The Walking Dead tells the story of the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse and follows a small group of survivors traveling across the United States in search of a new home away from the hordes of zombies. The group is led by Rick Grimes, who was a police officer in the old world. As their situation grows more and more grim, the group's desperation to survive pushes them to do almost anything to stay alive.
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There has been five full seasons so far of 'The Walking Dead', which is arguably one of the best, if not the best zombie project to ever be put on screen. This is a strong statement too, as the film and television market is completely flooded with new films and television programs that feature the undead in some form or fashion. But with 'The Walking Dead', each season delivers more character development, twists, turns, and blood. This brings us to season five of AMC's flagship series.
Now five seasons in, we don't really need to see any of the characters learning how to kill a zombie, track people, look for food, or handle a weapon of any sorts. Rick Grimes and his new "family" seem to have all that learned now and can operate like the best of Navy Seals when it counts, even if it means dire consequences. A lot of fans have spoken out over the season in that 'The Walking Dead' is more dialogue then action and blood. It's unrelenting, and it goes to show just how amazing and gritty AMC and the filmmakers are here, in not shying away from showing the most gruesome of details. But what really sets this season aside from the past seasons, is that it shows how the human spirit can evolve, devolve, break down, conquer, lose hope, and redeem itself in certain situations. Why have Rick and his family stayed alive this long is a question that this season tries to answer. It isn't always pretty or likable, but time and time again, we see that Rick and his crew always do the right thing, or at least try to.He and his group are basically living like the undead themselves, wandering around a devastated world, but what sets them apart is their humanity in the end, even if they have to get dirty achieving their goal.
Then there is the story arc with Beth and Noah in a hospital run by a militarized police force and few cowardly doctors. This situation is very much based on who has the most power and those who abuse it, which of course causes frightening problems for everyone involved. This also shows just how humans as a whole will go to a terrible pat of their psyche during a "survival" moment in order to achieve what they think is right, but it never is.
Then there is the setting of the Alexandria Safe Zone, where Rick and his group end up at. This place consists of numerous very nice, big houses, fully furnished, and populated by a very select group of people, who seem to have forgotten the world outside the large walls they built. They go on with their lives, having dinner parties, working to keep the area safe from the undead, and even baking cookies. This is something that Rick and his family thought they'd never see again. This situation shows how the human psyche wants to neglect and deny what is going on outside.
This is where Rick and his group come head to head with the people of Alexandria, as they need to learn that life is definitely not all snuggles and tupperware parties anymore, as Rick and his family have definitely seen in the past four seasons. That's what makes this fifth season truly tick. It's seeing Rick and everyone else come together no matter what the obstacles, helping each other survive in this harsh world, even when their spirit and minds have lost it. Each actor sells their performance as well, giving in to their raw emotions in each episode. It's very believable.
Season five of 'The Walking Dead' is easily my favorite so far.
The fifth season of 'The Walking Dead' comes with a mighty 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Just like with previous releases of this show, this video presentation is just amazing. AMC gives this zombie apocalyptic show an excellent layer of grain throughout, to give that filmic feel and war torn rough look, however, nothing looks bad in any way, shape, or form. It's just the atmosphere this video presentation gives that were not watching something that went thru the high-end digital car-wash, but rather something that looks a bit more gritty, and it pays off completely.
I mean, you really don't want to see Daryl's eye makeup and blush when he shoots an arrow through a zombies head do you? No, but you want to see every bubble in the blood and guts, and dirt on the intestines as clear as possible, right? That's exactly what you get here. The detail is always sharp and vivid, showing excellent facial features such as sweat, blood, and individual hairs in everyone's beard. The gore looks amazing as well her with the perfect color of red for blood. The wider shots have tons of depth and show excellent detailing in the props, and background with every imperfection in the tress, wooded church, and zombie flesh.
Colors are vibrant and very realistic, and are very inviting, despite the horror aspect of the show. Everything is balanced and managed here nicely. The black levels are always deep and inky, never having any crush or bleed overs into a purple hue. Skin tones are natural, even with heavier makeup as well. Lastly, there are no compression issues or noise to speak about, leaving this video presentation with excellent marks.
This release comes with an amazing Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio mix and couldn't sound better if it tried. Every noise and sound has been perfectly placed throughout the season. Every zombie growl and scream is horrifying, no matter if it's coming from one-hundred yards away, or is biting one of our faithful characters. Each sound effect and noise is layered and balanced to give the most realistic sound.
The ambient noises of distant zombie moans, insect sounds, and general forest noises all sound crisp, clear, and loud. The big thunderstorm in this season is monstrous and packs a serious punch as each speaker flows with perfect, robust thunder and lighting strikes. You'll feel like there is a storm brewing in your house. Gun shots, explosions, and every head crush, and gut punch sounds equally great and always comes with a strong impact. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, even in the softer spoken scenes, and free of any pops, cracks, shrills, and hiss.
The dynamic range is extremely wide here and the LFE is excellent. The score and opening credits always fill the room with the suspense and impending scares and crescendos that we've come to expect as well. The bass rumbles throughout the show loudly, but never goes into rocky territory. This audio presentation is incredible.
Audio Commentaries - There are six different audio commentaries for five different episodes throughout this season. There are two for the opening episode of this fifth season, one for the final episode, as well as a few in between. They feature the cast and crew, discussing some of the bigger plot points, characters, stunts, and visual effects through each episode. The actor commentaries are more on the anecdotal and fun side, whereas the filmmaker commentaries tend to be more technical, but all are worth a listen.
Inside 'The Walking Dead' (HD, 80 Mins.) - Each of the 16 episodes have their own mini look inside the show, where the cast and crew all give interviews to aspects specific to each episode. It's a great companion piece to each episode, all of which last around the five minute mark.
The Making of 'The Walking Dead' (HD, 70 Mins.) - Not to be confused with the above 'Inside the Walking Dead', but this 'Making of' is more about how they made each episode, showing the stunts, gore, make up effects, and visual effects of each episode, rather than having tons of talking head interviews, discussing the story and characters. These were tons of fun to watch, as each of the 16 episodes receives their own mini featurette that lasts around four to five minutes each.
The Making of Alexandria (HD, 10 Mins.) - A peak at how AMC and the show partnered with a real estate group in building and using a brand new housing development for the walled-in location of Alexandria. Interviews and construction footage show just how much work went into building the ten homes used for the shoot.
Beth's Journey (HD, 5 Mins.) - The cast and crew discuss the character of Beth and how her character started out in the series, and where she ended up.
Bob's Journey ( HD, 5 Mins.) - The cast and crew discuss the character of Bob and how his character started out in the series, and where he ended up.
Noah's Journey (HD, 5 Mins.) - The cast and crew discuss the character of Noah and how his character started out in the series, and where he ended up.
Tyreese's Journey (HD, 7 Mins.) - The cast and crew discuss the character of Tyreese and how his character started out in the series, and where he ended up.
A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz (HD, 8 Mins.) - A look at Michael Cudlitz who plays Abraham in the show going through a regular day of production. We see him getting his mic in position, handling guns, and generally discussing his character and camera shots.
A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt (HD, 8 Mins.) - A fun look at Josh McDermitt who plays Eugene in the show going though a standard day of production. We see him go through makeup, putting on his mullet, getting blood pored on him, and rehearsing scenes.
Rotters in the Flesh (HD, 5 Mins.) - For you gore-hounds, this extra is just for you. This focuses on the most gruesome and exciting practical visual effects for this season. Tons of blood and guts here.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 16 Mins.) - There are several deleted scenes, none of which are heavy in action or blood, but rather more dialogue between characters. Nothing really to see.
Season five of 'The Walking Dead' has it all, folks. It has strong character development with each character, so much so, that you form a bond with them. The story arcs are all horrifying and energetic throughout. And the zombies are the most gruesome I've seen in the show yet. The blood and guts flow like a river in each episode, which should satisfy the gore-fans out there. The video and audio presentations are both high end and all of the many extras are all worth watching over and over. Season five of 'The Walking Dead' is my favorite so far, and this set is an absolute MUST-OWN!
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.