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The Walking Dead: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray Review)

BD64066orn-walking-dead-s6-3dAnchor Bay Entertainment is proud to present another season of The Walking Dead on Blu-ray. The hit zombie-drama series has been previously reviewed by Why So Blu’s Brian White (seasons 123, 4 and 5), but he has handed the duty over to me this time around. Fortunately for me, season six offered plenty of big shakeups for the series, complete with big twists, cliffhangers, controversy and at least one of the series’ best episodes. Now you can dig in to see just how well this Blu-ray set stacks up.

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Series:

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So here we are with another season of The Walking Dead. Rather than get into specifics on what the show is about or where things previously left off (check out the other reviews to dig into more of that knowledge), let’s just get right to it, shall we? Following a finale that found Morgan (Lennie James) arriving in the town of Alexandria, it now seems to be up to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) to take active control over the safety of this town that has been mostly sheltered from the zombie apocalypse so far.

Season six arrives in a five disc package, with the first four discs containing all 16 episodes of the season:

Disc 1:

  1. First Time Again
  2. JSS
  3. Thank You
  4. Here’s Not Here

Disc 2:

  1. Now
  2. Always Accountable
  3. Heads Up
  4. Start To Finish

Disc 3:

  1. No Way Out
  2. The Next World
  3. Knots Untie
  4. Not tomorrow Yet

Disc 4:

  1. The Same Boat
  2. Twice As Far
  3. East
  4. Last Day On Earth

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Thanks to clever plotting on the part of showrunner Scott Gimple and his team, this season does a fine job of separating the episodes into mini-arcs of a sort. The first three episodes deal with a massive group of walkers that Rick and the gang need to dispose of in order to keep their current home safe. Another group of episodes deal with the threat of vicious characters known as the Wolves. One extended episode devoted itself entirely to the backstory of a major character. While other plotlines are dealt with, much of the second half of the season devotes itself to the presence of The Saviors.

Through all of this, The Walking Dead constantly finds itself firing on all cylinders. The show is not flawless, as my love of the Robert Kirkman comic series and general appreciation for good television does not blind me to the certain errors along the way (to say nothing of the frustrating season finale), but this is easily one of the better seasons of the show. For all the mishandled or unearned choices involving certain characters that deserve better (Melissa McBride’s Carol has seen better days), a good amount of effort has been put into making the character-centric focus a highlight for the season.

Lots of credit goes to director Greg Nicotero, among others, who continues to bring his savvy as a special effects guru to this series as well as dive into the world of directing, which he seems a natural fit for, when it comes to this show. While the series has never featured the strongest writing, the look and feel of the series has always stood out as pretty fantastic. The Walking Dead features some of the best zombie creations this side of a Romero flick, with an appropriate amount of style that almost has you overlook how heavy-handed the show can be in terms of its themes.

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Of course, this being a show based on a graphic novel series, it would be hard not to make the zombie apocalypse feel thematically heavy-handed. So in that regard, there is plenty to enjoy as far as what kinds of moral dilemmas Rick and the other characters are faced with. Glen (Steve Yuen) certain deals with his optimism in a time when things go disastrously wrong. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is allowed to grow stronger as far as finding her place as a better leader. Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) use colorful language to express their emotions. And of course you have fan-favorite Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) riding around on a loud motorcycle in a world full of sound-driven zombies.

As good as the show can be in terms of matching zombie chaos with accomplished performances from the ensemble cast, I’ve never been one to look past the fact that The Walking Dead leans heavily on being an incredibly well-made soap opera. That doesn’t take away from the series’ quality or high concept premise, but watching the series with grave intensity does tend to make me feel silly. So instead, I’m happy to take in this show the way I do (writing about it weekly and co-hosting a podcast all about it).

There are more specifics I could go into, but the show is a big enough hit where fans certainly have their own opinions on how things have played out and I’ve certainly spent plenty of time diving into the details elsewhere. The fact is, The Walking Dead has continued on for several years at this point and it has certainly straightened itself out during that time. There is a cool efficiency to how this show plays out at this point and despite some issues, this is a well-made show that does a solid job of presenting a continuing journey through the world of the dead.

Video:

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Encoding: AVC MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: While the series is not in black and white like the comic, The Walking Dead does shoot on 16mm film, which means you have a somewhat saturated look to the show in general (not too much). As a result, there is lots of grain, which is in no way a flaw, but part of the series’ aesthetic. Fortunately, you have a great show to watch in terms of these visuals. As usual, it’s one thing to see the series in HD on television, but Blu-ray truly brings out all the detail found in the series as it is shot. There is a great sense of clarity in all the environments and in each zombie face that becomes destroyed in some way.

Depth: Given how much forest we constantly see in this series, it makes sense to get a lot of dimensionality throughout. The use of space plays well on Blu-ray, as characters constantly pop from their surroundings.

Black Levels: Black levels are inky and very deep throughout, even when considering the gain aspect. There is a great sharpness to the amount of darkened scenes present.

Color Reproduction: While certain costumes and pieces of the environment sometimes standout, The Walking Dead has a muted color pallet that fits for this universe. With that in mind, the Blu-ray does proper justice to what we are seeing here and it’s done quite well.

Flesh Tones: No problems here as the flesh from both humans and zombie look completely natural throughout.

Noise/Artifacts: Given that the grain makes sense for this show, there is really nothing else to speak of.

 

Audio:

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Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French Dolby Surround 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The audio experience found on these discs is a joy to take in. From the erratic zombie action featuring plenty of gunplay and explosions (rocket launchers!) to the quieter moments in the woods, you get a full-on dynamic experience to all that goes down.

Low Frequency Extension: The moment when everyone stops talking and the action really goes down is when the LFE channel gets a proper workout. With all the shootouts, car-based action and more

Surround Sound Presentation: There is a lot of different kind of sounds being heard throughout this series, ranging from dialogue to the snarls of walkers. Then you have all the action and score. Thankfully, a fine job is done properly to balance all that we hear. The Center channel is a good source for mainly dialogue and big moments, but you get a good amount of ambience and well-rounded audio elements coming through the left/right and rear channels.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is heard loud and clear.

 

Extras:

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These sets tend to be filled to the brim with extras and that holds true here. The Walking Dead comes packed with commentary tracks and a 5th disc full of extra goodies that delve into the making of the series and more.

Features Include:

Disc 1:

  • Audio Commentaries:
    • First Time Again – Writer/Executive Producer Scott M. Gimple, Director Greg Nicotero, and Norman Reedus
    • Here’s Not Here – Gimple, Co-Executive Producer Denise Huth, and Lennie James

Disc 2:

  • Audio Commentaries:
    • Start To Finish – Director Michael E. Satrazemis and Danai Gurira

Disc 3:

  • Audio Commentaries:
    • No Way Out – Gimple, Nicotero, Michael Cudlitz, Lennie James and Josh McDermitt
    • Not Tomorrow Yet – Huth, Alana Masterson and Steven Yuen

Disc 4:

  • Audio Commentaries:
    • The Same Boat – Writer Angela Kang, Lauren Cohan and Melissa McBride
    • Last Day On Earth – Gimple, Nicotero and Cudlitz

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Disc 5:

  • “Last Day On Earth” – The Extended Version (HD, 1:05:40)– Contains all the swear words from Negan you’d want to hear.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 8:40) – 7 total deleted and extended scenes from episodes 601, 603, 605 and 607.
  • Featurettes:
    • The Making of The Walking Dead (HD) – Averaging at around 5 minutes each, these mini behind-the-scenes segments look at aspects from all 16 episodes of the season, namely the key effects or character-driven portions of each episode.
    • In Memorium (HD, 10:04) – A discussion with the cast and crew concerning the deaths of various cast members throughout the season. As opposed to the more humorus post-mortem seen on Talking Dead, this segment goes over what these various characters meant to the story and the other characters directly affected by them.
    • Out of the Quarry (HD, 7:46) – A look at the massive quarry sequence that opened this season and featured hundreds of zombies at once. There’s also discussion of the style of the episode and why it was structured the way it was.
    • Guts & Glory: The Death of Nicholas (HD, 5:03) – A look at a fairly traumatic sequence from an early episode in the season that led to a lot of fan speculation for weeks.
    • Strength In Bonds (HD, 11:07) – A look at how teamwork plays a huge role for the main cast. The cast and crew speak of what makes Rick’s group work so efficiently, despite their challenges, with focus on various duos and collections over the course of the season.
    • Negan: Someone To Fear (HD, 5:18) – “Pissing our pants yet?” The cast and crew go over the myth and actual presence of Negan, who is mentioned throughout the second half of the season, makes his debut in the season finale and will be a major player in season seven.
    • The Face of Death: Iconic Walkers of the Season (HD, 3:39) – A look at some of the more creative zombies scene throughout this season.

Digital HD Copy – UltraViolet

Summary:

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With no discernible end in sight, The Walking Dead is in a good position to keep delivering for audiences. As far as this season goes, despite a few hiccups, there is a good amount of television drama set in a world of zombies. The Blu-ray certainly helps matters, as the audio/video presentation is great and there are plenty of extras to satisfy fans. If you enjoy this series and have been collecting every season, there is no reason to stop now. If you haven’t been buying up each season, there is still plenty of reason to start now, if you want a solid TV show with a great Blu-ray package behind it. Or you could settle for hearing from Lucille.

Order Your Copy Here:

 

BD64066orn-walking-dead-s6-3d

 

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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