The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season

The living dead invade your TV in this horrifying new series making its Blu-ray bow

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is a must-see for any fan of the undead. Coming from the same channel that gave us Mad Men and overseen by Frank ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ Darabont, this adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic book is probably the best thing to feature the living dead since Romero’s original zombie trilogy. This is truly adult horror; an intelligent and intense show that focuses as much on the everyday horrors the survivors must endure as it does on flesh-eating corpses. Of course, if you are just here for the zombies, then rest that it also packs more gore and thrills into its six episodes than all of the Resident Evil films put together.

Picture: If The Walking Dead doesn’t look quite as sparkling as some other high-profile US TV shows on Blu-ray, that’s down to the fact that it was primarily shot using 16mm cameras. This serves to give the series a rough-hewn aesthetic that matches its tone perfectly. Taken on their own merits, the six AVC 1.78:1 1080p encodes spread across this two-disc set are very pleasing, full of rock-solid blacks and bold colours. Given its 16mm origins, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of grain in the image, but it’s extremely well delineated and doesn’t obscure fine details.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Now this is good. The sound designers on this show clearly had a ball playing around with a full 5.1 soundscape and have cooked up something that often belies its origins as weekly televised entertainment. When the action heats up the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtracks really come into their own – the pilot episode alone has two spectacular sequences that give your system a full workout (one involving a car crash, the other a tank surrounded by the undead). It’s thrilling stuff that’ll constantly have you checking back over your shoulder to make sure there isn’t a zombie sneaking behind you for a quick bite.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: The superb show was really crying out for some quality extras. Instead, we’re just stuck with a bunch of stuff that was clearly made to promote the series online. The only really substantial content is fairly extensive 30min Making of… featurette and a 12min convention panel with the producers. The rest boils down to mini-featurettes offering short interviews, set visits and a look at the making of each specific episode – not too exciting then, although the one offering zombie makeup tips is a lot of fun.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: A great horror series only let down on Blu-ray by some lifeless extras

Entertainment One, Region B BD, £35 approx, On sale now