The Walking Dead – for those who don’t already know – is adapted from the ongoing comic book series of the same name, created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. In this season, a number of established characters from the comics are introduced and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his band of survivors face their greatest challenges to date – both human and undead.
With the release of one of the largest hordes of undead they’ve ever seen, and an attempt to lead them away from the safe haven of Alexandria, the group is divided and the first half of the series sees the various members of both Rick’s crew, as well as the Alexandria townsfolk, struggling to lead them away and provide a greater level of safety to the small community. With Rick leading one group and Daryl (fan favourite, Norman Reedus) leading another, it is left to the panicky few who are left behind to hold things together within the walled safety of this community.
As this show is well known for, any opportunity to ramp up the tension is usually prompted by the arrival of an outside group of human survivors with malicious intent. In the first half of this season, it’s the return of The Wolves. This psychotically unstable band of thieves crashes through the walls of Alexandria, unleashing chaos both within and without. The diversion of the horde resulted in one of the most emotional moments of the season, the apparent death of a major character, at the hands (and mouths) of the undead. Adding to the threats outside, another new band called The Saviours are presenting their own challenge.
The second half of the season focuses on The Saviours, the group’s attempts to thwart them and their desire to control Alexandria. When Maggie (Lauren Cohen) goes into labour, the small band of survivors leaves to find suitable medical supplies and a sterile environment for birthing. This results in the mass capture of 11 of the group members, who are forced to face the ire and wrath of The Saviours leader, Negan. The introduction of Negan is one that die-hard comic/TV series fans have been awaiting. The character, based physically on Henry Rollins in the comics, is here portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, complete with his barbed wire wrapped baseball bat, “Lucille”. As the series finale comes to a close, Negan randomly chooses one member of the group – to date, unidentified – and beats them with Lucille.
With each season, The Walking Dead cast grows exponentially, both in the number of the living and the undead, however we lose no feeling of concern or hatred for the heroes and villains, as the scripts and casting remain at the top of their game. The return of The Wolves as the catalyst for the zombie horde threat, and the introduction of The Saviours as an even more threatening human element, lift the series to a new level of violence and suspense. There is plenty of blood, guts (literally) and gore, impressive zombie make-up and an undead horde, in the hundreds, that would make George A Romero proud.
The true highlight and the greatest promise for an exciting seventh season is the introduction and casting of Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is an actor with big shoes to fill with this established character, but who kicked off in style. His monologue, after the capture of Grimes and company, is truly mesmerising – and extended in the Blu-ray release.
The Walking Dead sixth season DVD comes just ahead of the seventh season’s October premier and, for diehard fans, this has been a long wait after the cliff-hanger ending, which polarised fans and has the producers promising not to repeat this much-maligned decision. If you’ve been waiting for this release, to catch-up or revisit, you won’t be disappointed with this bloody, twisting, turning and satisfying season.
Reviewed by Glen Christie
Rating out of 10: 8
The Walking Dead Season 6 will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on 21 September 2016.