The Walking Dead Season 1
Created by: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont
Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Is there any horror fan out there that does not already know about this amazing series, let alone haven’t already seen it? I mean, as far as horror on film, video or whatever, The Walking Dead was easily the best thing to come out in 2010. Nothing else came close. But just in case you’ve recently woke up out of a coma, or perhaps crawled out of your own grave, let me give you the skinny about this awesome TV show now that it has now been released on Blu-ray.
Comic book readers already know about the multi-award winning, ongoing series by Robert Kirkman. The book has been around for a number of years now and it easily deserves all the accolades it has, and will continue to get. It is character driven story so that the living people in it come off as real and aren’t just there as zombie chow. It is in all ways great and wonderful, but when word that AMC was going to bring the comic books to TV, the fans all asked, “how the hell is that going to happen?” I mean a very gory, adult-oriented zombie story that deals with a lot of hard, unpleasant things happening all the time, just how the hell was that going to fly on basic cable? HBO and SHOWTIME is one thing, but AMC is bound by the moral watchdogs over at the FCC, so there’s no way all the glorious zombie gut munching from the comics were going to make it into the TV show, right?
Well surprisingly not only did the show fly like a champ, but it has some Grade A gore. However as nice of a surprise as the intact blood and guts is, it is only one of the things that make this show so great.
With stories by Kirkman, the aforementioned special effects overseen by KNB’s Greg Nicotero, and Frank Darabont, one of the best directors in the game (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist) not only producing and writing, but directing the pilot episode, how could this show not be awesome? I mean that’s a lot of talented people lending their considerable knowhow to the effort and it shows.
At its core, The Walking Dead is a show about survival. A cop is wounded in the line of duty and slips into coma, only to awaken some time later into a nightmare world populated by the walking, hungry, murderous dead. And yes, if that sounds a lot like the “zombie” flick, 28 Days Later, you’re not the first one to make that observation. Anyway our main hero, Rick, first goes on a journey to find his missing wife and child and then tries to lead them, and a small band of survivors, to safety. Along the way there is the ever present threat of the zombies, but just as the real stars of the show are the human survivors, the real threats just might be other humans, either driven mad or looking to take advantage of the chaos to indulge their own, wicked appetites.
But wait, I hear some of you say, what if you read the comic books, is the TV show just a rehash of them? Short answer is thankfully no. While the characters and basics of plot are there, enough of it has been changed so that fans of the comic will still find plenty of surprises here. While the pilot was a fateful adaptation of Kirkman’s comic, things start changing in the second episode and by the end of the season the story has taken a turn that was never even hinted at in the comic book series. The merits of that change can be argued by the fans, but the fact that new twists and turns are being introduced into the show, while still keeping the majority of the story that made the comics so great intact, is a good thing.
In addition to the two discs containing the six episodes of the first season, the Blu-ray has a number of extras and featurettes including a half hour general overview of the series called “The Making of The Walking Dead.” Additionally, each of the six episodes has a short (ten minutes or so) special focusing on the specifics of its episode. Kirkman hosts a short “sneak peak” of the show and Nicotero has a “Zombie Makeup Tips for Halloween” that you can do at home with everyday, household items. Highlights from San Diego’s Comic Con’s Walking Dead panel with the creators and producers, trailers, and six deleted scenes and on set interviews round out the extra undead goodness these Blu-rays have to offer.
Getting this Blu-ray set is a no brainer. Sure, not every episode is stellar (name me a TV show that does that, if you can) but far more than not are winners. Nothing like this has been on television before and it is just simply amazing that it is on now. Shows that dare to take chances, and succeed so wonderfully, should be celebrated and supported. Do your horrorhead civic duty and get these Blu-rays today. The fact that you’ll have some very good television to watch in glorious high definition, well, consider that a bonus.