The Walking Dead – Season 2
It’s been a while since the zombie apocalypse started and the world as we know ended. After the CDC got overrun, sheriff Rick Grimes and his party of survivors have been on the run since, trying to find a place where they can find shelter without constantly having to look over their shoulder and expect to see a “walker” coming at them, ready to feast on their guts.
During a stop on the highway, Carol’s daughter Sophia goes missing when she and Rick get attacked by a couple of zombies. The group splits up in order to find her but during the search, Rick’s son Carl gets shot by a man called Otis who was on a hunting trip and lives at a farm nearby which is run by Hershel Greene. Rick manages to get Carl in time to the farm so he may still be saved and also the rest of the group gathers there as it seems the isolation has spared it from being overrun by walkers. However, while the farm looks to be peaceful and quiet, Hershel and his family have a couple of secrets themselves and the farm isn’t the calm hideout the survivors thought it might be.
It’s economic crisis and as such The Walking Dead saw its budget for this second season decreased significantly. The result is that there’s a lot less action going on and more focus is given towards the characters and their development. And that’s where things go wrong a bit. The characters are quite simplistic and quickly fall into unideminsional stereotypes they keep hanging onto for the rest of the season. Rick is the indecisive leader, Shane could just as well have put a tattoo of “bad guy” on his forehead, Glenn is everyone’s little pet, Dale acts as the group’s conscience and wants everyone to get along, and the only one who seems to have more depth to him is Daryl but his role in this season is pretty limited. That leaves only the new characters to explore, but also there we’re only left with two who are mildly interesting; Hershel and his daughter Maggie. Add to that the fact that the majority of the season we’re stuck in and around Hershel’s farm and you can imagine that the slow pace from the first season drops down to that of a zombie snail.
Does that mean this season is completely bad? Luckily not. The tension of a zombie possibly lurking around every corner, ready to grab someone and eat brains is still omnipresent and saves The Walking Dead from certain cancellation. Also the second half where we get to see that there’s other groups of survivors out there, as well as the fact that the walkers start wandering around more and more in large groups, sets things up for some interesting plot twists in the next season. And then we haven’t even talked about the season finale which is just fantastic and really makes you look forward to season 3!
As it is, season two is a bit of a letdown but the constant tension that remains present keeps you clustered to the screen.
We checked out the first season on DVD and this time we got our hands on the Blu-ray. Our first – and final – impression is that things still look as ugly as they did. Yes, Blu-ray is supposed to deliver enhanced quality, but if the makers fill your screen with tons of grain, then what can you expect? With close-ups you see that the level of detail is good, but due to the gritty and grainy images detail quickly fades away the moment the camera zooms out. Add to that toned down colors and you can imagine you get an image that perfectly fits the atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic world but still isn’t pretty to look at. The sound comes with a 5.1 Dolby Digital track which nicely delivers clear dialogues and adds some atmosphere with good positioning of effects (whenever possible).
One thing where this box shines is in the extras department. We get a ton of short featurettes covering music, sound effects, the differences between the comics and the show, special effects, and more. Next to that we also get plenty of audio commentary tracks, six webisodes that were created for the show about a woman who wakes up after a car accident and finds the zombie apocalypse having started, and finally also a bunch of deleted scenes.