The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Special Edition

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Special Edition
Just in time for the return of The Walking Dead, Anchor Bay has decided to dust off the first season, since the version they rushed out back in the spring was on the sparse side when it came to the extra stuff. And this new edition definitely isn't. Based on the comic book series of the same name, the show tells the story of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), a police officer that wakes up in a hospital after being injured on the job, only to discover that most people are now zombies. He heads off in search of his family, discovers other survivors and the focus shifts to how they all deal with this new post-apocalyptic world. While George A. Romero might have done it all before, thanks to some incredible makeup, a surprising level of gore and a compelling narrative, The Walking Dead is the quintessential zombie experience. However, this first season isn't perfect, by any means; it might be high on atmosphere, but it's low on character development. If it weren't for the fact that the two sides are so clearly defined – humans vs. zombies – it would be tough to get behind some of the leads. Most of that is because of the pacing, which is damned slow, but this isn't as apparent when all the episodes are available to view in one sitting. However, waiting seven days between episodes was downright painful, at times. Ultimately it's all about the zombies and that's the one thing The Walking Dead does better than almost anything else. Hopefully all the other issues can be dealt with during the more generous 13 episodes that will make up the second season. The actual show is just the same as last time – six episodes filmed beautifully, although still possessing a graininess that makes them feel more authentic. It looks and sounds absolutely fantastic on Blu-Ray, and this new special edition does live up to its billing, finally delivering the set of extras the show deserved. First off, there are the meagre offerings from the original set – a handful of short featurettes that always felt like they were only telling part of the story. That's why it's great to have a commentary track for each of the six episodes, with various cast and crew, including former show runner Frank Darabont, providing a wonderfully entertaining perspective on the pilot. The rest of the new extras take up an entire disc, with the one-hour behind-the-scenes documentary "We Are The Walking Dead" being the highlight, filling in all the gaps left by the previous featurettes. Equally compelling are the two 15-minute pieces dealing with the visual effects used in the show, and also "Adapting The Dead," which covers the transition from comic book to the small screen. Rounding off the new stuff is a black & white version of the pilot episode, which brings the show even closer to the original source material, making this the kind of set the show deserved in the first place. (Anchor Bay)