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The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season(TV) (2012-2013)
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 Third Season and the The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray release, see the The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 17, 2013 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 Third Season Blu-ray Review
Television at its best.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 17, 2013
In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.
Sorry, Breaking Bad, but with its third season The Walking Dead may have finally stepped up and overtaken the acclaimed drug manufacturing drama as television's best program. That said, The Walking Dead pushes so far towards the dark, draining, emotionally deflating end of the spectrum that it's almost too much of a good thing. For whatever ups might find their way into the survivors' lives, the show is always there to knock them down, sometimes making them stronger, sometimes making them weaker, occasionally making them different people in either the short or the long term, maybe even both. It shows that internal pain, and the ills of the world that cause that pain, often hurts far more than the physical pain that can and so often does visit the characters. What makes all of that so powerful is how well the show manipulates the audience. The Walking Dead -- and this season in particular -- often leaves its audiences defeated, emotionally wrecked, nervous, and frightened but at the same time wanting more. It's how Horror is supposed to be done, creating a truly terrifying environment and overwhelming the screen with hopelessness but at the same time pulling its viewers further into that world and leaving them wanting more of the same, secretly hoping for more pain because, in the safety of the home, that pain is fleeting rather life-scarring, terrible but manageable, here now and gone when the episode is over or, at Horror's finest, lingering only for a bit afterwards. The show delivers that. It's terribly dark and consistently unsettling, arguably reaching the bottom with the emptiness and hopelessness that both the characters and the audience feel by the end of "Killer Within," one of the most devastating, but incredible, hours of television ever aired. It's a question of where the series goes from there, but rest assured it's not finished beating its audience and its characters towards more hurt, the sort of hurt that makes for incredibly deep, moving, and well-constructed drama.
Note that some season two spoilers appear below.
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his band of survivors -- his pregnant wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs), Darryl (Norman Redus), Glenn (Steven Yeun), T-Dog (IronE Singleton), Carol (Melissa McBride), Hershel (Scott Wilson), and Hershel's daughters Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Beth (Emily Kinney) -- have moved on from the disaster at the farm, without Andrea, a companion they presume lost in the mayhem. They come upon a prison, a structure they see as a fortified encampment that's both defendable and capable of keeping zombies at bay outside its walls, not to mention a stable location in which they can settle and Lori can safely give birth. They take the yard, then portions of the interior. They find the prison well-stocked with not only munitions, body armor, and food, but living survivors who don't take kindly the group's arrival and that the group sees as potentially hostile threats to their safety. Meanwhile, separated group member Andrea (Laurie Holden) and her sword-wielding savior Michonne (Danai Gurira) come across the well-fortified town of Woodbury inside of which life has returned to some semblance of normalcy. While Andrea is swept off her feat by the town's overseer, "The Governor" (David Morrissey), Michonne senses trouble beyond his charming façade.
Even in the Zombie Apocalypse, it's oftentimes the living, not the walking dead, that must concern those trying to survive. It's not always the flesh-eating things that were once human that cause the most problems -- though, obviously, they create their fair share and are the catalyst for everything else -- but rather the very much living, the people who aren't playing the game just to survive, see the next day, and who pray to one day witness the end of the madness but those most unfortunate souls whose lives have become twisted fragments of what they once were, people suddenly constrained not by civilized society or guided by a moral compass but instead led by survival instincts that take them down a dark and oftentimes irreversible path. It's the people whose sense of right, wrong, justice, love, and understanding have been mutated by disaster, warped by terror, and forever altered by the madness around them. Their understandable thirst for calm and control becomes a lust for power and domination and a want for the full command of their world -- insofar as the world of the walking dead will allow -- at any price. Often, that price is not just their own humanity but countless lives either lost or manipulated, the latter often to the point of no return. That's the sort of character season three creates in "The Governor." He's the perfect foil to, and also the possible future reflection of, the heroes who have seen their lives irreparably broken and who struggle to hang on to what they have -- on the outside and on the inside -- and who must now battle what they must not become.
Season three builds on those themes of enemies in all varieties, from walking corpses single-mindedly starving for living flesh to outwardly groomed and physically sound humans whose insides have rotted away to match the walkers' outside appearance. It's also packed with excitement, incredible character growth, and that difficult emotional content, all of which blend together very well to keep things fresh as the plot threads are woven together into an unforgettable single string. There's plenty of content of all varieties working towards the same end, content that's built around life choices and the consequences of those choices, consequences that are immediate and consequences that are far-reaching, unforeseeable, sometimes even inconceivable even in a world that teaches survivors to expect the worst with every new development and, if they're not careful, morphs them into the worst of themselves. The realities the show depicts may or may not be grounded in fact -- who knows what would really happen in these situations -- but they're smartly developed and with a foresight that keeps the program in a constant state of excellence. For a show with so much blood and guts and such a grim film laying over it, it's amazing that it finds so much dramatic weight and emotional heft. Season three solidifies The Walking Dead as some of the finest television ever created, whether captivating audiences in the excitement of an Aliens-inspired dark and claustrophobic battle against hordes of unstoppable creatures at the beginning of the season, draining all hope in "Killer Within," or journeying towards the unforgettable season climax that will leave viewers craving season four as a zombie craves its flesh.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season's high definition presentation largely mirrors those of its predecessors. The show retains what is a slightly dull, lightly soft appearance, one in which bold colors are at a premium and detail never quite reaches the upper limits of the format's capabilities. Fortunately, Anchor Bay's Blu-ray does beautifully replicate the show's natural appearance. Even through that touch of softness, the transfer reveals some fantastic details, not limited to complex facial and clothing lines but rubble, rust, and debris around the prison and the intact brick and concrete textures of Woodbury. There's a light grittiness to the image. Fine grain remains throughout, but never overwhelms the screen. Color definition is as good as the show's intent allows. Bright outdoor greens fare nicely, but there's a subtle feel of gray and earthen shades running through the show. Black levels are excellent, and flesh tones don't drift too far from character norms. The image shows very light banding and blockiness in a few spots, but otherwise holds up well. It's not necessarily classic "reference" material but this transfer displays the show as it was meant to be seen.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season features an exceptional Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack, one that handles the show's necessary extremes with equal precision. The track often explodes in action and gunfire. Shots ring out with superb clarity and natural accuracy, not to mention explosive heft. Whether chaotic action effects to start episode three or the eruption of .50 caliber machine gun fire in the final epode that sonically shreds the soundstage and punches through with incredibly deep and potent but balanced bass, gunfire is one of the track's best assets, though certainly a few close-quaters interior shots fail to really find that deafening, ear-ringing sort of boom that would accompany a similar real-life shot (in fact, there's only one scene in the entire season where the characters deliberately cover their ears to protect their hearing; most likely they'd all be on the wrong side of hearing loss in real life). However, that seems like a problem with the source material, not the Blu-ray reproduction thereof. Suffice it to say, though, that most of the shootouts and zombie killings with firearms come through with exceptional accuracy and authenticity. Supportive effects sound great, too. Whether the rumble of Darryl's bike, the whirring of a helicopter, blaring prison alarms, or the moaning of clanky old prison iron doors within the cavernous, dreary spaces, the stage is always filled with accurate and enjoyable sound effects. The track handles exterior ambience nicely, too, with chatty cicadas or buzzing crickets naturally defining exterior environments. Dialogue comes through with strong foundational center-focused clarity, while music enjoys natural stage presence and full energy. This is an excellent track in every area of concern.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season contains several supplements, all of which are featured on disc five, save for episode-specific commentaries.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Walking Dead blends fantasy survival entertainment with the grim realities of end times. It's hopeless, dark, nearly unwatchable in places, but it's insanely addicting, too, creating a world that's absolutely repulsive on every level but at the same time a world the audience does not want to escape. Season three in particular is defined by exceptionally hard choices, disastrous turns of events, emotional overloads, heartbreak, and intense action. There are gallons of blood spilled from the living and from the dead, but season three is more about people breaking on the inside rather than on the outside. It's about new hopes, dashed dreams, warped sensibilities, questioned allegiances, loss, gain, and everything in between. It's an incredible program that's only getting better, and season three is the best season yet. The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season features strong video and audio. A good assortment of extras are included. This release earns my highest recommendation.
The Walking Dead: Other Seasons
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Blu-ray.com and Anchor Bay Entertainment are offering three members a chance to win a copy of The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season. The latest season in the popular zombie horror AMC television series arrives on Blu-ray on August 27th.
• The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray - June 3, 2013
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