The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit), French Dolby Digital 2.o Surround
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Run Time: 578 Mins.
- Discs: 4 (4 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: August 28, 2012
- List Price: $69.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(All Blu-rayDefinition.com screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Whereas HBO arguably continues to maintain a slight lead in original programming for premium cable channels with their series Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and True Blood leading the way, there really can be no doubt that AMC is making a strong push to claim the thrown for tops in original programming for commercial cable networks. The list of high quality series hailing from the network just continues to grow and astound – The Killing, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Hell on Wheels all grace the network’s lineup. Another critically and commercially successful series from AMC is The Walking Dead, based on the series of graphic novels.
The Walking Dead is like the best of a George A. Romero film come to television every week. In its first season, The Walking Dead established itself as a riveting horror series that needed to be watched. In this second season, it upped the ante. While fans of the novels will likely not be too surprised by some of the events in the second season, the rest of audience surely will, and kudos to the series’ creators for thus far so successfully transitioning a graphic novel series to television.
In season 2, our group of survivors are still making their way through Georgia, the CDC in Atlanta being a bust. The group run into a major problem when, on a highway amongst a group of abandoned cars, they find themselves suddenly surrounded by a herd of walkers and Sophia (Madison Lintz) must run into the woods to escape walkers on her trail. Sheriff Rick (Andrew Lincoln) runs after to try to save her, but loses her when he must leave her behind to try to draw off the two walkers. This leaves the group searching for Sophia for days and leads to another potentially tragic event – Carl (Chandler Riggs) is critically shot by a man hunting a deer in the woods. Rick must save him, so they run to a nearby farm where a doctor, Hershel (Scott Wilson), and his family have been living in seclusion away from the town and walkers. The rest of the group eventually meet up with them at this farm, and there they will stay for the remainder of season 2. It seems idyllic at first, but Hershel himself is hiding something from the group of survivors that threatens the stability and safety of everyone. Meanwhile, tensions between Shane (Jon Bernthal) and Rick seem to be boiling over with Rick’s wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) still stuck in the middle of it all. Andrea (Laurie Holden) continues to become emboldened, growing stronger and taking on more of the security tasks while Glenn (Steven Yeun) finds himself a love interest in Hershel’s daughter Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
The second season of The Walking Dead exceeds the first in every way with its shocking (if you’re unfamiliar with the graphic novels, at least) twists, jaw dropping revelations, and continued explorations of what becomes of humanity in the darkest of situations. It also finishes with one mighty whopper of a cliffhanger and an intense shift in character development.
The Walking Dead looks gritty and grainy, and that’s how it is meant to look. There’s nothing that any transfer to high definition can do about this given that the series is filmed on Kodak Vision3 500T 7219 Super 16mm. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I personally think it helps give the series part of its post-apocalyptic feel. This 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer from Anchor Bay couldn’t be any better. It looks natural with good color reproduction and the best contrast you can squeeze out from the original source. In comparison to the original 1080i broadcasts, which are heavily compressed, well, strike that – there is no comparison. This is miles ahead.
Coming with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit) lossless soundtrack, The Walking Dead on Blu-ray is once again miles ahead of the broadcast versions. The extra back channels aren’t used as aggressively as some of the best 7.1 theatrical mixes I’ve heard, but they definitely add a little something extra to the overall soundstage. The dynamics are superb here, from the slightest snap of a twig in the forest to the blast of a shotgun or rumble of a motorcycle moving across the entire soundstage, this one really works well. Directionality is excellent, and the creepy sounds of the “walkers” gnawing on flesh is a sound that won’t leave you anytime soon.
This collection is packed with extras, from creator and actor audio commentaries to production featurettes in HD. Check out the list below for a more detailed look.
- Audio Commentaries:
- “What Lies Ahead” by executive producer Glen Mazzara, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer/writer Robert Kirkman, and executive producer David Alpert
- “Pretty Much dead Already: by executive producer Glen Mazzara, producer Scott M. Gimple, director Michelle Maclaren and editor Julius Ramsay
- “Nebraska” by executive producer Glen Mazzara, co-executive producer Evan Reilly and actors Scott Wilson and Steven Yeun
- “Judge, Jury, Executioner” by executive producer Glen Mazzara, co-executive producer/special effects make-up artist/director, Greg Nicotero, writer Angela Kang, and actor Laurie Holden
- “Beside the Dying Fire” by executive producer/writer Glen Mazzara, director Ernest Dickerson, co0executive producer/special effects make-up artist Greg Nicotero, executive producer/writer Robert Kirkman and actor Norman Reedus
- All the Guts Inside (1.78:1; HD; 00:05:34) – A quick behind-the-scene look at the zombie autopsy scene.
- Live or Let Die (1.78:1; HD; 00:06:51) – The character arc of Shane in parallel to the original graphic novels is discussed.
- The Meat of the Music (1.78:1; HD; 00:07:54) – Composing and recording the series’ score with Bear McCreary.
- Fire on the Set (1.78:1; HD; 00:06:10) – The farm for season two’s on location shooting.
- The Ink is Alive (1.78:1; HD; 00:09:06) – The creators discuss adapting The Walking Dead from the graphic novels for television and the differences between the series and novels.
- The Sound of the Effects (1.78:1; HD; 00:04:32) – This featurette is rather straightforward. It discusses the post-production re-recording and foley effects of the series.
- In the Dead Water (1.78:1; HD; 00:05:05) – A look at the “zombie in the well” scene.
- You Could Make a Killing (1.78:1; HD; 00:06:20) – A look at Make-up artist Greg Nicotero.
- She Will Fight (1.78:1; HD; 00:05:40) – Looking at Andrea’s character in Season 2.
- The Cast on Season 2 (1.78:1; HD; 00:04:50) – Cast members talk about the second season of the series.
- Extras Wardrobe (1.78:1; HD; 00:02:48) – A quick look at the zombie wardrobes.
- Webisodes #1 – #6 w/optional audio commentaries.
- Deleted Scenes w/ optional audio commentaries (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
- “What Lies Ahead”
- “Save the Last One”
- “Pretty Much Dead Already”
- “Judge, Jury, Executioner”
- “Better Angels”
- “Beside the Dying Fire”
The Definitive Word
An excellent second season that follows up masterfully on the promise of the first. If the show’s creators keep this up, this may well become one of the greatest horror series ever. The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season – get it! Enough said.
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