Like most serial dramas, the zombie survival show The Walking Dead has had its good seasons and its bad. But one thing that’s been constant is that the show’s seasonal Blu-rays and DVDs have presented the show as was meant to be seen: with clean picture and tons of extras. And the same can be said about the newest one, The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season (Blu-ray, DVD). It’s just too bad it presents one of the bad seasons.
For those who didn’t watch it on TV, the episodes in The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD picked up right where those on The Walking Dead The Complete Sixth Season ended: with our heroes on their knees, watching as one of their own is brutally beaten to death by a man with a bat. Suffice it to say, this season is largely spent dealing with both the aftermath of that encounter, and with the bat man.
Unfortunately, that bat man isn’t as much fun to watch as, well, Batman. Though his fatal flaw is sadly one that will be familiar to fans of this show. Like The Governor and Rick in the third season of The Walking Dead, the aforementioned man with the bat, Negan, is yet another character whose short-sightedness and stupidity makes him difficult to watch. Where Negan in The Walking Dead comics is a commanding presence, one who earns loyalty as well as commands fear, the Negan we see on The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD is just a cruel bully who doesn’t realize that his actions are slowly turning his people against him, and that things would be better if he wasn’t such a dick. That actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchman) plays Negan will scene-chewing glee just makes it that much more annoying that the character is a putz.
There is, however, something else at work, an outside force that made watching the episodes on The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD rather difficult. Though I freely admit that it won’t affect everyone the same way; some may even feel it makes them better. Negan, as he’s portrayed on the show, reminds me of Donald Trump. Mostly because they’re both short-sighted idiots and needlessly vindictive. It made watching these episodes difficult when they aired since this season started when the election was in full-swing and ran well past Trump’s inauguration. And rewatching them now isn’t any easier.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the episodes on The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD also feature another group that make the show difficult to watch: The Scavengers. Not only do they act like a bunch of art school students who act weird for no apparent reason, they also talk in an odd broken English that reminds me of people in Cloud Atlas and the Mad Max movies, except that those are set in futures where there’s no schools, so it makes sense that people in them would talk like idiots.
Thankfully, the episodes collected in The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD do get better towards the end, especially when we get to see more of The Kingdom, and people start working on something that I won’t spoil except to say that it isn’t an all-zombie production of Hamilton. Hopefully that will make the episodes on the inevitable Walking Dead The Complete Eighth Season Blu-ray and DVD a lot better than this bunch.
Not everyone disliked this season as much as I did, of course. Which is why it’s good that The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD is the best way to rewatch these episodes. For starters, the picture is not only crisp and clean, especially on Blu-ray, as is the sound, but there’s none of those irritating pop-up ads that remind us that other shows air on AMC as well.
The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD also augments these episodes with a bunch of cool extras. For starters, there’s a commentary on the first episode, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” by executive producer, writer, showrunner Scott M Gimple, special FX make-up designer, director, executive producer Greg Nicotero, and actor Michael Dudlitz, who plays Abraham. It’s a cool conversation, one made better by the fact that they’re all in the same room at the same time.
Next, The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD has deleted and alternate scenes from six episodes, which make for an additional nineteen minutes. None of which are essential, they were clearly cut for a reason, but it’s still cool to see them.
The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD also have a bunch of making-of videos. First up, there’s “Inside The Walking Dead” and “The Making Of The Walking Dead” featurettes on each episode, with the former having the actors and filmmakers talk about what happens in its respective episode, while the latter adds behind-the-scenes footage and has the same people talking about how that episode was made.
This is followed on The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD by some making-of featurettes: “A Larger World,” a look at how this season’s sets; “Breaking & Rebuilding,” a discussion about what Rick went through this season, especially the beginning of it; “A New Chapter Of Fear,” in which the actors and filmmakers talk about the cliffhanger that ended season six and opened this season, and it’s implication for the show; “Top Walkers,” a look at the different zombies they had this season; “Warrior Women,” which discusses the female characters on the show and what they went through this season; and, finally, the self-explanatory “The Writers Of The Walking Dead.” All of which are fairly typical for TV collections such as this, but they’re also nicely informative and entertaining.
Lastly, The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD has “In Memoriam,” in which the actors and filmmakers talk about the characters who died this season, and the actors who played them. They will be missed.
As good as the extras on The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD may be though, it’s hard not to be greedy and wish they’d done commentaries on every episode, instead of just the first one. It’s also not hard to wish that the “Inside The Walking Dead” featurettes, “The Making Of The Walking Dead” videos, and the deleted and alternate scenes were on the same discs as their corresponding episodes, instead of the last disc. Though it also would’ve helped if the deleted and alternate scenes came with some explanation as to why they were not part of their respective episodes.
It’s also a little odd that The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD doesn’t have trailers for the new season of Fear The Walking Dead, the mobile game The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, the upcoming Robot Chicken Walking Dead special, or the eighth season of the show, which kicks off October 22nd.
Lastly, there’s Talking Dead, the companion show in which the cast, crew, and celebrity fans discuss what happened in the episode that just aired. Granted, that would’ve doubled the size of The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD, and thus the price, but it still would’ve been cool if there was a special edition that included them, maybe with a replica of Negan’s bat or something.
In the end, while the episodes contained on The Walking Dead The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray and DVD aren’t this show’s best, they are (mostly) presented on these collections as all TV shows should be: with clear picture and sound, and augmented with tons of cool extras.