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ANCHOR BAY

SERIES INFO

Creators:
Dave Erickson and Robert Kirkman
Cast:
Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
What did the world look like as it was transforming into the horrifying apocalypse depicted in The Walking Dead? Set in Los Angeles, this spin-off follows new characters as they face the beginning of the end of the world.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 291 min.
Price: $49.99
Release Date: 12/1/2015

Bonus:
• :”A Look At the Series” Featurette
• “Inside the Characters of Fear the Walking Dead” Featurette


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 1, 2015)

Given the enormous success of AMC’s The Walking Dead, should it come as a shock that the network created a spin-off series? Probably not, but I’m a little surprised they’d branch out in that way, at least while the original show remains on the air. Many spin-offs come when the first series ends, so the decision to create two “competing” shows seems unusual to me.

Never having seen the original, I was curious to give Fear the Walking Dead a try. This “Complete First Season” set contains all six episodes of Fear. The plot synopses come from the series’ official website.

Pilot: “A highly dysfunctional blended family is forced together when they realize a reported virus is actually the onset of the undead apocalypse.”

As the series’ opening episode, I expect a fair amount of exposition from the “Pilot”, and we get that here. However, I think the episode drags too much. It sets up the characters and situations reasonably well but dawdles more than I’d like, especially since we know where the story will lead. The program manages to create a bit of intrigue, though, so hopefully subsequent shows will prove more involving.

So Close, Yet So Far: “While Madison struggles to keep Nick from crippling withdrawal, Travis ventures out to find his son before the city of Los Angeles falls.”

Like the first episode, “Close” indulges in a fair amount of exposition, and that makes sense. The “outbreak” remains new and confusing to the characters, so the show should continue to develop those elements. Unlike “Pilot”, though, “Close” manages more action and drama, so it turns into an interesting program.

The Dog: “After they escape a riot, Travis, Liza and Chris seek refuge with the Salazars; Madison defends her home.”

With “Dog”, the series offers a nice balance of horror and plot development. It probably meshes the two sides better than its predecessors, and it moves along the series in a satisfying manner.

Not Fade Away: “Madison and Travis see different sides of the National Guard's occupation in their neighborhood; the family tries to adapt to the new world.

After a couple of more action-oriented shows, “Fade” goes with a more expository tone. That works fine, as we get a good feel for life in the quarantined zone – and a sense that something mysterious exists outside of that location. Even without the gore and horror, “Fade” thickens the plot well.

Cobalt: “The National Guard's plan for the neighborhood is revealed; Travis and Madison make a difficult decision.”

With only one more episode after this, “Cobalt” manages to heat up various plot elements. Matters become more intense both in general narrative and character-specific realms. I like the darkness that grows here and look forward to the finale.

The Good Man: “As civil unrest grows, and the dead take over, Travis and Madison try to devise ways to protect their families.”

While most of Season One remained fairly subdued, the proverbial “stuff” hits the fan with the exciting “Good Man”. It offers by far the most far-reaching zombie action and advances character elements in a positive way. “Good Man” becomes a strong end to the year.

Someday we’ll get our fill of zombies, but that we’ve not gotten there yet, and Fear the Walking Dead demonstrates that there are more interesting undead stories to tell. Although I can’t say I think this becomes a great series, it works pretty well and piques my interest to see where events go in Season Two.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D

Fear the Walking Dead appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The shows offered good visuals.

Overall definition appeared positive. A little softness infected some wider elements, but not to a substantial or persistent degree, so the majority of the series came across as accurate and concise. I noticed no jaggies or shimmering, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Source flaws created no distractions.

In terms of palette, Fear went with a pretty standard orange and teal. Those hues came across well enough given their limitations. Blacks looked dark and tight, while low-light shots offered nice delineation. Fear became an appealing presentation.

As for the series’ Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, it worked reasonably well. The soundscape opened up the material in a decent manner, though the mix never became terribly involving. Still, various elements fleshed out the spectrum, and a few – such as aircraft and other vehicles – featured the surrounds in a pleasing way.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech was distinctive and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music appeared lively and full, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy. The track wasn’t as good as one would get from a theatrical release, but for a TV series, it seemed positive.

Only minor extras appear here. A Look At the Series runs four minutes, 11 seconds and offers notes from executive producers Dave Erickson, Dave Alpert, Greg Nicotero and Gale Anne Hurd, co-executive producer/director Adam Davidson, and actors Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane and Cliff Curtis. “Look” tells us a little about narrative/character elements. This becomes a promo piece without much substance.

Inside the Characters of Fear the Walking Dead lasts two minutes, 55 seconds and presents Hurd, Dickens, Dillane, Curtis, Erickson, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Lorenzo James Henrie, Ruben Blades, and Mercedes Mason. They offer brief character overviews. If you’ve watched Season One, this is useless, as it provides no insight.

Even though the zombie genre threatens over-saturation, Fear the Walking Dead manages to give us an interesting take. With only six episodes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, and we get a good character-based view of the undead apocalypse. The Blu-ray provides positive picture and audio but lacks substantial supplements. Fear turns into an involving horror series.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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