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

After three years in a row now (here, here and here) this kind of feels like an annual tradition for me.  Of course I’m talking about the Anchor Bay Entertainment Walking Dead Blu-ray releases.  I know it’s kind of self-explanatory, but I felt had to clarify in that in case you did not click on my “here” links and thought I was talking about eating watermelon at the ballpark or something stupid like that.  There’s no denying the fact that AMC’s The Walking Dead is the most watched drama in basic cable history and I’m just humbled and honored to have the chance once again to chat about another terrifying and exhilarating season now in the books, The Complete Fourth Season on Blu-ray.  So while the new season doesn’t kick off until October 13th, fans of the show can relive every thrilling moment from the fourth season come August 26th, but don’t fret.  For all you that can’t wait that long.  I have you covered down below.  Read on!

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Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics, AMC’s The Walking Dead enjoyed its most popular season to date, averaging 13.3 million live/same day viewers per episode and 8.6 million adults 18-49.  The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season cast includes series regulars Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Chandler Riggs, David Morrissey, Melissa McBride, Chad L. Coleman, Sonequa Martin-Green and Emily Kinney. But what would the show be if it did not keep steadily evolving and expanding?  Therefore, join me in welcoming the new characters introduced this season: Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gillard, Jr.), Rosita Espinoza (Christian Serratos) and Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermott).

In this fourth season, we open with our favorite sherif, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and the group of survivors fostering a thriving community in the safe haven of the prison they defended agains the evil thwart of the Governor (David Morrissey) and his henchmen at the conclusion of the third season.  I know it sounds out of place saying this when referring to the television show The Walking Dead, but it’s almost like the gang finally found some resemblance of peace and for lack of a better word, a place to call home.  However, this “sense of peace and happiness” is only short-lived and the group mist contend with not only the usual gang of walkers and outside threats, but also danger cultivating within their own fences.  The group’s new way of life will be thoroughly tested, and their struggle to survive will be perilous.  And with that being said I hope I gave you just a little to whet your appetite here as we dive whole-heartedly into the meat and potatoes of The Walking Dead: Season 4.

So like I kind of stated in my last three Blu-ray season reviews, The Walking Dead is so much more than just a horror show about zombies.  True, the zombie storyline presents a gory backdrop for this show, but the real story is that of survival and the human relationships and bonds needed to “survive” in this new world overran by the dead.  Because of all these ingredients the show itself is very suspenseful, tension-filled and dramatic, in no thanks to the stellar writing of course.  So despite the gore and horror elements, The Walking Dead ranks amongst one of the finest human relationship stories on television.  The show ultimately teaches us a lot about life and the ways in which we live and fortunately for us this fourth season is no exception.

As with tradition these past two seasons this fourth one for television purposes is broken into two halves.  The first half chronicles the group’s new life at the prison and the troubles they have with such nuisances such as disease ( deadly flu-like infection) and one of my favorite characters the Governor (David Morrissey).  Yeah, baby!  He’s back!  And the second half of the season begins after a showdown with the Governor and his new army and the group’s new lives outside the prison, which are full of trials and tribulations.  I’m not going to go any farther than that because to do so would be venturing way into forbidden spoiler territory for anyone who has not viewed this season yet.  Let’s just say that’s where the group’s lives are all tested and very deep character studies happen here as a result.  Of course it all culminates into a stomp your brains out kind of last episode in the coveted sanctuary of Terminus that hits you right in the gut and leaves our little tribe of survivors in suspended peril.  All you basically can do is hold on and wait to see how it all unfolds and plays out in the fifth season.

So to me, The Walking Dead is as much about survival and zombies as it is about character development.  As I kind of mentioned before, the writing is very strong.  That’s what makes us tune in each and every week.  If it was solely about killing zombies left and right every week, then I don’t think it would have lasted this long and be so heralded.  After all, that’s why we have those crappy Resident Evil movies for is it not?  It honestly feels like I am growing up with Rick’s onscreen son, Carl, as we have seen him mature from being just a little boy to a pistol whipping young man who seems to know how to hold his own.  But it’s not just Carl and Rick,  There are fan favorites like Daryl, Michonne, Hershel and even the former pizza delivery boy, Glenn, and more that we seemingly root on every week.  Basically what it all boils down to is the fact that this is very much a horror show, but it’s one of those rare ones that through the writing and spot on performances we actually care about the characters and ultimately don’t want to see no harm befall on any of them.  That is indeed a rarity in the horror genre and I feel blessed to be part of the generation of fans growing up with and watching this show live every week.

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I honestly think that if you’re here reading this Blu-ray review, you already know what to expect from this show and probably have already seen this fourth season too.  So I’m going to dispense with all the fancy words and babbling and just get to the real reason as to why you’re checking this post out.  You want the 411 on this Blu-ray release.  And I have that for you!  So let’s not waste anymore precious time and just get to it!

The fourth season of the show consisted of 16 episodes and for your reading pleasure and future reference I have listed every episode in order as they aired down below.  The number in parenthesis after the episode’s name indicates which Blu-ray disc they can be found on in this 5-disc Blu-ray package.  So let’s get at it.

1. “30 Days Without an Accident” (Disc 1)

2. “Infected” (Disc 1)

3. “Isolated” (Disc 1)

4. “Indifference” (Disc 1)

5. “Internment” (Disc 2)

6. “Live Bait” (Disc 2)

7. “Dead Weight” (Disc 2)

8. “Too Far Gone” (Disc 2)

9. “After” (Disc 3)

10. “Inmates” (Disc 3)

11. “Claimed” (Disc 3)

12. “Still” (Disc 3)

13. “Alone” (Disc 4)

14. “The Grove” (Disc 4)

15. “Us”  (Disc 4)

16. “A”  (Disc 4)

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I have to be honest with y’all.  This on looks just as fantastic as the other three seasons did on Blu-ray.  So let’s stop stalling and take a closer look at it all.

  • Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.78:1
  • Clarity/Detail:  Keep in mind here that this show is humbly shot on 16mm.  Therefore, there is grittiness and grain, but doesn’t that go hand-in-hand with the nature and subject matter of the show?  Absolutely!  It fits the source material perfectly here in that sense.  However, don’t let the grain fool you.  This Blu-ray presentation is still filled with much fine detail such as pores, oily hair, fabrics, lush vegetation, dirt, zombie gore, scars, makeup, etc.  And just a courtesy warning…the image can be soft at times, but rest assured that’s intentional.  It’s pretty much a faithful representation of what you already saw aired in my opinion.
  • Depth: Personally, I think it’s the way this show is shot that gives it that great depth of field from the wide shots of the prison to the zombies stalking, this one just pops in that respect.  
  • Black Levels: For the most part, the black levels are deep and inky save for only a few moments of heavy grain and crush.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors, like in the past three seasons, have a tendency to be a bit muted, but rightfully so given the intentional treatment of the print to match the show’s bleak survivalist subject matter.  Can you say the apocalypse?  However, look no further than the deep red blood, gore and even the bright green vegetation in the show for examples of colors popping and vibrancy.  
  • Flesh Tones: For the most part, the skin tones all look warm and natural throughout.  
  • Noise/Artifacts: Other than a few moments of excessive grain, there’s nothing to complain about here.  There are no ugly artifacts, noise or blemishes distracting you from enjoying the presentation.  Bravo!

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When I give a score of a 5 to an audio or video section you know it’s demo worthy!  And with a 7.1 lossless surround track how can this puppy not be?  Let’s examine everything you will “hear” here down below with this realistic sounding surround track.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Dynamics:  Honest to God, this surround track kind of touches it all from the softest most mundane moments and ambience to gunshots, tanks, explosions, screams and any other forms of wildness, wilderness and chaos that ensue and transpire every hour in a Walking Dead episode.  And let’s not forget that opening theme music that literally gets under your skin and for lack of a better word, “infects” you.  Wowsers!
  • Low Frequency Extension: There’s a plethora of action that goes on here so take your pick.  Do you want to talk about gunshots ringing out or tanks rolling or body punches?  Pick your poison and rest assured the LFE delivers when needed here.
  • Surround Sound Presentation:  This one just keeps getting better as through the surround sound channels you’ll have to check yourself before you wreck yourself because you just might mistake your 8-year old nephew standing behind you as a zombie attacker stalking you from every which way.  Put the knives and guns away here while watching this presentation.  We don’t want anyone getting hurt here, do we?  All the zombie growls and screams are just for fun here!
  • Dialogue Reproduction:  I had absolutely no problems here as the dialogue is always focused, concise, crisp, clear and intelligible.  You can’t ask for anything more, can you?  Of course not!

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The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season 5-disc Blu-ray set rewards fans with hours of bonus features, including never-before-seen production footage, deleted scenes and audio commentaries, with exclusive content found only available on this Blu-ray release, including additional audio commentaries and several extended episodes seen for the first time for the first time ever!  How about before we go any further we give the hard working folks over at Anchor Bay Entertainment a big round of enthusiastic applause for the superior releases they put out year after year for this series?!  THE ROAR OF THE AUDIENCE OVERWHELMS AND TAKES OVER THIS REVIEW MOMENTARILY.  So without further ado let’s talk about everything you will find in this Blu-ray set.

It should be noted that with the exception of the Extended Episodes and Commentaries, all the below Extras appear on the fifth Blu-ray disc.

  • Extended Episodes (HD) – There are not one, but two extended episodes that are housed on this Blu-ray set.  Drum roll…please.  These are episodes 9 (“After”) and 14 (“The Grove”).  It should be noted that on the rear slipcover they say that episode 16 “A” is an Extended Episode, but I challenge you to find it.   
  • Drawing Inspiration (HD, 6:07) – From the title of this extra I’m sure you can put two and two together in figuring out that this one is pretty much about the inspirational and source material of the comics and how the television show draws from them.

  • Hershel (HD, 7:39) – Here the cast and crew of the show talk about Scott Wilson’s character, Hershel, and how loved he is.

  • The Governor Is Back (HD, 8:43) – Ding dong!  The Governor is back and here we take a closer look at his return as the cast and crew all chime in.  Yeehaw!  I love this guy!

  • Society, Science & Survival (HD, 5:31) – Here we take look at academia and the online courses that tie into the television show and include it in their course material.

  • Inside KNB EFX (HD, 18:20) – This one looks into the visual effects and gore employed in the show.  This one is a fan favorite if you want to know how all the gore is really done!

  • A Journey Back to Brutality (HD, 8:18) – This one focuses on my favorite character, Rick Grimes, as we take a closer look at his character arc in this fourth season.

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 9:14) –  This one includes deleted scenes from the following 8 episodes: “30 Days Without an Accident,” “Live Bait,” “Dead Weight,” “Too Far Gone,” “Still,” “The Grove,” “Us” and “A.”  My favorite press person in this world and any other planet was gracious enough to provide us with two of these deleted scenes so I thought I would share them here if that’s alright with you.

  • Commentaries (HD) – Count them!  There are a total of 5 full episodes available with audio commentary.  The are as follows.
    • Episode 1 (“30 Days Without An Accident”) – Audio Commentary with Executive Producer and Showrunner Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager Tom Luse and Executive Producer/Special Effects Make-Up Supervisor/Director Greg Nicotero
    • Episode 5 (“Internment”) – Audio Commentary with Executive Producer and Showrunner Scott M. Gimple and Actor Scott Wilson (Hershel)
    • Episode 9 (“After”) – Audio Commentary with Executive Producer/Special Effects Make-Up Supervisor /Director Greg Nicotero, Co-Executive Producer Denise Huth and Actor Danai Gurira (Michonne)
    • Episode 12 (“Still”) – Audio Commentary with Director Julius Ramsay and Actor Emily Kinney (Beth); Audio Commentary with Writer/Producer Angela Kang and Actor Norman Reedus (Daryl)
    • Episode 14 (“The Grove”) – Audio Commentary with Executive Producer and Showrunner Scott M. Gimple, Executive Producer Denise Huth and Actor Andrew Lincoln (Rick)
  • Inside The Walking Dead (HD) – There are a total of 16 featurettes that accompany each episode which talk about the story, characters and tone as we go along throughout the fourth season.  They are all pretty much titled the same and here are their runtimes:  Inside Episode 401 (5:27), Inside Episode 402 (5:46), Inside Episode 403 (5:40), Inside Episode 404 (5:29), Inside Episode 405 (4:38), Inside Episode 406 (4:17), Inside Episode 407 (5:03), Inside Episode 408 (5:56), Inside Episode 409 (6:04), Inside Episode 410 (5:45), Inside Episode 411 (4:28), Inside Episode 412 (5:55), Inside Episode 413 (4:56), Inside Episode 414 (5:06), Inside Episode 415 (5:57) and Inside Episode 416 (5:24).
  • The Making of The Walking Dead (HD) – These ones, coincidentally titled like the ones we just got done discussing up above focus on the behind-the-scenes and making of each episode throughout the season.  The brief featurettes include the following: The Making of Episode 401 (5:13), The Making of Episode 402 (5:26), The Making of Episode 403 (5:40), The Making of Episode 404 (4:18), The Making of Episode 405 (3:26), The Making of Episode 406 (3:42), The Making of Episode 407 (4:42), The Making of Episode 408 (5:58), The Making of Episode 409 (3:49), The Making of Episode 410 (4:28), The Making of Episode 411 (5:24), The Making of Episode 412 (4:10), The Making of Episode 413 (4:44), The Making of Episode 414 (5:36), The Making of Episode 415 (4:38), and The Making of Episode 416 (3:29).
  • UltraViolet Digital HD (HD) – This is the crown jewel of these extras for me.  I’m completely overjoyed that Anchor Bay has graciously given us Digital Copies of each episode to enjoy on the road, at work or heck even on the toilet.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  My iPad on my kitchen table thanks you a million times and more!  This is what made it a 5-star extra section for me!


Before we go on I thought it would be great if I could share some of my unboxing pictures with you.  I get very excited with hotly anticipated releases like these and so should you!  So down below check out how everything looks in this 5-disc Blu-ray set!


Here’s the front of the slipcover that houses the Blu-ray spindle case.

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Here’s the rear of the slip cover.  As you can see the plastic has yet to be opened!  Oh the anticipation!

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There’s some paperwork (UV code and ads) and here’s disc #1.

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Here are the second and third Blu-ray discs housed in the spindle.

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And finally here are the fourth and fifth discs in the Blu-ray set.

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If you’re a fan of the show, this Blu-ray set is an absolute no “brainer,” no pun intended…okay it was!  Anchor Bay rewards fans here with one of the best television shows on Blu-ray complete with hours of bonus features (deleted scenes, making of production footage, commentaries, Digital Copies of each episode and more), Extended Episodes and an impeccable Audio and Video presentation.  You can’t really ask for anything more.  This is the Blu-ray television set you’ve been waiting to “re-live” (pun intended) all over again since the arrival at Terminus Season 4 cliffhanger (“A”).  All this can and will be yours on Tuesday, August 26th.  So hit up the pre-order link down below or try your luck in our giveaway contest here.  You can always return the store bought copy should you win or keep it as a spare set when you wear out the first set from watching it so much OR RE-GIFT!  I don’t care!  Either way…enjoy it!  I know I will continue to do so now that I can bring The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season everywhere with me on my favorite portable devices thanks to the kind and generous folks over at Anchor Bay.  Special thanks to all the press people I worked with over the past few months (you know who you all are) that enabled me to report on every single possible aspect of this hotly anticipated, thrilling Blu-ray release through the many posts we covered here on the site and also for the opportunity to review this title.  I’m humbled and very appreciative!

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