The DVD and Blu-ray release of the third season of “The Walking Dead” has a release date just over two weeks before the television premiere of the fourth season, giving new fans plenty of time to catch up on the series. It took me three days to watch all sixteen season three episodes, and that was only because I forced myself to spread it out some. I probably could have watched the entire season in one sitting if life didn’t interfere. A single episode of previous seasons of “The Walking Dead” was better than most zombie films in the last five years, but this show has elevated its action and storyline to something far greater than just the typical zombie apocalypse tale. This series is not just an inspiration to the genre; it is a triumph for the medium of television.
At the beginning of the third season we join Rick and the survivors as silent nomads, drifting from vacant house to vacant house with hopes of scavenging scraps of food and moments of rest before forced to run. This method has survived them the winter, though it also has them left weakened and disheartened. Their fortune turns around when they find a remote prison, promising shelter and security they haven’t experienced since the farm. This possession eventually brings another type of danger, when a tyrant (David Morrissey) running a small town of survivors finds reason to make enemies out of Rick and the group.
Part of what makes this series so intense is its willingness to kill characters off without a moment’s notice. These bold decisions give the perception that everything is at stake and that anything could happen. The final episodes of this season have more of a likelihood to include the demise of a longstanding character than not, leaving few remaining from the first season’s cast. Whether it is by zombie bite or bullet, there are more dangers this season than any before. The new season brought the best villain of the series so far, as well as adding the Kitano-wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira) to the cast of reliably good characters.
The Blu-ray release of season three includes audio commentaries on episodes 4, 5, 8, 9, and 15. The episodes are all fit onto four discs, with the fifth and final disc reserved for the handful of deleted scenes and numerous featurettes. The deleted scenes are all character based scenes of dialogue, none of which are boring or unexpected. They mostly just seem like filler for what we already know. The featurettes, on the other hand, are spectacular. As well as the brave writing, this series features some incredibly daring practical effects devised by producer and special effects guru, Greg Nicotero. Some of the featurettes deal with the technical aspects of the show, while others are more fan-based, just rehashing the popular storylines with cast and crew interviews.
Entertainment Value: 10/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10
Historical Significance: 10/10
Disc Features: 8/10