Review: The Complete Second Season of THE WALKING DEAD (Blu-Ray)

If you watch one show on television, it must be The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead Complete Second Season (2012)

Directed By: Various

Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Scott Wilson.

Format: Blu-Ray

Distributed By: Anchor Bay Entertainment

When the idea to make Robert Kirkman’s hit comic series into a television drama came about, horror fans rejoiced. For good reason. The show broke records constantly and fans were on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens next to the small band of survivors. Yet there was a storm brewing behind the scenes that no one saw coming (at least I didn’t) of showrunner Frank Darabont being let go by AMC and the cast almost walking off the project because of it. Some said the show would not be the same. Others felt the first season lacked the epic scale it deserved with Darabont at the helm. The show trudged along and showed everyone from critics to die hard fans, that the zombies were here to stay.

It’s nice to go back and watch season two in retrospect and see exactly why this show is the best horror related drama on television. There is no question that the first half of the season was plagued by clunky plot points and scenes that seemed to drag on with no real resolutions found. Yet this did not deter die hard fans who appreciated the honesty and sincerer aspects of the shows characters. The shows ensemble performance, gloomy writing, and honest to god scare factor, still remained key for many of the episodes throughout.

For those who have yet to see the second season, we find our band of survivors  taking shelter at an isolated farmhouse owned by Herschel Greene (Scott Wilson). A  survivor who reluctantly accepts Rick’s group into his stead after a series of mishaps force them to take shelter from a zombie horde.As one would expect, the two factions do not always get along and it shows. This paves the way for a season’s worth of explosive confrontations as Rick desperately tries keeping the peace amidst a situation that only gets worse and worse.

This season flows particularly better than the debut season. Considering that during the mid way point of the season showrunners were switched and the episodes picked up pace. The person who has some of the most emotional scenes in this season is Shane (John Bernthal). The anger and frustration of a jilted ex-lover is so thick it can be cut with a machete. We also see Rick finally realize that he can not be everyone’s friend. The tension between characters (not only between Shane and Rick) is intense. Every episode has moments where characters are at each others throats.

FX master Greg Nicotero’s work on this season is even more amazing than the premier season. Screwdrivers through eyes, skulls being crushed,guts being eaten/ripped out  in excruciating ways and some of the best looking “walkers” to date. It is enough to make any gore hound leap for joy. Season two definitely found it’s stride as far as effects go and character development.

With the shows third season coming our way in October one must realize that this show is just getting started. Season two is solid. The only qualm I have is that episodes 2-6 are a bit slow as stated before. Starting with episode 7 things start speeding up and never really slow down. For a show that is a fan favorite, season three could possibly be historic.

Anchor Bay has really done an amazing job with this blu-ray. The colors are crisp as well as very vibrant. The detail on this blu-ray is astonishing. You can almost see the dirt and grime under the nails of the walkers. The grain structure remains constant throughout. Fans of the show will surely adore this release from Anchor Bay.

The 7.1 Dolby Digital TrueHD sound quality makes the gunshots sound clear and very textured. The dialogue levels are spot on and not one word is muffled by the surrounding chaos that ensues around the characters. All in  all the sounds on this blu-ray are clear and crisp, so much so that some times you actually feel like your in on the action.

Supplement wise, this set has a ton. Five commentary tracks and a ton of featurettes and behind the scenes features.

Here is a rundown of the featurettes.

All The Guts Inside -Want to know how Greg Nicotero and his team did the “zombie autopsy” scene? This shows you how in a nice five minute featurette.

Live or Let Die (6:51) – The morality of many of the cast is discussed versus their alter egos in the original comic. Some people will be around for awhile…or will they?

The Meat of the Music (7:54) – Offers some insight into the creative process of Bear McCreary’s terrific musical score.

Fire on Set (6:10) – A nice look at Herschels farm and the infamous barn.

The Ink is Alive (9:06) – An interview with Robert Kirkman focusing on the similarities and differences between the show and the book. A fun interview that brakes things down from the man who created it all.

The Sound of the Effects (4:32) – A cool bit of behind the scenes footage of how the foley artists work on the show to make things sound even more gruesome.

In the Dead Water (5:05) – Remember that bloated blob of a zombie? We meet him up close and personal.

You Could Make a Killing (6:20) – Here, Greg Nicotero’s importance to the production is emphasized: spectacular make-up FX work, his role as the series’ “zombie” advisor and his directorial debut. Nicotero brings it.

She Will Fight (5:40) – A look at Andrea’s character arc featuring an interview with actress Laurie Holden.

The Cast on Season 2 (4:50) – This is a nice  bunch of sound bites from the actors.

Extras Wardrobe (2:48) -This shows how much detail goes into the walkers “look”.

If the zombie action throughout the season wasn’t enough, Torn Apart is just for you. It’s six webisodes (complete with ‘Play All’ option) which can be played with optional Greg Nicotero commentary.

Finally, we get a slew of deleted scenes. This I will not get into detail about because I personally hate when people give too much away on any review. You must watch these deleted scenes though. They show what could have added, or sadly taken away from, an already amazing Blu-Ray set.

The second season of The Walking Dead is a set well put together by Anchor Bay. From its presentation to the sets supplemental material, Anchor Bay really knows how to bring it.

This is one Blu-Ray set that is a must own for not only zombie fans but for anyone who knows what quality television is. This set is highly recommended.

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