'The Walking Dead: The Complete Eighth Season'
(Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, et al / 5-Disc Blu ray / NR / 2018 / Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Overview: Worlds collide as “All Out War” breaks out between the factions when AMC’s blockbuster hit series 'The Walking Dead - The Complete Eighth Season' arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital August 21 from Lionsgate.
The explosive eighth season bridges the stories between 'The Walking Dead' and its spinoff, 'Fear the Walking Dead,' leading to a thrilling battle for freedom paved with casualties and tragedy.
Blu ray Verdict: The premise of this eighth season sees the communities of Alexandria, Hilltop and The Kingdom align to attempt to take down Negan and his Saviors.
Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) is at the forefront of everything, as always, but this season sees him being overshadowed by his own troops at many a turn. A sign of things to come, perhaps? For sure, I guess, now that we know he is leaving TWD this ninth season!
Chock full of Grimes flashbacks (or are they flash forwards, I've kinda lost the plot there a little), I felt like he does his best, but his character was just written poorly this season. Sure he gets into his usual near misses with zombies, gets himself trapped in places he has no right to get out of (but does, of course), and we get lost of slo-mo looks from him as weird music plays gently underneath, and yes, he brings intensity to the role and the brutality of this world, but man, there is something lost about his role in this world now (for both him and us).
As you are all well aware by now, this show has an ever expanded cast, where some come and go rather quickly (and without having said a word on camera, for the most part), though one that isn't affected is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - who is, once again, over-acting every scene given to him this season!
But the majority of the established cast, like Daryl, Maggie and Carol are, I'm sad to say, written poorly in this eighth go round. It seems a lot of their combined previous arcs have flown into the wind now, which is sad; given that this show has been bumbling along now, with no real genuine direction, for many a season.
The story of the season is interesting at first as these different groups try to work together for a common goal, though as the season progresses the story becomes too stretched out; filled with things that we, the intent viewer just don't give a damn about, in truth.
The script is pretty by the numbers, but it does have some decent dramatic moments in it, though a complete lack of humor and likeability in our heroes ebbs through in most episodes.
The style also has some brutal moments in it that ramp up the stakes, but the final battle (no spoilers, don't worry!) that they hype so much each year was, for my money, extremely disappointing and a huge let down.
And so with that in mind, let's look at it by the numbers, shall we: Season 1 was great. Season 2 was boring. Season 3 was great. Season 4 better. Season 5 was interesting. Season 6 less interesting. Season 7 was just cartoonish. Season 8 ... well, let's just say that the show is getting worse and worse, sadly.
As the pride and glory flagship of TV shows, 'The Walking Dead' eventually found out the customer will keep coming back for the few good seasons despite the downright boringly bad seasons between them.
Learning this technique of lazy writing is what allows shows like 'The Walking Dead' to stay on the air for close to a decade, even though longtime fans have seen a sharp decline in quality over the past couple years.
The pillars of this decline are pretty basic. First, the tidal wave of new characters that nobody cares about. I understand the comic world of 'The Walking Dead' had many well-rounded enemies and allies of the main group - and yes, I thought the TV portrayal of The Governor was highly entertaining (if not a little different from what I would expect from the original illustrations) - but that was pretty much the one and only substantial villain I can actually say I enjoyed watching.
And that really hurts to say, because I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a very talented, and highly under-used actor. As Eddie Blake in 'Watchmen' he was on roaringly top for! But, oh my God, I was let down by what the show did with Negan.
Don't get me wrong, I think he's a great choice for the role and I always have, but I don't know. Is it the writing? I mean, whatever is making him say all those cringingly stupid things that I guess played off as twisted humor in the comics (if they were even said in the comics)?
Things like, "This is gonna be as cold as a warlock's ball sack, just like he was hanging his ball sack above you and dragging it" are spoken sentences that have no real right to be included in a Walking Dead episode. They just don't make sense and there are so, so many of them, that if you turned it into a drinking game, you'd be slaughtered before the halfway point of the first episode!
It's like the writers are all long time horror fanatics who know how to write creepy scenes to frighten the hell out of the viewers, but then they suddenly had to write lines for Negan - who was funny and bad ass in the comics - and they just gave it their best, left of center shot!
Anyway, moving on as I shall indeed be playing Devil's Advocate here, I continue to watch the show because eight years ago I turned on a show that gave me a scared creepy feeling inside when I watched.
The opening theme gave me chills. What is the apocalypse like? The despair and loneliness and confusion. The questions of what's next and what's out there. The unknown. The how do we survive? The overall fear of the situation that unfolded before my very eyes, was quite like nothing I'd seen on TV for many years.
To my mind, 'The Walking Dead,' at its heart, is not just another zombie killing, brain dead series that tells the story about the undead that we have heard so many times before. This series still begs the question, what happens after? and goes on to showcase humans in there true nature; when desperation, starvation and battling the dead just to stay alive is a daily struggle.
But, ultimately, and here in the eighth season, where once Michonne was so inspiring, tough, and independent, she is now scared, needy, and doesn't use her trademark sword all that much. Rick has obvious, and serious mental health issues, Darryl doesn't seem to be focused on at all now, and the same goes for both Carol and Eugene (although the latter has always been such an interesting character, but how he's stayed alive all these seasons is beyond me!)
As for the special features, there's not many, in truth, but the lovely tribute to Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) is a must-see, that's for sure. Well put together, taking us through his TWD journey, "Carl Grimes: Leaving a Legacy" is so powerful a trip down memory lane that when it comes to his death scene recap, well, you'll need a tissue handy, trust me! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:
Carl Grimes: Leaving a Legacy
The Price of War
'The Walking Dead: The Complete Eighth Season' Official Trailer
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