The Walking Dead Season 5 Blu-ray Review
I learned a valuable lesson about The Walking Dead during its fifth season; the show works much better if you binge watch it as opposed to watching it week to week. Generally speaking, I’d much rather binge watch a TV show, but because ‘The Walking Dead’ is traditionally filled with so many spoiler-rich moments, I decided to watch the fifth season week to week for the first time. Unfortunately, splitting up The Walking Dead over the course of a few months exposed some of the shows problems and I found myself disenchanted with the series as a whole. It’s still a good show, but it’s definitely not as great as I once thought.
The fifth season finds the group recovering from the aftermath of their Terminus nightmare and still searching for a place to live. Their travels lead them to find Beth as a captive in a hospital, run by former policemen. After Beth’s untimely demise, they set out again, this time headed to Washington D.C., where Eugene insists he has a cure to deliver to the government. On their way there, Eugene finally comes clean and reveals he has no cure and only lied to stay alive. That leads the group to the makeshift city of Alexandria, where the group clashes with the peaceful residents, who seem to be naïve to the horrors of the world around them.
One of the imperfections that stuck out in the fifth season is the show’s reliance on stupid decisions to create tension. For example, when the group is battling the cops from the hospital, they take one of them hostage for a period. That hostage escapes because Sasha lets him loose for no reason. Given what she and the group has gone through, they should know better. There’s no excuse at this point in the series for idiotic decisions like that, but they’re constantly used to create a false tension or for a cheap scare. At a certain point, the audience stops caring about whether or not the characters die and just wants them to die so we can stop going through this.
The other major issue with the show is the lack of direction for the group. I liked the idea of them heading to D.C. because I was excited for the show to expand and grow. I wasn’t expecting them to find a cure, but I was expecting them to meet up with a resistance group and then give the group a purpose. The last thing I wanted was for the group to find yet another place to stay, only to have everything blow up in their face. Each half-season goes one of two ways; the group finds a place to stay and things start to unravel or, the group has to fight another group. I know the show is insanely popular, but I question how long it can sustain by repeating this pattern.
Finally, there’s death. It’s hard to fathom that killing off characters has become sort of a gimmick in TV shows these days, but since each death in shows like The Walking Dead, Grey’s Anatomy and Game of Thrones (let me apologize to GoT for mentioning it in the same breath as Grey’s Anatomy), gets so much media attention, it’s no surprise shows are starting to strategically kill popular characters to get a social media and ratings boost. I’m not sure I’d accuse The Walking Dead of needlessly killing characters, but some of the deaths in season 5 felt anticlimactic, especially Tyreese, who died because he had a stupid moment that felt out of character and out of place. But to the show’s credit, the deaths tend to mask some of the show’s other shortcomings.
The Walking Dead is still a good time, but it might be a victim of its own popularity. AMC has clearly dictated the show add more episodes (up to 16 now), which has made each episode less impactful than in previous seasons. We’re also stuck in a bit of a cycle, with no end in sight. The group has no goals or objectives and they seem to be waiting for the next bad thing to happen. That said, when it comes to horror-dramas with great characters, The Walking Dead can’t be beat. And there’s always Darryl.
Video: Every episode looked wonderful. ‘The Walking Dead’ is a dark show, but thankfully the transfer quality didn’t suffer because of it.
Audio: The audio was also very well done.
Commentaries: Five commentaries in total, all of which are pretty interesting. I especially enjoyed the commentary for “No Sanctuary”, with actress Melissa McBride (Carol). The others are all pretty interesting as well and Daryl fans will appreciate Norman Reedus showing up for the commentary on “Them”.
Deleted Scenes (15:58): Six episodes get some deleted scenes added on. Deleted scenes in TV shows are usually cut for time purposes and that’s what these feel like.
The Making of the Walking Dead: Each episode has a mini making of featurette that goes with it. If you watch an episode and really loved it, I’d recommend watching the accompanying making-of featurette.
“Journey” Featurettes (20:33): The four main characters that die get their own featurette detailing their development throughout the series.
A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz/Josh McDermitt (7:57 each): Two separate featurettes following the two actors on set.
Rotters in the Flesh (4:50): A look at some of the gruesome special effects.