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The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season(TV) (2013-2014)
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.
For more about The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season and the The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray release, see the The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 15, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Directors: Frank Darabont, Ernest R. Dickerson, Guy Ferland, Greg Nicotero
Writers: Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Nichole Beattie, Greg Nicotero
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Norman Reedus
» See full cast & crew
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review
Hungry for flesh and craving dark end days drama? Look no further.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 15, 2014
You step outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water, you risk your life. And nowadays you breathe, and you risk your life. The only thing you can choose is what you're risking it for.
The Walking Dead couldn't be any less about zombies if it tried. The undead amblers really only serve as a backdrop for a study of the human condition under stress and incredible duress -- stress and duress inside man, between men, and throughout the larger world around him -- working as sort of a dramatic propellant for that deeper exploration, a convenience meant to facilitate an inward glimpse by way of outward strain. The show does well in not so much disguising this, but rather in seamlessly integrating it into the larger action context that sees a band of survivors coming together and constantly threatening to tear apart from within the group and from outside of it, held together only by the craving to survive -- which, in this season, is more deeply explored -- and the last sinewy strings of humanity that remain in a world all but deprived of it and that has all but stripped people clean of their own centers. In that way, one may see the flesh-eating zombies -- their own outer flesh ripped apart and innards exposed -- as the final piece of man's destruction, tearing away the living's flesh and releasing the last little bit of humanity into an empty void of a world that instantly erases the spirit and leaves only a greater nothingness behind. The show goes much further than the satirical, consumerist-centered jabs taken by George A. Romero in the superb Dawn of the Dead. The Walking Dead allows for a much greater -- lengthier, meatier -- study of a world falling apart, one populated with broken people who live and die, literally and metaphorically, within it.
The ever-growing group of survivors, led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), remains holed up in the abandoned prison, safe inside but only thanks to a constant battle against the walkers -- the living dead -- meandering about the permitter, hoping to stumble upon a way in to feast on living flesh. Rick has taken to farming and gardening, as best he can given the limited space and resources, while other members of the group are making do inside the prison and scavenging for supplies outside of it. Unfortunately, a new danger arises that threatens the prison's population: disease. It's fast-spreading and kills its victims with precious little warning or time to prepare. That also means walkers inside the prison and a fight for survival against companions suddenly turned into zombies. Sadly, that's not the only threat the survivors face. An old enemy, renewed by a newfound purpose and companions but still hellbent on revenge against Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira), and everyone else in the prison, gathers his forces to take what he wants and do so through any means necessary. Can the group remain together and withstand the coming assault or will they be scattered and forced to seek out new but unpredictable shelter?
There's so much dramatic goodness going in The Walking Dead's fourth season that it sometimes becomes a blur of pain and hope, certainty and doubt, stability and uncertainty, all mixed together with very dangerous action that serves only to reinforce the dramatic challenges that define the series. Yet beyond the dark and under the surface, lightly hopeful themes remain. Season four challenges viewers to ponder life in a world like the one depicted in the show, asking at what point does death become preferable to life, for the benefit of the one and/or the benefit of the many? When does surrender to the scenario become preferable to the struggle to beat it? When does the stress irrevocably alter a person for the worse? When does life -- the actual, literal act of living -- become more of a burden than is worth carrying? Who makes the choices? What influences the choices? The show displays a deep command and examination of the conundrums of the psychology of life and death in the simplest terms and the most complicated terms alike, the former defined by the existence of the flesh and the latter the test of and strain on the soul. The characters -- and the audience, by proxy -- are constantly challenged to weigh it all on a scale with only two readings: life and death. they are tasked with determining when the weight on one side is enough to break the other, but the show's message may very well be that the balance isn't exact, that even in the worst of times, the simplest things can tip the scales in the favor of life, in favor of fighting on if not for one's own spirit then for that of another or for some loftier ideal that may not be realized in the moment but that may, further on down the literal and figurative road, come to mean much more in a context than the moment can provide. Of course, there's always the risk of that heavy weight suddenly crashing down on the side of "death," leaving "life" always bracing for its seemingly inevitable arrival and thereby lessening its capacity to carry more weight.
Every moment builds only to answer a question: "is survival worth it?" Is "living" worth an existence on on the run and eating whatever leftover bites one can find? Is life worth it in a world where a deer is a delicacy, where prison walls represent a safe haven, where a chain-link fence is the only thing holding back near certain death, where man poses a greater threat than zombies? This is a world where pain has become so overwhelming it's nearly lost its meaning, where a quick cry or brief moment of shock are whisked away by the next calamity, the next moment of danger, the next drainage of sanity, the next empty stomach, the next near-death experience, the next fade into mental and emotional oblivion. This is a world where life is not one day at a time but rather one moment at a time, a moment that can hold anything -- death, salvation, everything in between -- and in which the memories of the past and the fear of the future may or may not be preferable to the pain of the present. The show is a punch to the gut, a quickly moving string of horrific images and more horrific thoughts. It's bold in its darkness, going well beyond what anyone could reasonably expect of it, totally unafraid to further devastate an already battered, bruised, and broken world. Season four holds many such devastating surprises, perhaps not any so gut-wrenchingly difficult as some of the events from season three -- still the show's pinnacle -- but certainly no shortage of savage actions and unspeakable sins committed in the name of the fine line between living and dying, whatever either of those mean anymore in the world of the outwardly walking dead and the inwardly dead living.
The introduction of the quickly-spreading and deadly disease only reinforces so many of the dramatic angles and themes. It's another weapon in the writers' arsenal to build upon the fear and sense of inevitability, the feeling of hopelessness, and the futility of even trying. It further symbolizes the need for distance, here not simply physical distance from infected patients but the emotional distance survivors must, but often cannot, keep from others lest their pain grow exponentially more when they succumb to what seems like the inevitable outcome in a world devastated by the worst that both man, nature, and even the supernatural have in their arsenals. It's so depressing it's a wonder that the show has the audience it has. Why would people want to expose themselves to hours upon hours of physical and emotional human suffering? Beyond that the show is incredibly well-made -- it's beautifully written; superbly acted; infinitely exciting; and amazingly photographed, scored, and edited -- it serves as a constant reminder of the fragility of life and the need to embrace the good and hold on to it in the best of times, to build on that and store it in a mental, emotional, and spiritual lock box for those times when the world's worst comes crashing down. It shows the lengths that people will go to in order to protect what they love and defend those that need them the most, sometimes at the expense of the moral compass but in the name of what they deem right in the greater scheme of things. Arguably no other program on television is so balanced yet precise and perfect as this one in every area concern. It's truly an example of everything a television series can, and should, be.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season looks fantastic on Blu-ray. Those who dislike gritty, grainy transfers will not find it to their liking, but Anchor Bay's Blu-ray presentation is faithful to the show's original 16mm source. The grain is thick but consistently so, save for a few bits of spikiness here and there and a build-up around certain darker scenes and across pitch black backdrops. Fine detail is outstanding. From basics like facial lines and pores and fine clothing seams and textures -- such as Ty's knit cap and The Governor's eyepatch -- all the way to complex zombie and gore makeup, roughly textured prison walls, and various examples of dirt, grasses, and vegetation, this transfer is unbeatable in the clarity and attention to detail it yields from the source material. The image favors a slight softness, at times, but intentionally so. Colors are a tad muted, too, though extreme bright shades such as an orange duffel bag, explosions of red blood and gore, and natural greenery are all beautifully presented. Black levels are deep and favor a hint of crush only in the very darkest scenes. Flesh tones occasionally push slightly warm but never to any unpleasant extreme. The transfer suffers from no discernible wear, blockiness, or other unwanted or unintended after-effects. Overall, this is a wonderful presentation from Anchor Bay.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season arrives on Blu-ray with an excellent, reference-worthy Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack. Every element is precisely placed and realistically implemented. Music is clear and well-defined as it pours into the stage with commendable balance and low end support. The opening theme music is particularly aggressive in delivery. The track features a plethora of action sound effects. Gunfire frequently erupts from all corners of the stage during several major shootouts throughout the season. Shots ring out with the sort of thumping authority that nicely mimics real life. Pops and thuds and impacts on surfaces are commonplace all around the stage, as are yells and screams and other sounds of chaos. Explosions, rolling tanks, and other heavy sound elements enjoy a deep but perfectly balanced bit of bass. The sounds of shrieking and moaning zombies chillingly enter the stage with great frequency and all but cause the listener to spin around and check behind the couch. Small but mood- and scene-critical support effects are nicely integrated, above and beyond even basic exterior Georgia ambience. A ticking watch, which must be heard by one character and the audience but not by another nearby character, for example, is presented with just the right stage presence and volume and realistic delivery so as to set the scene but not destroy it with an unbelievable volume for the audience's sake. It's these sorts of little touches throughout the season that help support it and offset the more chaotic elements that better define the obvious surface elements. Dialogue is clear and focused in delivery. Overall, this is a tremendous and constantly engaging soundtrack that perfectly suits the material.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season contains all of its supplements on a dedicated fifth disc, save for the audio commentaries, which are outlined below.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Walking Dead's fourth season remains bold in its direction, unrelenting in its horror, frightening in its cadence, unpredictable in its outcomes, and purposeful in every frame, in each line, through all the action, and within the greater context of everything that surrounds it all. It's amazing television, perhaps not quite so ambitious as the third season but nevertheless showing a maturity, confidence, and realism -- even in the face of an unrealistic overlaying plot device -- that's lacking in all but the very best that television has to offer. This remains, arguably, the finest thing going on television right now and, assuming following seasons follow suit and don't succumb to dramatic dragging just for the sake of extending the show, likely to go down in history as one of the best to ever grace cable. The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season features stellar video and audio. A healthy assortment of extra content is provided. This release earns my highest recommendation.
The Walking Dead: Other Seasons
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The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: August 26-September 2 - August 24, 2014
For the week of August 26th, Starz/Anchor Bay is bringing the fourth season of The Walking Dead to Blu-ray. Other titles include Ryan Murphy and HBO's new version of The Normal Heart, the enervating Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy Blended, and Criterion's HD ...
• The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray - Exclusive ... - August 16, 2014
Blu-ray.com and Anchor Bay Entertainment are offering members the opportunity to win a Blu-ray copy of The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season, which stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, ...
• Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Detailed - August 4, 2014
Anchor Bay Entertainment has officially detailed the Blu-ray release of The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season, which stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Scott Wilson, Emily Kinney, ...
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