Last December, when Anchor Bay released Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and DVD, both versions were pretty bare bones. Well, now there’s the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD, and while these new editions have extras that should’ve been included on the originals, they’re far from perfect.
For those who didn’t buy the previous editions, or didn’t watch the show on AMC, the six episodes on the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season follow a group of Los Angeles residents as a mysterious plague slowly destroys civilization, plunging the city into chaos, martial law, and then anarchy.
But what sets Fear The Walking Dead apart from its predecessor is that we not only get to see what happened when this plague began — though, like The Walking Dead, we’re not told how or why it started — we do so through the eyes of a family, as opposed to a group of random strangers. Though they’re joined by people along the way, these half-dozen episodes mostly revolve around Madison Clark (Gone Girl‘s Kim Dickens), a high school guidance counselor who has two kids — Alicia (The 100‘s Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Nick (Frank Dillane from Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince) — while her live-in boyfriend an co-worker Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis from Live Free Or Die Hard) and his ex-wife, Liza Ortiz (Elizabeth Rodriguez from Orange Is The New Black) share custody of his teenage son, Christopher (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2‘s Lorenzo James Henrie).
The irony being that it’s because of these characters that Fear The Walking Dead has the biggest problems. Nick, for instance, is such a stereotypical junkie that it doesn’t ring true, while his sister’s boyfriend is so important in the beginning, but all but forgotten by the end. Also, just once, can we have a zombie story where the most senior military official isn’t a complete idiot, jerk, or, in this case, both?
Even with such annoyances, however, Fear The Walking Dead manages to be interesting, if only because it shows a completely different aspect of the zombie apocalypse from what we’ve seen in The Walking Dead. Though it does have the same “anything can happen” and “anyone can die” vibe that made the original show so habit forming, even if the streets aren’t flooded with zombies just yet.
Of course, the most important part of the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD are the episodes. And not surprisingly, they look good here, especially on Blu-ray. And not just because they don’t have any of those annoying mid-episode promos that pop up, reminding you to watch other AMC shows.
But unlike the original version, Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD also have tons of cool extras. And some that aren’t so cool.
To start, every episode comes with a commentary track. And while it helps that everyone is in the room at the same time, which always makes for some interesting interactions, some are decidedly better than others because they include cast members and not just producers, which typically keep these things from becoming film school 101.
Next, the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD includes six-and-a-half minutes of deleted scenes. But while there’s some interesting bits, none really add anything of great significance. Even worse, there’s no context, nothing that says what episodes they’re cut from, or where in those episodes, or even why they were excised. It’s also irritating that they’re presented as a single video, and are all on the second disc, and not alongside the respective episodes from which they were cut.
The Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD also has a number of making-of extras: “Inside Fear The Walking Dead” provides an overview of every episode; “Fear: The Beginning” is an overview of the series as a whole; “Locations: LA & Vancouver” shows why the show is set in Los Angeles, as well as why this featurette isn’t just called “Location: LA”; “Quarantined” examines the military’s role in the show; “Stunts And Anarchy” looks at the show’s action scenes; “The Face Of Fear” is about the cast; “Five Things You Know To Survive” has those same actors discussing what they would want to have on them if a zombie apocalypse happened; while “The Infected” discusses how the zombies in Fear The Walking Dead are different from the ones in The Walking Dead. But while these featurettes do a good job of illustrating how the show was made, it’s hard not to think that all of them, save for “Inside Fear The Walking Dead” and “Five Things You Know To Survive,” couldn’t have been combined into a single, making-of documentary.
Last, but not least, the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD also has a widescreen version of the first episode. Why? No idea. And it actually kind of backfires because, after watching the show this way, you’ll probably wish every episode was widescreen.
What’s ironic about the extras they did include in the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD is that the only things they left out are things that should’ve been left out. For starters, this doesn’t have the two extras from the original edition — “A Look At The Series,” an overview of the series; and “Inside The Characters Of Fear The Walking Dead,” which introduces us to the family — which would be more annoying if these topics weren’t covered, and more thoroughly, on this Special Edition.
The Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD also don’t have the webseries Fear The Walking Dead: Flight 462. But that actually makes sense since it’s supposed to be a bridge between this season and the second one, and introduces a character who’ll join the show in season two. Though if they leave them off the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete Second Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD….
In the end, the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete First Season Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD is what the original version should’ve been, and I hope it serves as a reminder to the Anchor Bay to never make this mistake again. I just hope that when we get to the Fear The Walking Dead The Complete Second Season, they fix the mistakes they made on the Special version of the First Season as well.