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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Fear the Walking Dead
The Complete Fourth Season


Starring: Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lennie James, Garret Dillahunt, Jenna Elfman, Maggie Grace, Colman Domingo and Danay García
Distributor: EOne Entertainment

Certificate: 15
Release Date: 03 December 2018

The world of Madison Clark and her family collides as they encounter a new group of survivors. Together they find themselves struggling with uncertainty and discovery as they meet new friends, foes and threats. They fight for each other, between each other and against a legion of the dead to somehow build an existence against the crushing pressure of lives coming apart...


While I've been a fan of the original The Walking Dead TV series since Season 1, I've not really been overly impressed with Fear the Walking Dead. For seasons 1-3 I didn't really engage with the characters - to be fair I found most of them annoying. So it was a huge surprise to see that Season 4 shakes things up probably more than any other show has ever done before.

I hate spoilers... so will avoid revealing any real surprises... but that's easier said than done in this season.

We are introduced to a number of new characters - all of whom are instantly likeable. The original Fear the Walking Dead characters take a huge back seat... almost playing as a b-plot story. So it was a surprise to discover that they didn't eventually all meet up, with the new characters becoming a part of Madison and co's group. We'll, they do... sort of... but it doesn't last very long.

Leading this group is a familiar face for fans of The Walking Dead, as Morgan Jones (Lennie James) stumbles into the environment. Along the way he picks up John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt), an ex-police officer who has been living on his own for so long that he's almost forgotten how to speak. Dorie's back story sees him finding an injured woman whom he nurses back to health, but after they both admit they had feelings for each other she runs off. Dorie, hoping to find his lost love, agrees to accompany Jones. They eventually meet up with Althea (Maggie Grace), a journalist who drives a convert armoured S.W.A.T. truck and helps strangers in return for videotaping their stories.

It kind of felt like the makers of the show had suddenly realised that Maddison and Co. just weren't working any more... and instead of producing another spin-off series, just wiped the slate clean and started again. Personally, I think it's been the best decision to date.

The episodes live in different time lines, with the story jumping between them constantly. For the past we have a more vibrant colour scheme, with the present day being totally washed out - almost black and white. This works well and is an interesting switch from what would normally be the case - you'd usually expect the black and white sequences to be the flashback scenes. This dulled colour palate has the result that it it's even closer to the look and feel of the comic book series.

Another neat touch is the opening, very brief, title sequence. This changes slightly every episode. It's the same image of the same area, but the landscape changes slightly to reflect events of each episode.

I also like the introduction of the villain Martha (Tonya Pinkins). Martha first turns up as a deranged woman, convinced that the only way to make people stronger is to kill them and let them turn into the undead. It was a lovely touch to flashback to what turned her into this person, allowing Pinkins to really flesh out the role and allowing for the audience to realise that even the kindest person is capable of madness.

Extras include Farewell 408 (2 min, 07 sec which is a rather shallow featurette that bids farewell to a familiar character); The Minds Behind Fear the Walking Dead (3 min, 08 sec round table chat with a handful of the cast and crew); Inside the Episode (1 hr, 5 min, 31 sec collection of short features - each focusing on the main points in each episode); Making of (54 min, 50 sec - Lots of short behind the scenes segments); On set with… (three brief cast interviews where each tells an onset anecdote: Jenna Elfman (1 min, 13 sec), Garret Dillahunt (54 sec), Maggie Grace (1 min, 30 sec); Cast and Crew… (interesting features that see a cast member visit a department and get to have a go at making things for the show: Costumes (2 min, 42 sec), Props (3 min, 12 sec) and VFX (3 min, 22 sec).

The only negative comment I have (and this is pretty much my moan for most Blu-ray collections of TV shows) is that this would easily have fitted across 2 Blu-ray discs, so spreading it out over 5 discs is rather strange.

It could be because of the fresh blood - character that you instantly warm to, or it could be that this was the way the writers should have gone with the series from the very start. But whatever the reason, I found that I enjoyed this season more than the original The Walking Dead series. I'm really looking to discovering how Season 5 pans out.


Darren Rea

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