DVD Review: The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season, Out Now on Blu-ray & DVD

The Walking DeadAMC's The Walking Dead follows a group of survivors during the zombie apocalypse as they battle "walkers" and often each other, as they learn that the living can be more dangerous than the dead.

The series keeps getting better, and season four is the best yet. The first half of this season focuses on what happens when a simple virus threatens to destroy everything they have built at the prison, when people get sick and die and then turn into walkers. A big storyline that starts during this half is discovering who burns the bodies of two of the infected, as well as who has been feeding the walkers. The first half culminates with the return of The Governor (David Morrissey) and the subsequent brutal standoff.

The second half of the season focuses on the survivors trying to regroup after being separated during the prison attack. They also meet a trio of new characters along the way, who might have some insight on the walker virus. The groups work to find their way back to one another on the way to Terminus, which may be their salvation, or it may be something much more sinister.

The Walking DeadThe intertwining stories this season were really strong. The focus on people becoming sick was really interesting, making you think about how many ways those around them can turn into walkers, without ever having been bitten.

The thread with the characters of Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) and Mika (Kyla Kenedy) and how they both fare with growing up during a zombie apocalypse (opposed to say Carl for instance), and how their relationship to mother figure Carol (Melissa McBride) parallels that to her own dead child, was one of the most compelling parts of the season, in my opinion. The girls' acting, especially the creepy Sharbino, was fantastic, and McBride really shined this season.

The return of The Governor was of course really exciting, and the writers actually made viewers feel a bit sorry for him this year, seeing more of what drives him, and wondering if he really could come back from everything he did.

For the second half, I enjoyed learning more about the individual characters as they were separated into smaller groups. I especially enjoyed the scenes between Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Beth (Emily Kinney) as they got to know each other.

I also was pleased the interactions with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), as Rick continues to struggle to let his son take on more of a leadership role  and to accept that his childhood is over.

All around the acting of the cast and the writing was stellar, as always. AMC continues to make a masterpiece of television that examines what it means to be human and how far we would go to protect those we care about.

Bonus Features:

Inside The Walking Dead: There are sixteen featurettes (one for each episode) where the cast and crew discuss the story and characters and give their thoughts.

The Making of The Walking Dead: These sixteen featurettes are behind-the-scenes looks at different sequences, special effects, and such.

Drawing Inspiration – This feature is about adapting scenes from the comic books to the screen. The cast and crew reference specific moments from episode 409.

The Walking DeadHershel – This feature includes Scott Wilson, as well as other cast and crew talking about Hershel and how he impacted the characters as a group and on an individual basis. They also talk about Hershel became the moral compass after Dale died, and him representing a symbol of hope, and about the loss of the character.

The Governor is Back – This segment of course focuses on David Morrissey's character and his return. The cast and crew talk about how he changed as "Brian" and how he was too far gone and became The Governor as we know him once again. They also discuss how he was affected by Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) and Meghan (Meyrick Murphy).

Society, Science, & Survival – This feature talks about college level online courses that were developed at UC Irvine. It contains different subjects including social science, physics, public health, math, and more. The professors talk about how events in the show relate to real life and ways people would react to such events.

Inside KNB Studios – This was my favorite feature. It's about eighteen minutes long and it is with Greg Nicotero and the others that work on special effects for the series talking about many of the complicated effects and gags they've pulled off over the seasons. A few examples are the "Moss Walker" from 403, the bathtub walker from 408, and the burnt walkers from 414. They also talk about how they have make "tribute walkers" as nods to other zombies from film and television, and how they often use the same actors and actresses over and over for walkers. It's a very interesting special feature if you like to see how special and practical effects are made.

The Walking DeadA Journey Back to Brutality – This feature is about Rick's journey during season four and how he is trying to repress his brutality and not take the leadership role for once. In the end of course Rick loses that battle as he brutally kills Joe (Jeff Kober) to save Carl. Nicotero says that we will see a different Rick in season five.

The blu-ray set comes in the normal blue clamshell case with slip cover and five discs. Also included is a Digital HD Ultraviolet code to watch anywhere, as well as a "Dead Stuff" booklet that showcases merchandise for The Walking Dead, and an advertisement for a Halloween blu-ray collection.

I was really disappointed by the information in the set this time. There is nothing written on the discs to tell what episodes are on each one, which would not be a huge deal, except there is no insert or text on the back of the cover or anything that tells what's on each disc; the viewer is left to guess. When you put the discs in it also only shows the episode titles, not the numbers.

On inspection I found that disc one has episodes 1-4 (30 Days Without an Accident, Infected, Isolation, Indifference), disc two has 5-8 (Internment, Live Bait, Dead Weight, Too Far Gone), disc three contains 9-12 (After [Extended Version], Inmates, Claimed, Still), disc four has 13-16 (Alone, The Grove (Extended Version), Us, A), and disc five has just the bonus features (minus the commentaries). The back of the cover does list the generalized special features, but that is it.

Regardless, this is definitely a great set, and if you are a fan of The Walking Dead it may be worth it to you for just the bonus features alone, because there are quite a bit. I definitely recommend it.
Season 4 DVD Trailer

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