As we head towards the premiere of season three of The Walking Dead I thought it appropriate to revisit the second season of the show.
While season one had been entertaining it did seem to drag in the middle part and at only six episodes long this had been a concern as season expanded to 13 episodes, however the writers seem to have over come this and given us a well balanced season that balances shocks and horror with the groups human drama while constantly building to the series inevitable dramatic conclusion.
Once again the thing that really stands out on season two of The Walking Dead is the production values, particularly in terms of the make up effects, as we get to see literally hordes of the undead all unique and all suitably gruesome.
Credit for this has to go to Greg Nicotero and his team who return from season one and, having made his name on Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror and George A Romero’s Diary of the Dead, Nicotero seems to have the knack of creating zombies that manage to be at once terrifying while also showing that they were once a human being.
Not only is it the individual zombie design, but also the realization of some of the writers more gruesome ideas, that really stands out as in this season we see a zombie hanging from a tree with his lower legs eaten off and a geek forcing its way through a glass windscreen (amongst many other gruesome sights) which are spectacularly realised.
Away from the make up effects the cast, initially streamlined and then bolstered, seem to be much more relatable now that we know the characters and so we are deeply involved with them from the off as tragedy after tragedy strikes and they go from the remains of the CDC to find some level of respite on a rural farm.
Alongside this we also a further development of the characters reactions to the apocalypse and, while these sometimes head in clichéd or archetypal areas, they remain interesting and certainly in season two some characters gain an extra depth and identity which lifts them from their background roles in season one.
As the season continues new characters come and go and again the more permanent of the new characters seem better drawn than their season one counterparts making for a better connection to them and a bigger sense of threat when they fall into peril.
As the series ends we are given a few teasing glimpses at what is to come in season three, and while I don’t want to spoil them for you, all I can say it seems season three will once again up the stakes with some of the comic books most well-regarded characters being added into the fray.
Considering this is a three-disc Blu-ray set, with one disc entirely set over to extra features, they feel somewhat sparse.
What we get are a bunch of deleted scenes ranging from a few seconds long to whole new locations, but all of them really are hugely unessential. The best of the bunch sees Dale stumble upon a radio station broadcasting a preacher type voice telling anyone who might be listening why it was the fault of society that the dead had risen as a punishment from God – while Dale’s reaction to this is interesting and adds an extra element to his character, it is far from being anything that adds to his character later in the series.
Alongside the deleted scenes are a series of featurettes, most of which add little to the background work on the show. A couple however are relatively interesting as we get to see how some of the sound effects are made by the show’s foley team, how the score is put together and how the writers adapt the comic for the screen and their reason for some of their choices (in general terms).
While this isn’t a stunning set of extra content, it does add a few things to the show and, along with season two’s generally more consistent offering that season one, I’m very much looking forward to see what happens to our ‘survivours’ as they head to their next challenges.