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The Walking Dead Season 3 Blu-ray Review

The Walking Dead Season 3 Blu-ray

The third season of “The Walking Dead” is better than the second season, but that’s not saying much.

In the 16 episode season 3, the premiere episode kicks off with Rick, Daryl, Carl, a pregnant Lori, Hershel, T-Dog, Maggie, Glenn, and Carol arriving at an apparently abandoned prison. Of course, you can imagine how boring the series would be if the prison was abandoned, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the prison is in fact occupied. Meanwhile, we learn that Andrea has been traveling with the sword wielding Michonne. The two are searching for a safe place to stay, but their trip is cut short when they are captured and are taken to a town called Woodbury. This populated town seems like an ideal location as it is both heavily guarded and filled with supplies, but alas, it is run by the shady Governor who is hiding some rather nasty secrets. Michonne is immediately suspicious of the Governor, but for some inexplicable reason, Andrea seems to be on board with both The Governor and Woodbury. Naturally, these two storylines eventually collide in the season and a desperate power struggle ensues.

Other key storylines this season involve: zombie attacks (duh), major character deaths, Carl maturing, Lori’s baby, the return of Daryl’s brother Merle, Rick losing his mind, Glenn and Maggie being captured by Merle, Walker experiments done by Woodbury resident Milton, a new group of survivors (led by Tyreese), and a reappearance of a fan favorite character from season 1.

When season 1 hit the small screen back in 2010, “The Walking Dead” felt poised to the next big TV show. It was clear that veteran writer Frank Darabont really understood Robert Kirkman’s comic material and that he had a great vision for the series. Unfortunately, all of that hope and promise went out the window in season 2 when Darabont was no longer attached to the program. Season 2 was largely filled with irritating character moments and stalled storylines. The only truly excting moment was the ending of the season finale “Beside The Dying Fire” which teased events for season 3. Now, the good news is that season 3 is a definite improvement over season 2. The bad news? The show is still unable to reach its potential.

“The Walking Dead” is the type of show that you keep hoping gets better, but it never does. Sure, the action picks up this season, but it’s all meaningless due to the lackluster characterization. Look, I’m all for making characters flawed, but there’s a point where character flaws wind up making characters detestable. For example, let’s take the character of Andrea. In season 1, I was rather fond of her character. I especially liked the chemistry between Andrea and her sister Amy. Ever since season 1, however, Andrea has been nothing but an unintelligent whiner. Without giving away any spoilers, Andrea becomes an infuriating idiot who seems unaware of what is going on or what she is even doing. Her clueless actions are a source of major conflicts this season and, to be honest, it hampers the show overall. Her character is flat-out absurd and I don’t understand why the writers decided to degrade her character so severely. It’s insulting to the audience and to actress Laurie Holden.

Another character who becomes a real headache is Rick. Again, I’m going to avoid spoilers here, but I will say that Rick becomes an irrational headcase. Gone is the heroic leader of old. Instead, we have a man who trusts no one and nearly loses his mind. It’s sad to see that his formerly bratty son has become a stronger and braver character than he has.

The biggest character disappointment, however, has to be Michonne. Anyone who has read the comics knows that she is an immensely popular bad-ass character. For years fans were waiting to see her character on screen and when she finally did show up, all she did was scowl. Sure, she can fight with a sword, but Danai Gurira’s acting range is limited to say the least.

On the plus side, there are two characters that make this season bearable and that is The Governor (David Morrissey) and Merle (Michael Rooker). While I do think The Governor arc is overplayed at this point, his villainous character is easily the most interesting thing to happen on the show since the first appearance of Merle. He’s a very deep and complex character and Morrissey acts his butt off here. On the subject of Merle, it’s great to see Rooker back reprising the fan favorite character. As I mentioned in my season 2 review, I thought that the second season sorely lacked a REAL appearance by Merle. It was definitely satisfying to see Merle and Daryl (Norman Reedus) together at last, but I can’t help but feel like more could have been done with Merle this season (you’ll see what I mean).

Getting off the subject of the characters, I can’t end this review without talking about the overall story of season 3. For a survival zombie show, “The Walking Dead” has certainly become more concerned with human shootouts at this point. Power struggles and philosophical differences prove to be the major conflicts in this season and they certainly beat you over the head with these ideas. Even worse, nothing is even resolved by season’s end! It feels like the writers are just going in circles at this point. It’s time for some new ideas. Maybe the new showrunner (yes, another one) will offer up some new ideas?  

Video/Audio:

“The Walking Dead,” which is presented in 1.78:1 1080p, definitely looks better on Blu-ray than it does on TV. The gritty cinematography style is much more apparent on Blu-ray and everything simply looks sharper than the hi-def broadcasts.

From the MANY shootouts to, Bear McCreary’s score, the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track will undoubtedly please fans of the show.

Extras:
* Deleted scenes from the episodes “Walk With Me,” “Say The Word,” “Hounded,” “Home,” “I Ain’t No Judas,” and “Clear.”
* “Rising Son”- A featurette on the characterization of Rick’s son Carl (played by Chandler Riggs).
* “Evil Eye”- A featurette on the villainous Governor character (portrayed by David Morrissey)
* “Safety Behind Bars”- An extra about the prison location/set.
* “Michonne vs. The Governor”- A pretty self-explanatory piece about the clash between the two characters.
* 5 commentary tracks on episodes 4, 5, 8, 9 and 15. Episode 4 (“Killer Within”) features Guy Ferland and IronE Singleton (T-Bone), episode 5 (“Say The Word”) contains the commentators Greg Nicotero and Danai Gurira (Michonne), episode 8 (“Made For Suffer) has creator Robert Kirkman, David Alpert, mega producer Gale Anne Hurd and Danai Gurira, episode 9 (“The Suicide King”) features Gale Anne Hurd and Danai Gurira and lastly episode 15 (“The Sorrowful Life” features Merle himself- Michael Rooker and f/x master Greg Nictoero. None of the tracks are particularly exciting listens.
* A booklet featuring AMC ads and “The Walking Dead” merchandise.
* “Gone, But Not Forgotten”- An extra about a major character death. I won’t spoil it for you.
* “Heart Of A Warrior”- A Michonne (Danai Gurira) centric featurette.
* “Making The Dead”- An extra about Greg Nicotero’s practical F/X and the computer generated F/X.
* “Guts And Glory”- A look at other character deaths. Again, no spoilers here.
* AMC and “The Walking Dead” ads.

Summary: There’s no denying that “The Walking Dead” has become a cultural phenomenon, but I can’t see why people keep tuning in week after week. I for one am tired of giving this show a chance as I can’t buy into the characters anymore. I don’t care how appealing the zombie apocalypse genre is, it’s just not worth slogging through this series. If you really love zombies and or the zombie apocalypse, do yourself a favor and just watch the works of George Romero instead. Note: “The Walking Dead” Season 4 premieres October 13th.

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September 4, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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