On October 31st, 2010, The Walking Dead premiered on AMC and the world of horror on TV was permanently changed. Say what you want about the trajectory of this show, there is no denying the impact it has had on mainstream television.
I became a fan of zombie-horror movies when I was a kid, and my mom, who is a horror fan herself, recited to me, the entire plot of Night of the Living Dead. I was instantly hooked on the idea of the dead returning to "life" and devouring the flesh of the living. The thought, at once, intrigued and terrified me. I needed to see it! Soon after, on a sleepover at our cousin's house, my older cousin, who had already seen Romero's Dawn of the Dead, proceeded to scare the crap out of the younger kids,myself included, by regaling us with a full-blown synopsis of the film, and he did not spare the gory details.
That clinched it, I had become a super- fan of George Romero's movies and I hadn't seen a single second of film footage.
It was official, zombies had usurped vampires as my favorite undead. That was all she wrote.
Fast forward almost 40 years, I'm still addicted to zombies, and The Walking Dead.
In case you aren't caught up:
Last season brought the culmination of "All Out War," which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their leader, Negan. With Negan's life in his hands, Rick had a character-defining choice in front of him, and he spared Negan to uphold the values his late son, Carl, championed – values that created conflict within his group. Now, with our survivors rebuilding civilization under Rick's leadership a year and a half after the end of the war, it's a time of relative peace among the communities. However, the world they knew is rapidly changing, nature is literally taking over, and, as time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles and danger. But nothing can prepare them for the formidable force they're about to encounter, threatening the very idea of civilization our survivors have worked so hard to build.
As usual, I try my best to avoid a play-by-play review, as you can get that anywhere, and while I am no longer an uber fan of this show, I will say that it has never stopped trying to push the envelope of what a zombie show can be. The acting, directing, and cinematography are all excellent. Even beyond that, the makeup and special effects have taken zombies to the next level and I am never disappointed in seeing the next new "Gag"; decapitated heads on spikes, severed limbs, and chewed flesh continue to delight and amaze and keep us completely immersed in TWD universe.
Which brings us to the specs of this season-1080p, 16x9 (1.78:1) presentation and you are right there in the middle of the apocalypse. The grime and gore of everyday life, are presented in all its gloriously sweaty, HD goodness. From the fog-filled graveyard where the heroes come face to face with the Whisperers for the first time to the precarious, civilized cleanliness of Alexandria, the set pieces POP with amazing depth of field and clarity, you will all appreciate and, sometimes, even stare at, lovingly. And most of all, you will relish the look of the masks of the whisperers, which are actually quite scary, and incredibly detailed.
The Audio is impressive as well, presented in English 7.1 Dolby True HD. This is a seriously immersive and bombastic auditory experience, from the hushed sibilance as the Whisperers threaten the survivors, the moans of the undead, to simple conversations, the Dolby True HD will draw you into the bleak and terrifying world of a never-ending apocalypse.
There is no escape from the special features, either, as AMC Studios brings us a decent smattering of behind-the-scenes-goodness. Deleted Scenes, Seasons Change, In Memorium, and The Whisperers: Behind the Mask, and the Farewell to Rick (I admit I was shocked when they killed off Carl and felt that Rick was next but I was still sad to see him go). These, as well as a few others, will keep you bloody until October 6th, when season 10 premiers.
All in all, AMC Studios always presents an excellent package and at over 12 hours, this season is jam-packed with action and gore aplenty. Seriously, if you are a fan and/or completest I know you aren't waiting to read this review to get this set. If you are on the fence, have your friend share the Digital code and enjoy it, it will probably force you to go out and get a physical copy, too. Or if you're one of those types that's embarrassed to still admit you're a fan, you could always dress up in a zombie mask, and hide your identity.
Special Features Include:
- Deleted Scenes
- "Seasons Change" Featurette
- "In Memoriam" Featurette
- "The Whisperers: Behind the Mask" Featurette
- "Rick Farewell" Featurette
- "Time Jump" Featurette
- Bonus Scene: Episode 908
- "Inside Episode …" Featurettes per episode
- "Making of …" Featurettes per episode