Genre: Horror | Action | Drama
Creators: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont
Run time: 688 minutes
Release date: August 27, 2013
Based on the hugely popular graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON continues to draw in record audiences. Season 3 follows the weary group of survivors led by police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), as they take refuge in a prison and attempt to set up a permanent camp. But while invading zombies are an ever-present danger, they must also battle the living, not only in the form of abandoned prisoners, but also the sadistic “Governor” (David Morrissey) and his followers. New characters introduced this season include Danai Gurira as “Michonne,” with her two “zombie pets” in tow, and Dallas Roberts (Shadow People) as the Governor’s lieutenant Milton, as well as the return of Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker).
THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON cast also includes Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, IronE Singleton, Chandler Riggs, Scott Wilson and Melissa McBride.
Season 3 of The Walking Dead was so much better than Season 2 that it might as well have been a different show entirely. There were a few excellent episodes and several great performances both in front and behind the screen, but yowie what a drag Season 2 was.
As opposed to the stunning Season 3, when the show really comes into its own. Season 1 was small and quiet and shocking. Season 2 was big and quiet and slow, with a couple of shocks that became dulled by the oppressively reduced speed. Season 3 is big and shocking, finding a way to keep a high level of quality while piling up a relentlessly high level of action.
There are no lapses in the season. Everyone who worked on the production clearly brought their A-game, and that level with these participants is something wonderful to behold. The arc of each episode and of the season as a whole is expertly conducted, and watching each episode back to back with no commercials to interrupt (or to speed through) allows for a full appreciation of the stressful, dramatic, heartbreaking gorefest.
To see and hear this season on Blu-ray is to get the optimal experience. The video is crispy-clear, and with the ultra-high quality level of production in this show, that is a true benefit. Likewise the audio is beautifully articulated, and captures the solitude of the near-abandoned countryside, the ickiness of guts being pulled out of bodies, and Bear McCreary‘s perfect score with equal precision.
In short, The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season is a visual and auditory gift that you absolutely need to add to you library.
What keeps this set from getting a 5-star rating is the complete lack of any kind of index anywhere, and it drives me completely crazy. Not only is there no booklet nor anything printed on the main case that lists the breakdown of episodes per disc, but the discs themselves have no indication of content. No episode names or numbers, nothing beyond the actual disc number. You know, “Disc 1”. “Disc 2”. No, I’m not kidding. You have to guess which episodes are on which discs.
It’s even worse with the commentaries, generally my favorite aspect of any series set. The cardboard slipcase does tell us that there are “Audio Commentaries on Episodes 4, 5, 8, 9 and 15”. That’s it. No idea who does the commentaries or the names of the episodes, and of course no idea beyond a best guess where those episodes might be on the discs. AND (yes, there’s more) when you play each disc, you STILL have no idea which episodes have commentaries until you actually click on each episode to see if there is a commentary option, because although we know from the slipcover which episode numbers have commentaries, the episodes themselves are not numbered on the onscreen menu. GRRRR. ARRRGH.
Ironically, the slipcase also informs us “Deleted Scenes: Walk With Me, Say the Word, Hounded, Home, I Ain’t No Judas, Clear”. Hmm, I wonder which number episodes those are? Because you never, ever see a correlation between episode names and numbers anywhere, either on the packaging, the discs, or the onscreen menus.
Even the menu subscreens earn a negative score because to select, you don’t move the highlight, you move the underline. I suppose it’s meant to be artful, but “artful” should be less important than “clear”.
So bookmark this review, or print it out, because I’m going to do you and Anchor Bay a favor and give you the missing information, right here and now:
Disc 1 – Episodes 1-4; Killer Within (Episode 4) Commentary by Director Guy Ferland and Actor IronE Singleton
Disc 2 – Episodes 5-8; Say the Word (Episode 5) Commentary by Director Greg Nicotero and Actor Danai Gurira; Made to Suffer (Episode 8) Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Robert Kirkman, Executive Producers David Alpert and Gale Anne Hurd, and Actor Danai Gurira
Disc 3 – Episodes 9-12; The Suicide King (Episode 9) Commentary by Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd and Actor Danai Gurira
Disc 4 – Episodes 13-16; This Sorrowful Life (Episode 15) Commentary by Director Greg Nicotero and Actor Michael Rooker
Disc 5 – Featurettes and Deleted Scenes (listed on slipcover)
The featurettes are great, and were posted here on SciFiMafia.com as they were released, throughout the broadcast of the season. Although they aren’t new, it’s great to have them packaged with the season. Watching a series on DVD or Blu-ray is a much more immersive experience than watching during a broadcast, and watching the featurettes as a part of that experience is a great enhancement.
As obviously irritated as I am about the apparent lack of thought for the non-“play all” consumer, you really do need to get this set. The content of The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season is absolutely excellent throughout, in every way, from acting to directing to writing, to the stunningly gory and gorgeous audio and visual.
I give The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray) Four Out of Five Stars.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray) is available from Amazon now; here’s the link: