Tags: AMC, Anchor Bay, Andrew Lincoln, Andrew Rothenberg, Bear McCreary, Chandler Riggs, Frank Darabont, Gregory Nicotero, IronE Singleton, Jeffrey DeMunn, Jeryl Prescott, Jon Bernthal, Juan Gabriel Pareja, KNB EFX Group, Laurie Holdon, Melissa Suzanne McBride, Norman Reedus, Robert Kirkman, Sarah Wayne Callies, Starz, The Walking Dead
has an average rating of 9.0 on IMDb
1080p in AVC on TWO 50gb discs
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
are ALL in Hi-Def & very worthwhile
– 292 minutes
– AMC / Anchor Bay (Starz)
Disc 1 uses 44.3GB total. Disc 2 uses 33.5GB total.
Street Date: March 8th, 2011
Overall Verdict – Highly Recommended
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Show Itself is based on the graphic novel series (of the same title) created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The comic (graphic novel) series was adapted (developed) into a television series by Academy Award-nominee Frank Darabont who most know for directing adaptations of Stephen King‘s “The Shawshank Redemption“, “The Green Mile“, and “The Mist” as films. Darabont also served as the Executive Producer, Writer and even Director on the first episode. That first episode premiered on AMC during their Halloween “Fearfest” last year (October 31st, 2010) and became the most watched drama series in cable history for the age demographic of adults 18-49 with 3.5 million viewers. It has since became a big hit amongst both the viewers and critics alike.
The story starts us out by introducing us to our main character who we share the experience of witnessing glimpses before and shortly after the zombie invasion takes place outside of Atlanta, Georgia; where the show is actually filmed on location. Our main character is a sheriff named “Rick Grimes” (played by Andrew Lincoln), who gets severely injured early on (as shown in the flashbacks) and ends-up in a coma as result. His partner, officer “Shane Wilson” (played by Jon Bernthal), stays by his side in the hospital for a while, but when Rick awakes from the coma, he finds himself completely alone in a hospital. As he leaves the hospital looking for signs of others he sees piles of dead bodies, and soon encounters the undead himself as well as other survivors of this tragedy; both of which make up the entirety of the cast.
The surviving members that make up the rest of the cast include Sarah Wayne Callies (as “Lori Grimes“), Laurie Holdon (as “Andrea“), Jeffrey DeMunn (as “Dale“), Chandler Riggs (as “Carl Grimes“), Steven Yeun (as “Glenn“), Norman Reedus (as “Daryl Dixon“), IronE Singleton (as “T-Dog“), Melissa Suzanne McBride (as “Carol Peletier“), Jeryl Prescott (as “Jacqui“), Andrew Rothenberg (as “Jim“), and Juan Gabriel Pareja (as “Morales“).
The complete 6 episodes of the first season are included and are as follows:
- Episode 1 – “Days Gone By“
- Original Air Date: 10/31/10
- Original Air Date: 11/07/10
- Original Air Date: 11/14/10
- Original Air Date: 11/21/10
- Original Air Date: 11/28/10
- Original Air Date: 12/05/10
Overall, in its short but very entertaining first season, “The Walking Dead” proves to be one of the most popular and promising television series currently on the air; with new episodes (next season) starting this fall on AMC. Fans of the original comic will love this as the creator worked as both a producer and writer on the series. Also worth mentioning, the make-up special effects here were done by Gregory Nicotero of KNB EFX Group. Fans of horror films, especially zombie films will recognize his name and work on previous classics. This show now joins those classic zombie films as it holds up just as entertaining, full of both action and drama in equal amounts — for the most part. If you’re a fan (like myself) of the older zombie films like George A. Romero‘s “Night of the Living Dead“, “Dawn of the Dead” or “Day of the Dead” you’ll very likely enjoy this. Trust me. Also, if you’re snobby and only like stuff that is recognized for awards and such, I’ll add that it was NOMINATED for a Golden Globe.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on TWO BD-50‘s (50 gigabyte, dual-layered Blu-ray Discs) in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. As listed on IMDb’s technical specifications, this was shot on Super 16mm film — hence this results in a very grainy but also detailed visual presentation / transfer to Hi-Def. As mentioned, this show has a very grainy visual quality to it as a result of the Super 16mm source. The black level is solid, fleshtones are accurate, and despite the dismal settings (and circumstances) it does hold a somewhat vibrant color palette. Close-ups actually show-off a rather impressive amount of detail seen in the usual subjects, such as hairs, facial features, and so forth. The blend of CG and makeup special effects is actually rather good for a show shot on location in Atlanta, and not to mention on a somewhat limited budget. On that note, the undead look pretty impressive, and the gore can be pretty disgusting, as you will experience first-hand halfway through episode 2. All and all, this holds a pretty solid and impressive visual presentation to be from a Super 16mm film source but it is very fitting as it adds the old horror film feel. This earns a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality. Fans will be pleased with the quality here as it doesn’t contain as much compression as cable and satellite broadcasts. Very little if any real pixilation here, in fact.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround. This serves as a very, very nice improvement over the Dolby Digital 5.1 that the show was originally broadcast on AMC in. Things start out with some gunfire that sounds very realistic, and makes for good discrete use of the rear channels. Once the show’s intro (theme song) starts, you will hear some terrific use of the lossless 5.1 mix, including some great rear channel presence and loud thunderous LFE for the original music (composed by Bear McCreary). More on how amazing the bass gets later. Let me say that, yes, I realize that dialogue is the most important part here, as this show has some really strong emotional qualities to its storyline. With that being said, I’m extremely pleased to say that the dialogue is delivered perfectly here, and never once requires any volume adjustments in order to decipher to the words being spoken over the action and chaos of a world taken over by the undead. The show’s original music is presented nicely here as well, with a balanced balanced mix amongst the channels in play; and not just in the intro, but throughout the runtime of the series.
On the previous note regarding the impressive LFE performance of this audio track, namely in the first episode, there is point located roughly one hour in where our main character manages to get a ringing in his ears from a gunshot. This drop of pitch, or frequency of bass, is LOUD in manner that it may guarantee some pissed-off neighbors. Don’t we all love a strong 5.1 mix that can pull-off such a feat? Moving on, it is safe to say that every little sound effect bares realism with a great account of fidelity in this mix. It has its more pacified moments, mostly in courtesy of portraying scenes with more dramatic dialogue, but the final product is simply a perfect blend of this and the action. This earns a perfect “5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.
Bonus Materials on this release are housed on DISC 2 and are ALL presented in 1080i Hi-Def (HD) video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 @192kbps sound.
- “Featurettes” includes:
- “Extra Footage” includes:
Overall, the bonus material here are ALL in HD as mentioned and are very worthwhile and lengthy, totalling in at over 100 minutes. Fans will love the “Inside The Walking Dead” featurettes for each episode as well as the making of documentary, the other featurettes and bonus materials. Sadly there’s no audio commentary here on episodes, that and digital copy are the only two things I found to be missing that WOULD have been nice, to have been included.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Please be PATIENT with the slow loading times and keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.