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Walking Dead: The Complete First Season, The (Blu-ray Review)

10 Apr, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Anchor Bay
$39.98 two-DVD set, $49.99 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal.

You know that new TV series you dismissed out of hand, or passed on for more timely endeavors? DVD and Blu-ray Disc proves you shouldn’t have missed it in the first place.

That’s the case with AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”

A mere six episodes long, the first season of this post-apocalyptic zombie series doesn’t stray from the George A. Romero playbook: The dead have risen and living flesh is their sole desire. The few left alive band together, and all of your emotions are invested in their survival … regardless of how stupid and flawed and silly the characters may be. Yes, it’s still sad and numbingly predictable.

But a funny thing happens while watching this show: You care. And, against all odds, dismissing the knowledge you’ve gained after all the living dead stories you’ve sat through before this … you hope.

Maybe it’s the performance of Andrew Lincoln, superb as deputy sheriff Rick Grimes: resolute, strong and damn near impossible to root against. Maybe it’s the cast of secondary characters. Maybe it’s the gorgeous look of this show, something Romero wishes he could have squeezed into less than two hours (or a mall). Or maybe you’re just into the promise of gore every hour. After the premiere, you knew you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Really, though, what makes “The Walking Dead” series special is just that: It’s a series. About zombies. With every episode feeling and looking like a complete film. It’s everything every great zombie film (Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead) made us love about being piss-in-your-pants scared of the living dead. The only difference is this is stretched into a long-running tale.

AMC has renewed it for another 13 episodes, and fall can’t come soon enough.

The bonuses are extensive, headlined by brief behind-the-scenes featurettes for each episode and a longer, half-hour making-of for the series. A set of smaller featurettes follow the stars, the zombie extras, the makeup and that creepy, poor zombie girl we’re introduced to in the premiere. There’s also a Comic-Con panel bonus.

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