AMC’s The Walking Dead was little more than a cult favorite when it first *ahem* came to life back in 2010. Now four seasons later the comic book-based series has become more of a cultural phenomenon than just the shot in the dark that it started as four years ago. Fans are waiting rabidly for the premiere of the series’ fifth season next month. Those fans still have a little time to wait. And while they do, they can finally get caught back up thanks to the release of The Walking Dead Season 4 last Tuesday, August 26th. Audiences’ familiarity aside, audiences will all agree that one of the key factors to the enjoyment of Season 4 is the show’s writing. The series’ writers answered in this season one of the biggest questions and concerns that had been posed by audiences from early on. In doing so, they also advanced the story and made it even more gripping. It’s just one part of what makes the writing this season such a solid sticking point for the overall presentation. Also making this season work is the acting on the part of the cast. The cast, having expanded even more from the series’ first three seasons, has offered more chances for the writers to present the show’s real heart. And now that Season 4 has been released via multiple formats, one cannot ignore the inclusion of a bevy of bonus features. These additions aren’t just the standard gag reel, “Making of” featurette and deleted scenes. There is much more here that rounds out the entire set. The rich depth of bonus material included in Season 4 set alongside the cast’s acting and the writing behind each episode shows exactly why this show is more than just another zombie-based series. It is a human drama. Considering that, Season 4 becomes full proof of why every fan of the drama genre should allow at least one chance.
When The Walking Dead first premiered four years ago, it was considered largely a cult hit. That’s because the comic book-based series focused on the attempt by the living to survive a zombie apocalypse of sorts. Since then, the show’s popularity seems to have skyrocketed. Why it has skyrocketed was anyone’s guess at first glance. However, the reason for the series’ success is more evident than ever with the release of the series’ fourth season in its various home formats. The primary reason in question for the series’ popularity lies in its writing. Audiences finally get one of the series’ most important questions and concerns at least somewhat answered this season. The noted question and concern center on how the zombie outbreak began in the first place. While the answer given doesn’t necessarily make things 100% clear, it does open up a whole new door that is certain to make the series even more interesting when its fifth season kicks off next month. That semi-answer also leads to another important aspect of this season’s writing. It leads to the series’ more human element. As the outbreak continues, it forces the survivors of the outbreak to face some very difficult situations both within their confined setting and in the grand scheme of things. To see the survivors have to face the growing emotional challenges before them will keep even the newest of viewers engaged throughout each episode. That element of human drama is really what makes this series work even now in its fourth season. Those viewers that have watched the series from day one will agree with that just as much as those that are just now jumping on. Sure, there’s the whole zombie/horror aspect on the surface. But the show’s writers keep the human drama just as much in the forefront. And it is that aspect of the writing more so than anything that keeps the series fresh even now through its fourth season. It also ties in to another aspect of what makes Season 4 work—the acting on the part of the cast.
The multifaceted writing that is used throughout the fourth season of The Walking Dead makes it surprisingly watchable even by those less familiar with the series. Also making The Walking Dead so surprisingly watchable now in its fourth season is the acting on the part of the cast, which has now expanded even more. The psychological impact of Carol (Melissa McBride) having to tell two of the girls that their father had been infected and was turning is a prime example of how the acting makes this season so powerful. It would have been so easy for the girls to ham it up as they were forced to confront the unspeakable act of having to kill their own father just to protect themselves and everyone else. But they took the moment and really went with it. They made simply watching the moment in question painful. And the coldness on The Governor’s face when he shoots Meghan late in the season will leave viewers torn emotionally. As difficult as it is to watch, one can’t help but feel at least somewhat sorry for him having to take that measure. Audiences that haven’t yet seen any part of Season 4 will understand in watching this season’s episodes. But it is acting such as that that makes this season all the more gripping. These are just a couple examples of how the acting on the part of the show’s cast makes this season perhaps one of the series’ best so far if not the best so far. Audiences will find plenty of other instances in which the cast’s work makes this season work when they purchase Season 4 for themselves.
The writing and acting that make up the fourth season of The Walking Dead are both of equal importance to the overall success and enjoyment of this newly released full season box set. Whether they are familiar with this season or seeing it for the first time, audiences will agree that both factors make this season one definitely worth watching. Now that it has been released via various formats in its home release, there is one more factor worth noting that makes Season Four worth the watch. That final factor is the inclusion of the set’s bonus material. Season Four doesn’t come with the standard gag reel, deleted scenes, etc. Rather, audiences are offered a vast array of bonuses. Most of the episodes this season receive their own behind-the-scenes featurette. There are also a number of commentaries included throughout the season. There is also a character profile on The Governor, and a look at “Society, Science and Survival” among so many other extras included with this season. There are in fact so many bonuses that in order to watch them all would add likely another whole day of viewing for fans as they count down to the premiere of this now hit series’ fifth season. And fans will agree in watching these bonuses that that is definitely a good thing (to use a familiar line).
The bonus material added in to Anchor Bay Entertainment’s newly released The Walking Dead Season 4 box sets more than live up to their collective title. And together with this season’s acting and writing, audiences will agree fully that The Walking Dead Season 4 proves to be an installment that fans familiar and not so familiar with this series will appreciate. It is available now in stores and online in a number of formats. It can be ordered direct from Anchor Bay Entertainment’s website at http://www.anchorbayent.com/detail.aspx?projectID=bed5b3a5-06a3-e311-b062-d4ae527c3b65. More information on this and other releases is available online now at http://www.anchorbayent.com, http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay and http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay. Walking Dead fans can keep up with the latest news on the show online at http://www.facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadAMC, http://www.amc.com/shows/the-walking-dead, and http://twitter.com/WalkingDead_AMC. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.