though minimal, loss of shadow detail. Colors are vibrant but also appropriately subdued to reflect the dramatic tone. Viewers who watched these episodes as broadcast will see a nice jump in video quality on these blu-ray discs.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English audio delivers an immersive experience with great dynamic range. Directional audio is used discreetly with most dialogue coming through center and front channels. The sound mix is solid with dialogue always audible over soundtrack music and ambient noise. The audio may not be demo material but it also has no apparent flaws.
Special Features: 5/5
This special edition of Fear The Walking Dead on Blu-ray, with its wealth of special features, renders obsolete the original Blu-ray set released at retail in late 2015.
Included are the following special features:
Pilot episode: The Widescreen version: This presents the pilot episode in a 2:35.1 aspect ratio that presents additional video on the left and right sides of the picture.
Deleted scenes(6:35): These 5 deleted scenes are relatively brief and play consecutively without titles.
Inside Fear The Walking Dead: There is one featurette for each of the episodes of season 1: Episode 101:Pilot(5:54), Episode 102:So Close, Yet So Far(4:58), Episode 103:The Dog(5:03), Episode 104:Not Fade Away(4:48), Episode 105:Cobalt(5:32), and Episode 106:The good Man(4:46).
Fear: The Beginning(10:13): Cast members discuss their characters’ perceptions of this strange new apocalyptic world.
Five Things You Need To Survive(2:17): Cast members talk tongue-in-cheek about what they would need to survive the worlds of The Walking Dead.
Locations: L.A. and Vancouver(6:56): Producers and cast talk about filming on location in L.A. (for the pilot) and in Vancouver(for the remainder of the season.
Quarantined(6:36): Cast members and producers talk about the characters’ perceptions of being isolated in quarantine under martial law.
Stunt and Anarchy(6:58): Featurette about the physical stunts performed in the series.
The Faces of Fear(5:15): Actors Dim Dickens, Alycia Debnam-Carey, and Frank Dillane talk about the dynamics of their on-screen family.
The Infected((4:48): Producers and cast members talk about the mystery of the infection as it is unraveled by the characters.
Audio commentaries on all of the following 6 episodes from season 1:
Pilot(1:03:24): Co-creator/executive producer Dave Erickson, Co-executive producer/director Adam Davidson, and actor Kim Dickens.
So Close, Yet So Far(42:51): Co-creator/executive producer Dave Erickson, Co-executive producer/director Adam Davidson, and actor Kim Dickens.
The Dog(48:22): Co-executive producer David Wiener and actor Alycia Debnam-Carey.
Not Fade Away(46:22): Executive producer David Alpert and co-executive producer David Wiener.
Cobalt(45:00): Executive producer David Alpert and co-executive producer/writer David Wiener.
The Good Man(51:09): Co-creator/executive producer Dave Erickson and actors Kim Dickens and Elizabeth Rodriguez.
Also included is a paper insert with a validation code for Ultraviolet for those consumers enamored with watching video on a tiny screen on a mobile device and storing their media in the ether.
Fear The Walking Dead is a worthwhile and entertaining counterpart to its flagship series. The video and audio presentation are excellent on this 2 disc blu-ray set, and the special features on this special edition are everything that fans will desire. The Special Edition of Fear The Walking Dead is recommended to TWD fans in anticipation of the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead season 2 on April 10, 2016.http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ATCA20Q?keywords=fear%20the%20walking%20dead&qid=1458344488&ref_=sr_1_3_twi_blu_1&s=movies-tv&sr=1-3