The insanely popular first season of The Walking Dead has made its way to DVD and Blu-ray, and we’ve had spent some time re-watching the first season as well as all of the extras. 

The Show Itself

Even after re-watching this season on Blu-ray and DVD, I feel the same way I did after watching the season the first time around. The Walking Dead has a great first season and it sets everything up for a promising second season and beyond. It is certainly one of the best takes on the zombie story we’ve seen in a while, and any horror fan should be watching this. I have included a shortened version of my full season review below. If interested in more of my thoughts on the first season, you can view the full review over here: http://dailydead.com/review-the-walking-dead-season-1/

If you’ve seen any of the Romero “dead” films, you will be right at home with The Walking Dead. The “zombie rules” are pretty much the same, so aim to the head and don’t let them bite you! Also, like the Romero films, The Walking Dead focuses on the relationships between the characters involved and many of the problems the characters encounter are from human nature, more than the walking dead.

We only get 6 episodes for the first season of The Walking Dead, so this plays more like a mini-series or long pilot episode, than a full season. We are introduced to over a dozen characters, some of which we don’t really get a chance to know yet. There are also plenty of plotlines that are briefly started, but never expanded upon or completed. For that reason, it is hard to view this as a complete work, but these 6 episodes really lay the groundwork for a promising second season.

And let’s not forget what instantly drew viewers into this show, the zombies themselves. I’m sure horror fans will watch the show and not flinch at the level of gore in the show, but it is really a first for basic cable. They have taken what would equal an R-rating in theaters and managed to put it on the small screen and draw in millions of viewers. This really is a big accomplishment for the horror genre and shouldn’t go unmentioned.

As far as AMC is concerned, The Walking Dead is already a success. With millions of viewers, the second season was announced in the middle of the first season airing, so we will be getting another 13 episodes in October of 2011. Personally, I feel it is too early to say if this show has been successful. We’ve basically been given a teaser of this world and the main characters.

In order for this show to be a long term success, we’ll have to see where Darabont and crew take these characters. As long as they focus on character building and acting over sex and action, I think this show will have legs. I’m really happy that there is a full-fledged horror drama on television, and look forward to upcoming seasons.

Show Score: 4/5

Blu-Ray / DVD

As far as picture and audio quality are concerned, the standard DVD still looks great, but you get an obvious quality bump if you go Blu-ray. I’ve heard other comments and I agree that the Blu-ray transfer looks better than when I watched it on AMC HD. If you’re big on video quality, this may be reason enough to pick up the Blu-ray copy.

Both the Blu-ray and DVD versions have the exact same extra features, which include:

Featurettes:

-The Making of THE WALKING DEAD

-Inside THE WALKING DEAD: Episode 1 – 6

-A Sneak Peek With Robert Kirkman

-Behind the Scenes Zombie Make-Up Tips

-Convention Panel with Producers

-THE WALKING DEAD Trailer

 

 

 

Extra Footage:

-Zombie School

-Bicycle Girl

-On Set With Robert Kirkman

-Hanging With Steven Yeun

-Inside Dale's RV

-On Set With Andrew Lincoln

 

With these extras, most of them run in the 5 minute range (with the exception of the “Making Of” feature), so they leave a bit to be desired, but will be fun for fans of the show. Most of the features give a little insight on the creative and process behind the show, and you can tell how passionate the entire cast and crew is. Unfortunately, there is also no audio commentary on each episode, so for those that really want to hear about the making of each episode in detail, you probably won’t get what you are looking for on those mini-features. While short, the zombie school feature is pretty interesting to watch, but I’d like to see commentary and extra features (especially zombie school!) expanded upon for future seasons.

Disc Score: 3.5/5

Final Thoughts

If you’ve already seen the first season, you may be on the fence, but I think the cost and the quality of the episodes are worth the price. Multiple retailers, including Amazon.com are selling the Blu-ray for around $22.99, so the price is great for 6+ hrs of movie quality episodes. There could be more extras or longer extra features, but you can just consider those icing on the cake for now, as most will pick this season up for the episodes. I’d definitely like to see more extensive features and commentary, but I expect to see more in future seasons if the popularity of the show continues to rise.

If you haven’t watched any of the first season of The Walking Dead, I highly recommend it picking it up, even though it is only 6 episodes. The acting is great, the special effects are great, and this is a must-see for a fan of zombie movies.  An excellent first season combined with a high quality Blu-ray transfer and extra features is a winning combination and I’d highly recommend any zombie or horror fan give this show a try.