Blu-ray Review: The Walking Dead Season 5
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The Walking Dead
The Complete Season 5
Blu-ray | DVD
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yuen, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Emily Kinney
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: August 25, 2015

The end of March also brought the end to Season 5 of AMC’s hit drama The Walking Dead, and in just a few weeks, Season 6 will be starting up. If you’re not caught up on the show, now’s the perfect time to do so, as Anchor Bay Entertainment has just released The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season on DVD and Blu-ray, both of which contain all 16 episodes of the season on five discs, along with plenty of bonus features.

The Walking Dead centers on a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse in Georgia who band together as a family and find safety in numbers, first at a campsite, then at a kindly doctor’s farm, and eventually in an abandoned prison. Led by sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), over time the group not only hones their survival skills, but they learn to use weapons to fight the “Walkers” — those infected by the zombie virus, who then return from the dead as mindless creatures whose sole instinct is to feast on human flesh. Once Rick and his community, which over the course of the series had seen growth spurts as well as many sad deaths, found the prison, it seemed as though they finally had a safe haven they could settle in. But as we know, all good things must come to an end, especially in a world where survival of the fittest has never been more true.

In the middle of Season 4, after Rick went head to head against The Governor (David Morrissey), the leader of the seemingly idyllic gated community of Woodbury, the prison was lost to them and the group members inadvertently became separated during their evacuation. In their struggle to regroup, the survivors all end up following the road signs to Terminus, what promises to be a sanctuary for all. Motto: “All who arrive survive.” Unfortunately, that was a bit of false advertising right there. When Rick, Daryl, Carl, and Michonne make it to Terminus, they’re ambushed, and put in captivity with the other members of their group who had arrived earlier. Huddled together locked inside a boxcar, Rick tells his people, “They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out,” referring to their Terminite captors. Find out what exactly? “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”

That’s right!

Rick and the gang aren’t superpowered, they’re not geniuses, and they don’t have super-human strength, but they’ve managed to survive by sticking together, by acting as a team, and by keeping their humanity intact, which is something that others they’ve encountered along the way have lost. When Season 5 begins, they’re all still imprisoned in the train car with no escape in sight and a terrifying fate awaiting them, as we see in the first episode.

There’s several flashbacks during the season that reveal the backstory of some of the newer members, such as army sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and what happened to lead him to join up with Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), a scientist who claims to have a way to cure the zombie plague. There’s also one that shows how the Terminus residents got where they are and why they turned into the people they are now.

At this point in the story, Rick and his group have been through hell. This tight-knit group has been torn apart and taken far out of their comfort zone (if you can call anything a comfort zone in this dystopia). Some of the family have been killed, others abducted, others understandably slowly losing their sanity. They’ve been lied to and betrayed countless times. They’ve reached out to touch the mirage only to find it’s just an illusion, all the while the horrors of the walking dead and their decomposing flesh a stark reality. Even without the threat of Walkers and sadistic humans, their means for survival are dwindling, as is their stamina. They need food, clothes, and permanent shelter. They need to settle down. They need to stop running. But how? There’s talk of a true safe haven, the Alexandria Safe Zone in Washington D.C., but first, they have to make it there alive and then hope for the best afterwards.

The people behind AMC’s The Walking Dead are great about culling together a lot of behind-the-scenes footage and bonus content, so the Blu-ray has plenty of goodies in it. The show employs really well-done visual special effects, which just get better over time, so of course there’s detailed reveals on how they create the walkers and make the gore look realistic (see the “Rotters In The Flesh” bonus featurette). But, what makes The Walking Dead appealing to the average person who typically would not enjoy the horror aspects are its human elements. While we get to see a lot of ass-kicking from the likes of Rick and Daryl, the show is really about the people and what makes them tick and what decisions they’re going to make in this ever-deteriorating new world. How much of themselves will holdover from civilized society? So, it seems fitting for bonus features to be included in this home video release that give the viewer an inside look at some of the characters’ journeys, as well as a peek at a day in the life on set of some of the actors. There’s also making-of featurettes for the creation of the sets and other technical aspects of the show, as well as recaps, along with deleted scenes, which are always entertaining and in this case revealing.

Season 5 was one of the better offerings of the series and the episodes are more enjoyable with repeated viewings, especially with the audio commentary turned on for the five installments that have this feature. This Blu-ray release, which has very good sound and picture quality, will definitely give Walking Dead fans what they crave and hold them over until the Season 6 premiere on October 11, 2015.

Season 5 Bonus Features

  • 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
  • Inside “The Walking Dead”
  • The Making of “The Walking Dead”
  • The Making of Alexandria
  • Beth’s Journey
  • Bob’s Journey
  • Noah’s Journey
  • Tyreese’s Journey
  • A Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz
  • A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt
  • Rotters in the Flesh

Blu-ray Edition also includes a Digital HD copy.

Season 5 Image Gallery


THE WALKING DEAD: Season 5 — Blu-ray/DVD Deleted Scene

EP. 503, Scene 11 “Four Walls and A Roof”

THE WALKING DEAD – Season 5 Blu-ray/DVD Trailer

The Walking Dead Season 5 Coming Soon To Blu-rayâ„¢ + Digital HD and DVD

THE WALKING DEAD: Season 5 — Blu-ray/DVD Bonus Feature

“Beth’s Journey” clip

Amazon.com Widgets

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