Monday, August 31, 2015

THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (2015)

THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (2015) 
5-DISC SET BLU-RAY 

Label: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 710 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English Dolby Surround 2.0 stereo with Optional English SDH Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Directors: Ernest Dickerson, Greg Nicotero, David Boyd, Jeffrey F. January, Michael E. Satrazemis, Seith Mann, Billy Gierhart, Julius Ramsay, Larysa Kondracki, Jennifer Lynch
Cast: Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Chad L. Coleman, Sonequa Martin-Green, Lawrence Gilliard, Jr., Michael Cudlitz, Emily Kinney, Alanna Masterson, Christian Serratos, Josh McDermitt, Andrew J. West.

Synopsis: The previous season of “The Walking Dead” ended with Rick and the group outgunned, outnumbered, and trapped in a train car awaiting a grim fate. What follows is a story that weaves the true motives of the people of Terminus with the hopeful prospect of a cure in Washington, D.C., the fate of the group’s lost comrades, as well as new locales, new conflicts, and new obstacles in keeping the group together and staying alive. Stories will break apart and intersect. The characters will find love and hate. Peace and conflict. Contentment and terror. And, in the quest to find a permanent, safe place to call home, one question will haunt them… After all they’ve seen, all they’ve done, all they’ve sacrificed, lost, and held on to no matter what the cost... Who do they become?


Alright, the complete fifth season of The Walking Dead has arrived, and I will stay away from any spoilery stuff so fear not and read on... 

I've been a huge fan of TWD since the first episode, having never read the comics I came in completely cold and free of any baggage and I remain so to this day, I have no plans to read it until the series ends. That has probably helped me weather a lot of the issues fans of the comics have had, and might have made a few of the slower season, too. Season five starts of with a visceral episode "No Sanctuary" and finished up the Terminus storyline that ended in pretty awful place for the group, trapped in a train car awaiting to be slaughtered like cattle by yet another group of human-flesh hungry survivors. It's brutal stuff from the very beginning, in an episode chock full of visceral stuff, the opening scenes are tense

Various factions of the core group are regrouped - and unfortunately Judith comes back into the fold - call me crazy but I just wanted that kid dead. Okay, that was a tiny bit spoilery but we all know she was alive at the end of the last season anyway. With terminus resolved we have the group back to getting mullet headed idiot-savant Eugene to Washington, which has a pretty interesting resolution in and of itself, one that pushes Abraham to his limits.

We have some new characters this season, namely Father Gabriel Stokes, a man of the cloth with a few secrets, plus a young man named Noah who the group connect with on a return journey to Atlanta. Of course we lose a few along the season, some of which are pretty painful losses, one in particularly was a deep cut, we all have our favorite episodes and we just hope none of them get too much time on-screen talking about their hopes and dreams for the future, because you know they are the next to go, ha ha. 

The carnage this season remains high, the grotesque creations of the special effects teams continue to be awesome from season to season with gooey smashed faces of the undead, the flesh of the living being chewed off, and those grotesque head shots all come at us with good frequency. Last season we had the awesome burned zombies, this season we have two sets of zombies that stood apart. Water-logged zombies trapped in a flooded basement were my favorite, followed by a parking lot full of walkers that were napalmed early on and have since melted into disgusting puddles of gooey chompers, those one looked like something out of the shunting scene from Brian Yuzna's Society. 

The group do find a new home after a temporary stay at a church early on in the season, a new fortified community that almost seems like a more idyllic and pastoral version of Woodbury, minus the governing of a certain one-eyed murderous menace. The storyline is a good one, with the team pulling apart from each other to a certain degree while others keep secrets from each other, the usual array of apocalyptic undead drama unfolds to varying degrees of success.

This season I did not win any who-will-die next predictions I made at the top of the season, which funnily enough is how we start each season, always guessing who will be gone by the season finale, which is a bit morbid but this is a sort of morbid show. 

Onto the special features on the five disc set from Anchor Bay, as usual it is stuffed with bonus content beginning with seven audio commentaries on select episodes with cast and crew, and honestly when it comes to TV series I rarely partake of the commentaries and TWD is no exception to the rule. However, I am all about the deleted scenes and featurettes, thankfully we have hours of content for the fans of the series who just cannot get enough of the behind-the-scenes stuff beginning with 16-minutes worth of deleted scenes spanning the entire season, nothing here is a revelation but I loved watching them in HD. 

There are about two hours worth of Inside The Walking Dead and The Making of The Walking Dead featurettes, I love these, one they gve you a fun recap of the episode from the cast and crew and then you get a behind the scenes making of for each one, seeing the nitty gritty of how they created certain effects and the challenges faces capturing them.

There's also about 20-minutes dedicated to he cast members who were killed this season, the creation of gated-community Alexandria, and a day in the life of actors Michael Cudlitz and Josh McDermitt on-set, a fun peak at what a typical day on-set is like for each of the actors. We also get a short featurette about the making of the napalm-burned zombies from the season, which it deserved, these were among the standout effects of the season.  On top of that we get a Digital HD UV  code so you can enjoy the series on the go, whenever I travel these come in handy when I need to fight of boredom at the airport or the doctor's office, 

Special Features: 
- UV Digital HD Copy
- Audio commentaries featuring Showrunner/Executive Producer/Writer Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd, Executive Producer Tom Luse, Executive Producer/Special Effects Make-Up Supervisor /Director Greg Nicotero, Director Julius Ramsay; Actors Lauren Cohan, Chad L. Coleman, Michael Cudlitz, Sonequa Martin-Green, Danai Gurira, Alana Masterson, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Norman Reedus, Christian Serratos and Steven Yuen.
- Deleted Scenes (16 Mins) HD
- Inside “The Walking Dead” (Approx. 75 Mins)
- The Making of “The Walking Dead” (Approx. 53 Mins)
- The Making of Alexandria (10 Mins)
- Beth’s Journey (4 Mins)
- Bob’s Journey (5 Mins)
- Noah’s Journey (4 Mins)
- Tyreese’s Journey (7 Mins)
- A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz (8 Mins)
- A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt (8 Mins)
- Rotters in the Flesh (5 Mins)


The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season comes highly recommended, of course I am preaching to the quire if you are already a fan of the series, and I cannot imagine anyone is jumping in cold with season five of the series, but if so you can expect a top notch HD presentation with a quality surround sound presentation plus a wealth of extras that should keep you satisfied until season six starts up,  or perhaps in between episodes of the prequel series Fear the Walking Dead which is currently airing on AMC. 4/5 

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