The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray Review

Check out our review of The Walking Dead Season 5. The previous season ended with Rick and the group outgunned, outnumbered, and trapped in a train car awaiting a grim fate. What follows is a story that weaves the true motives of the people of Terminus with the hopeful prospect of a cure in Washington, D.C., the fate of the group’s lost comrades, as well as new locales, new conflicts, and new obstacles in keeping the group together and staying alive.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

91

Details:

Studio and Year: AMC – 2014/2015
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Feature running time: 710 Minutes
Genre: Horror/Drama/TV

Disc Format: BD-50 (5 Disc Set)
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 7.1, French Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride
Directed by: David Boyd, Greg Nicotero, Jeffrey F. January, Julius Ramsay
Music by: Bear McCreary
Written by: Charlie Adlard, Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 25, 2015

“The new world’s gunna need Rick Grimes”

My Take:

After what I considered to be the weakest season (my review here), The Walking Dead is back with a bang. Serving up a season that is non-stop and relentless, here we have the gang finding a new place to try and survive, however, fitting in is not so easy. Besides the Zombies, the real challenge for our group is assimilation into a developed society. But as we all know, if it looks too good to be true, it usually is…

The Walking Dead: Season 5 kept up the aesthetic and vibe of previous seasons but challenged the viewer with the changes in personality finding this “utopia” had on our main characters. It was tough to tell if our lead, Rick Grimes, had a change or was it everyone around him buying into the safety of this found society. Rick’s story-arc here was his best for me, as it really asked the viewer to take a stance on their opinion of the series lead protagonist. Besides the fun gore and zombies, this season hit great notes on an emotional level, primarily about if our leads actions were wrong or right.

The Walking Dead: Season 5 did not reinvent the wheel, in fact it is much of the same and could be considered tedium to those who didn’t invest time to see how how this ragtag group will adapt to a community that is civilized but has strict rules… especially considering all they have seen and done on the outside. The season ends on a cliffhanger that has me excited for Octobers premiere of Season 6.

For Reference here are my reviews for past seasons:
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4

Parental Guide:

This film contains some sexual content, language and brief nudity.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

The Walking Dead: Season 5 comes to Blu-ray disc from Anchor Bay/Starz featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25.6 mbps Dolby TrueHD MA 7.1 lossless surround sound that has a average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.

There is very little, if any deviation in the aesthetic of the show, the sound design as well as the quality of the transfer Anchor Bay delivers on Blu-ray. I did note that this season seemed to look a bit sharper with more rendering of finer details in long shots as well as close-ups. Besides that, my thoughts are the same as the previous releases which I am quoting below.

“Anchor Bay delivers a faithful transfer of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead‘. You better love film grain as this was shot on 16mm film stock, and the grain is pretty heavy here…you can almost sink your teeth into it. Grain can be a double edged sword, sometimes it can get overbearing but sometimes it is beautiful, adding to the look and feel of a film. Here it added to the gritty despair and depression of the situation. It was not the most detailed or crisp HD broadcast I have seen, but was passable. This translates directly to its Blu-ray release, showing that Anchor Bay was true to the source. Colors seem spot on from what I have on MY DVR, with flesh-tones taking on a natural but slightly pale tone. Black levels sure do shine as do the shadow details. There really is nothing to fault here, as it looks as it should and was filmed to look. The audio track was a step above, with a rich and dynamic soundscape, having no issues with dialogue and a very nice surround presentation. Most impressive was the palpable concussion of gunshots and other dynamic sound effects as well as LFE that dug room shaking deep, adding another level to this superb lossless Dolby TrueHD.”

Bonus Features:

  • Audio Commentaries on 7 episodes
  • (HD) Inside The Walking Dead
  • (HD) The Making of The Walking Dead
  • (HD) Making of Alexandria
  • (HD) Beth’s Journey
  • (HD) Bob’s Journey
  • (HD) Noah’s Journey
  • (HD) Tyrese’s Journey
  • (HD) Day in the Life of Michael Cudlitz
  • (HD) A Day in the Life of Josh McDermitt
  • (HD) Rotters in the Flesh
  • (HD) 6 Deleted Scenes
  • (HD) Previews
  • UltraViolet (UV) Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

The Walking Dead: Season 5 is a bit of a comeback after a slow season 4. This season grabbed a hold and never let go, having command over its pacing, emotions and thrills. I am back on board and excited for season 6! Fans will still love Anchor Bay’s loads of extra features along with the full season in Ultraviolet. This is absolutely worth picking up.

On further reflection, I do hope we finally explore the virus and more about it in season 6, as in retrospect, my favorite moment in the series was the groups visit to the CDC at the end of season 1, and since they have kept that subject matter at bay.

 

Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Falcon Screens Horizon 138″ 2.35:1 Acoustically Transparent Screen
Da-Lite Pro Imager Projector Screen Masking System
Marantz AV8802 Pre/Pro
Parasound Halo A51 & A21 7×250
Sony BDP-S790 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triad Gold Monitors
Triad Silver Surrounds x4
Triad Bronze Subwoofers x4
Panamorph DC1 Anamorphic Lens
AudioQuest Wires

Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 3D 1080p Plasma
Anthem MRX-310-AV Receiver
Sony BDP-S790 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
MKSound MP-7 LCR’s
MKSound SUR-55T Surrounds
Triad Bronze Subwoofer