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The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season(TV) (2011-2012)
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 Second Season and the The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray release, see the The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 15, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn, Norman Reedus
Directors: Frank Darabont, Ernest R. Dickerson, Guy Ferland, Greg Nicotero
» See full cast & crew
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray Review
One of TV's best shows is now a must-own Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 15, 2012
Ain't nobody's hands clean in what's left of this world.
What is it about Zombie infestations, the walking dead, tearing up the living, shooting towards and running from the dead, hiding out, the breakdown of civilization, the dwindling of hope, the rise of fear, the takeover of terror that's so fascinating it's become a worldwide sensation? Forget wizards and vampires and shades of gray; zombies are the king of the entertainment world, or they are at least a larger part of a new wave of TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)-themed entertainment that's all the rage anymore. Are survivalism, the collapse of society, or some major deviation from the norm sorts of fantasy escapes from the harsh realities of modern life, or are they merely very good storytelling devices? "The Walking Dead," easily the pinnacle of the modern zombie craze, is a little bit of both. The show is endlessly entertaining and there is a certain appeal to the world in which it operates. It's frightening as hell, sure, but the move away from blasé existences to a 24/7 survival mode would at least make one feel alive again, well beyond the alarm clock, 9-5 cubicle job, frozen dinners, and Monday Night Football routine. But at the same time, shooting zombies and living out of tents and scavenging supplies isn't all it's cracked up to be. As the series demonstrates, and in season two in particular, life in a zombie-plagued world is one of real pain and doubt and suffering and loss. It's external fatigue and stress and internal destruction of the mind and soul. "The Walking Dead" is a deadly serious program wrapped around the guise of a fantastical never-gonna-happen (knock on wood) scenario. It deals in doom and gloom and real sacrifice and death, true grisly horror stuff and not the happily-ever-after TV ideal where, even in a world flushed down the toilet, nothing truly bad ever happens. It does. And audiences will weep, become fiercely angry, and experience all the doubts and fears and pains right alongside the characters existing in a devastated world that will never be the same.
A small band of survivalists struggling to make it from one place to the next -- never mind one day to the next -- has stumbled upon a ruinous highway where the stench of death and the overwhelming sense of hopelessness lingers and looms larger than even the walking dead. The group, led by police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), has moved on from a failed attempt to find safe haven at the Centers for Disease Control and has in its sites Fort Benning, a Southern military installation that might be the last, best hope for survival. Unfortunately, their plans are delayed when one of their own, little Sophia (Madison Lintz), goes missing following a run-in with the zombies. The group separates to search for her but finds only further hardship and, soon, its destiny. Tragedy leads the group to slowly convene at a secluded farmhouse where veterinarian Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) cares for the group's wounded and slowly but cautiously opens his land to the survivors. Meanwhile, Andrea (Laurie Holden) struggles to find herself in this new world and has her firearm taken away. Glenn (Steven Yeun) comes to learn a dangerous secret and is also privy to news that might be joyous in a normal world but that here is another matter altogether. Carol (Melissa McBride) struggles with the realities of life after zombies and the uncertainty of her daughter Sophia's whereabouts. Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) begins to piece together the truth behind the façade erected by Shane (Jon Bernthal). As the search for Sophia continues, as divisions grow both amongst the group and with the Greene family, as fates align and tragedy strikes, the group comes to learn all too well that in a world devastated by the dead's unquenchable hunger for the living, it's not only the mindless zombies who pose a threat to man's survival.
There's much more to "The Walking Dead" -- and its second season in particular -- than man-on-zombie action and depictions of survival. The series digs deeply into the mental state of the survivors, the true terrors of a world gone mad, the high emotions and divisions and doubts and fears that all drive the survival instinct in an end-of-days scenario. This season builds on the foundation laid by the first, explores themes and story lines that need be resolved, others that are to be dealt with in future seasons, and also, of course, offers a whole lot of blood-and-guts action, here not as a road trip sort of adventure but in a somewhat settled, secluded, one-location environment where the absence of motion from one place to another truly allows for deeper exploration inside the characters rather than an always-moving journey in the search for physical safety. Though isolated from urban areas, the characters are never far removed from the end-of-the-world zombie equation but are brought closer together for better or for worse. Differences become more apparent, old wounds reopen, new torments bleed, and various scenarios threaten to destroy the group even under the relative safe harbor of the farm. Season two does more than dabble in various themes of survival and togetherness and division and the process of living in a reshaped world where the unbelievable is the new norm, where hopelessness washes away the old ways and devastation defines the new. Now, threats different from those posed by the zombies -- though directly a byproduct of the zombie epidemic -- are revealed, acted upon, and dealt with, sometimes harshly and necessarily so. The season is full of surprises, surprises that will shock, comfort, relieve, destabilize, anger, and frighten both the characters and the viewing audience that seems always right there on the farm and amidst the blood, guts, chaos, terror, and incessant uncertainty of the world of the walking dead.
Additionally, season two puts together a pulse-pounding assortment of Horror survival scenarios. The series excels at creating both eerie context and downright terrifying situations to go with robust character development and drama and enough gore to nauseate even the most seasoned genre aficionados. The season opens with a genuinely creepy sequence featuring the survivors wandering through a freeway packed with wrecked, stalled, overturned, and abandoned vehicles, not to mention more than a few that have become makeshift resting places for those perhaps fortunate enough to be spared the agony of survival and the hellish reality of the singleminded zombie existence. Death surrounds them, decay abounds, and the road is littered with supplies both useful and useless, some necessary for survival, others for comfort, others merely signs of the way things were and will likely never be again. "The Walking Dead" also benefits from a gritty realism and a complete disregard not necessarily for taste -- the show is extremely well done even if it's one of the goriest things around and represents the Horror genre as close to complete and artistic as it has ever been -- but certainly for the norm of how television normally works. "The Walking Dead" eschews every rule in the book, willing to break them all and tread new territory not just in terms of realistic violence or language but in its willingness to make hard choices and tear at the very fabric of what's made the show great and, as a result, will make it even stronger. It's the most daring and intense program on television, exploring the unexplored and setting the standard for what serials should be.
Yet no matter how well-crafted the series, how dramatically intense, how nauseatingly violent, how hopeless a picture it paints, "The Walking Dead" -- and any television show worth a lick -- would be nothing without a group of supremely-developed characters who interact with one another and within the world they inhabit as if they were real people dealing with all of the terrifying issues and scenarios and personal dilemmas presented in the show and not merely actors portraying a part. The cast, right down to the last primary -- both those returning and the handful of new entries for season two -- seems to absolutely live the muck and grime and blood and guts and doubt and fear and the endless fight for survival with the world, the zombies, and even one another. These characters are richly developed and have become the foundation of the series. Audiences will feel the tingling nervousness with every patrol, each shot fired, all the time spent in hiding, and through every personal tragedy and moment of interpersonal drama. Viewers will love some and hate others, become invested in the struggle to survive and take sides in decisions large and small, wanting so badly to enter the world and effort to settle quarrels, take an armed stand against the undead, or make known an opinion on the most intense debates. The series feels completely lived-in and authentic right down to the last little bit of grime, splattered blood, and intense emotion that hangs over every frame. "The Walking Dead" is one of the most thorough shows ever to grace television screens, shaped by its characters, defined by its end-of-days story and themes, and made complete by the little production touches that truly allow audiences to not just see this world, but almost experience it firsthand with the amazing cast. And what an experience it is, unlike anything that's ever appeared before viewers, an experience that is easily one of the best things going on TV.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season features a dazzling 1080p transfer, presented in the series' original broadcast 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image is defined by pale colors that yield a gray, bleak, hopeless sort of visual structure that reinforces the themes of despair and death and emphasizes the general end-of-days misery and defeatism that hangs over every frame. Certainly, the image isn't devoid of colors; natural greens, colored clothes, red blood, wooden accents, and monochromatic cars all offer identifiable shades, but audiences will note the almost overpowering gloom that rightly shapes the series. The other major element is the rather heavy grain structure which further adds to the negative feelings engendered by the series' visual appearance. The image is also never razor-sharp; there's a slight natural softness to it, but there's also no denying the intricate details that shape every close-up and the general stability that define medium- and long-distance shots. Skin textures and facial stubble are strongly pronounced, as are clothing lines, concrete surfaces, tiles, wood trim, and other elements in the farm house, the barn, and elsewhere. In low-light scenes, faces can go a bit pasty and details less defined. Color transitions from brighter to darker shades, particularly on faces, can be challenging, and blacks range from slightly washed out to somewhat overpowering. But it's only in the darkest scenes where the transfer suffers. Otherwise, this is a grade-A image that serves the series very well and should satisfy longtime fans, newcomers, and videophiles all.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season debuts on Blu-ray with a stunning Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack. The presentation excels in every area, from music to ambience, from splattering gore to thunderous shotgun blasts. The series' theme music blares over the opening credits with finely-tuned precision and clarity. Spacing is even, wide, and enveloping. The surrounds carry a good bit of the load. The haunting, heavy refrain has never sounded so good. The season is littered with superb ambient effects that pull the listening audience into each and every moment. Buzzing insects and hooting owls give sonic shape to the generally serene countryside locale where much of the season takes place. Rumbling vehicles, moaning dead, and other distinct sound effects easily immerse listeners into every episode, all playing with effortless clarity and pinpoint placement around the soundstage. Some heavier sound effects energize the listening area but don't lose the clarity and precision of the lesser effects. Jet fighters zoom overhead at the start of episode five, cutting through the listening area with a unique rumble and sonic signature. Distant explosions pack a good wallop, shattering glass rips through the speakers, and raging fires engulf the listening audience. There's plenty of gunfire about, too. Whether single shots or strings of fire from various weapons, the track handles all with amazing accuracy. Booming shots inside a closed-in school gymnasium at the beginning of episode three prove to be some of the most powerfully intense the series has to offer. Shotgun booms rock and rattle the entire stage. A target practice session in episode six offers very good spacing across the firing line, ditto a barrage of gunfire in one of the season's most critical scenes in chapter seven. Dialogue is even and smooth, playing from the center channel and always at an appropriate level. This is a rock-solid, exhilarating sort of soundtrack that's a great asset to a wonderful series.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season offers up a host of extra content. The package includes an assortment of commentary tracks spread across all four discs and deleted scenes, featurettes, and "webisodes" all on disc four.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season dazzles with every moment, each new development, and all the wonder and terror it can muster, which is substantial. The series feels authentic and, at times, even plausible, not so much the specifics of the zombie infestation but rather the inter-character drama that stems from an end-of-days scenario that, in some form, is not out of the question in future generations or even in the coming years, months, or even days. It's a hard world out there, harder still when everything's turned upside down, and nearly impossible when broken-down and gored-up zombies are patrolling the streets. This is grade-A entertainment, and man had better hope it stays in the realm of the imagined and the world of fictional entertainment, no matter how badly it seems doom and gloom might be the cure for all that ails a troubled world. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season features superb video, reference-grade sound, and a good number of extras. This is one of the year's best releases and earns my highest recommendation.
The Walking Dead: Other Seasons
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The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: August 28-September 4 - August 26, 2012
Television defines the major Blu-rays streeting during the week of August 28th; there are no fewer than five season sets reaching the HD format. Chief among them is Anchor Bay's The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season package. One of AMC's biggest commercial ...
• Exclusive Giveaway - The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season - August 22, 2012
Blu-ray.com and Anchor Bay Entertainment are offering three members an opportunity to win a copy of The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season, the next bloody chapter in the riveting AMC television series. Rick and his band of survivors make their second stand ...
• The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season Blu-ray (Updated) - May 29, 2012
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment will bring The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season to Blu-ray in August. Picking up immediately after the first season's explosive season finale, Season Two finds former police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln, Love Actually) ...
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