The Walking Dead Season 2 Blu-ray Review
“The Walking Dead” collapses in season two.
If there’s one word to describe the 13 episode season two, it is “farm.” Yes folks, Rick, Daryl, Carl, Shane, Lori, Glenn, Andrea, Dale, T-Dog, and Carol spend most of the season on a farm (Hershel’s Farm to be exact). You can expect lots of bickering, whining, arguing, and Rick and Hershel clashing over ideologies on said farm. There’s also a few subplots involving Carol’s daughter Sophia missing, medical supplies, a pregnancy, Shane going nuts, secrets, human baddies, the death of major characters, and the introduction of new characters (namely Maggie and Hershel).
After an intense season premiere featuring a stand-out sequence involving a zombie herd on an abandoned car filled highway, the season went downhill from there until the final moments of the season finale (I’ll get to that soon). Aside from the fact that characters were on the farm for far too long doing nothing, there are several reasons why this season was a complete failure.
For one, former showrunner Frank Darabont is sorely missed here. The real reason the show worked was because of him. His style and vision made the first season a smash TV hit (not Robert Kirkman’s story). Without him, there’s a big hole in this show visually and creatively and it shows.
Secondly, the absence of Merle (aside from a vision cameo) also hurts the show. Despite the fact that his character is an ass, he brought a certain presence to the show that was needed. He created conflict and tension. To put it simply, he shook things up.
Last, but not least, the show’s budget cuts were the true killer of this season. Without the bigger budget the first season had, the writers had to stall thereby creating many uneventful episodes. The writing also seemed to take a hit here with some truly idiotic character actions (see Carl taunting a zombie and letting him escape).
As bad as this season is, however, don’t abandon the show just yet. The season finale gives us 2 major (albeit long predicted) moments that ‘Dead’ fans have been waiting for. I won’t spoil them, but suffice to say, they show great promise for season 3. Time will tell whether or not the series can redeem itself though.
The series, which is presented in 1.78:1 1080p, looks really gritty and grainy on Blu-ray. I have to say I was not too impressed with this transfer as it made it look like it was shot in the 70’s. Truth be told, the series looked better during the TV broadcasts.
The video quality may be iffy, but the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track delivers the goods. From the roar of Daryl’s motorcycle to the zombie moans, this is one sharp audio track.
* 6 cheesy, badly acted webisodes. Don’t bother with these.
* Anchor Bay, video game, and AMC ads.
* Commentary on “What Lies Ahead” by Glen Mazzara, Gale Anne Hurd, Robert Kirkman and David Alpert. Zzzz.
* Commentary on “Pretty Much Dead Already” by Glen Mazzara, Julius Ramsay, Scott M. Gimple, and Michelle MacLaren. Lots of quiet spots and Mazzara ramblings.
* A more talkative commentary on “Nebraska” by Steve Yeun, Scott Wilson, Glen Mazzara, and Evan Reilly.
* Commentary on “Judge, Jury, Executioner” by Glen Mazzara, Greg Nictoero, Laurie Holden, and Angela Kang. More non-excitement.
* Commentary on “Beside The Dying Fire” by Glen Mazzara, Ernest Dickerson, Greg Nicotero, Norman Reedus, and Robert Kirkman. Far and away the best commentary on this set. Listen to this one and skip the others.
* Deleted scenes from 8 episodes with optional commentary by Glen Mazzara.
* 11 short featurettes about making a gory scene, Bear McCreary’s great score, the farm set, similarities and differences between the comics and the show, season 2 overall, sound f/x, the well scene, Greg Nicotero’s work, the cast, Andrea, and costume design.