Walking Dead, The
1.03 Tell It to the Frogs (IMDB) OT:
Walking Dead, The
FOX TV Version
October 2003: Originally planned as a short-lived graphic novel horror, "The Walking Dead" quickly became one of the most popular comic series ever - even though the plot as well as the characters are very different from other popular comic series. There are no flying superheroes, no supervillains or mutated scientists, and planet earth is not threatened by extraterrestrial beings or megalomaniac industrial tycoons. Basically the planet is fine - probably even better off, now that the earth's most dangerous villain's number was pareded down to the minimum. And this was not achieved by the destructive forces of nature or by hitting the red button - the real reason are the living dead...
"The Walking Dead" is around for more than 7 years now. There exist 78 issues and 13 companions - still, the series is as popular as ever. Creator Robert Kirkman originally planned to release "The Walking Dead" as a 6-episode mini-series, but because of the phenomenal success they decided to continue the series. They invented and evolved new stories as well as characters - probably the biggest advantage of the series. There are no main characters, nobody on the planet is safe. There are several different stories about several different persons and the only thing they have in common is the will to survive in an the post-apocalyptic US of undead A. Very often, they mixed the plot up with classic elements from traditional horror literature as well as cinema. There are isolated communities, anthropophagic hordes, and smalltown despots - those who survived as well as the omission of human values are another serious threat for the characters of the stories.
It's very much possible that this is another reason for the huge success of the comic series that was made into a TV series in 2010. „The Walking Dead“ rarely ever includes any sensational elements. One could argue that the series actually follows the tradition of classic horror movies (there rarely are "in your face"-shock effects). Most of the time the story of the TV series takes place in the hinterland (rather than huge cities which are the most dangerous places to be in modern societies) - Suburbia and Smalltown America. The big cities are crowded with zombies, therefore it would be a suicide mission to enter one of them. The few survivers have to fall back to areas that once were said to be peaceful. The citizens of this "idyllic" hinterland are the main characters of the TV series - small town sheriffs, housewomen, local politicians, and so on (all rather middle class individuals).
Frank Darabont - the director of the pilot movie - did a great job shooting the scenario. Instead of giving in to excessive bloodshed, fast cutting, or experimental shots he concentrated on a rather "calm" plot; all the characters (who are the main focus of the pilot episode) get enough time to evolve. Even though Darabont used rather vintage rhetorical devices, "The Walking Dead" really is a refreshing experience (especially since most of the zombie movies nowadays seem rather stale). As a result, the series was praised by movie critics as well as the audience. „The Walking Dead“ has record-breaking ratings - it was so successful that they commissioned a second season after the first run of the second episode!
II. This Report
A few months back, "The Walking Dead" was aired on several European Pay-TV channels. The bad news was that all of them only aired a censored version; additionally, this was a bad omen for future DVD/Blu-Ray releases (after all, Pay-TV channels rarely ever censor their shows if it isn't absolutely necessary). A short while ago Entertainment One released the first season on DVD/Blu-Ray in the UK. Shortly after this release we (on our German website) could already report that the UK Blu-ray with episodes 2 and 5 included the shortened version of these episodes – even though the BBFC did not list any complaints about the uncensored versions in their (normally very detailed) database. The pilot film, however, was included in its uncensored form (even though the Pay-TV version was missing out on about 20 minutes).
Shortly after we announced these facts, rumors around the internet said that the UK-version of season 1 included another censored episode - apparently, episode 4 also offered 2 censored scenes. This of course challenged all the preliminary findings.
The first thing that came to mind was the question whether or not episode 4 was already censored in it's European Pay-TV version. After all, episodes 2 and 5 both were equal to the Pay-TV versions. As to that we can say that the fourth episode was aired uncensored on German Pay-TV (and therefore most likely on all the other European Pay-TV channels as well). The cuts that are now included in the UK version are new.
Additionally, it was not really clear whether or not the UK-Versions of episode 2 and 5 were completely identical to the Pay-TV versions or if they included even further censorship. Furthermore, the additional censorship of episode 4 rose the question whether or not some of the other episodes were censored as well. Again, we can tell you that this is not the case: Episode 2 and 5 "only" include the censorship you already know from the Pay-TV versions. The UK version of episode 6 is uncensored - unfortunately the same goes not for episode 3. The pilot film will be checked out soon.
Even though several things remain unclear, European fans can't really look forward to future DVD-releases - especially not those who live in Germany. Since the additional censorship on the UK-DVD/Blu-Ray was not made due to a complaint by the BBFC, one could suggest that another country was responsible for it and that the UK-version simply originates from the same master. We can only hope, that some European countries will use the US master of the series. However, it is not too implausible to assume that Germany is responsible for this additional censorship and that other countries might suffer from it as well.
(Paragraph 2 written by Glogcke)
Comparison between the UK-DVD released on May 15th 2011 by Entertainment One including the third episode (entitled "Tell it to the Frogs") and the German Pay-TV version aired on Fox Serie (aired 26th November 2010).
Overall, the UK version is missing out on 7.2 seconds