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August 30, 2012

TV on Blu-ray Review: The Walking Dead - Season Two (2011)

When Robert Kirkman unleashed The Walking Dead on the comic book world a few years back, possibly the last thing on his mind had to be that it would be one of the most popular shows (on American Movie Classics of all places). Well, it is even with some imperfections, this thrilling story of a group of survivors battling a zombie apocalypse was easily granted another season to continue the creepiness.

Director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist) was a big cog in The Walking Dead, unfortunately (to many fans, including this one) he was replaced in the director’s chair. Did it help or hurt the fine series? You can now see whether it did or not as it’s being released on to Blu-ray and DVD by Anchor Bay and AMC.

Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is back with all of the survivors from the explosion at the laboratory that ended last year’s season. He’s on a rooftop surveying what’s left of the city and getting ready to lead his very mixed group of survivors including Darryl (Norman Reedus), Andrew’s wife, Lori (Sarah Callies), Shane (Jon Bernthal), Dale (Jeffrey Demunn) and Andrew’s son, Carl (Chandler Riggs). We get some more additions to the group as Rick finds refuge with a wounded Carl on a farm. Veteran actor Scott Wilson (Monster, G.I Jane) is the most notable inclusion to the cast as Hershel, a doctor who not-so eagerly brings this group into the safety of his farm.

The second season starts off beautifully in the opener as there’s a ton of action, mucho zombie splatter and huge cliffhanger at the conclusion of the 90 minute premiere. From here as the episodes go on there are plenty of clashes with Hershel and Shane which adds plenty of drama in between the gory zombie attacks which we all love so much from the series.

There is unfortunately some melodramatic fluff and even some dull patches towards the middle of the season but this comes to a halt as the mid-season episode concludes with some pretty vicious and even shocking blood-shed at the Rick opens up Hershel’s large farmhouse to find a flesh-eating surprise.

If the gory delights of season two aren’t enough Anchor Bay and AMC has put together a host of extras  that include commentaries over select episodes, featurettes, deleted scenes and even webisodes directed by KNB FX wiz Greg Nicotero. The webisodes are much better than you’d think as they follow the iconic zombie from season one’s debut episode, Bicycle Girl. The deleted scenes are really what I enjoyed most - notably the original opening to season two that didn’t make the final cut. Rick and the survivors start off in a Winnebago instead of on a rooftop. It’s pretty enjoyable stuff that includes some extra zombie action.

No Frank Darabont... no problem! The Walking Dead shines even brighter in its second season and looks fantastic in this Blu-ray release from Anchor Bay that should not be missed! Highly Recommended.

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