The Walking Dead returns for the second half of Season 7 on February 12. When the AMC hit does come back, fans of the show may notice that TWD producers are toning down the violence and amping the pro-Rick Grimes storyline in response to fan backlash over the over-the-top gore and violence that permeated the first half of the season.
News that The Walking Dead will be less violent throughout the next eight episodes came from executive producer Gale Ann Hurd at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Miami during a recent panel. According to Digital Spy, the reason that AMC and the forces behind TWD decided to go ahead and scale back the gore had to do with the viewer response stemming from the first half of Season 7 with the introduction of Negan.
“We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” Hurd said. “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.”
While the premiere of Season 7 of The Walking Dead drew in record views, after each subsequent episode, the ratings dropped steadily to the point where the franchise was seeing some of the lowest numbers since Season 3. Many fans had sworn off watching the show, citing the extreme violence as off-putting.
— Juan G. Pareja (@JuanGPareja) January 12, 2017
There is also the theory that many fans of the AMC hit were turned off by the current state that Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon found themselves to be in. Never in the history of The Walking Dead were Rick or Daryl subservient to anyone, but with the arrival of Negan, both of them found themselves in a very awkward and dangerous spot.
It’s unclear how The Walking Dead will be able to continue telling the story of how Rick Grimes and the rest of the crew living at the Alexandria Safe Zone and the other new communities going to war on Negan and the Saviors and still scale back the violence at the same time.
It’s no secret that much of the backlash came after the death of Glenn Rhee, a beloved character with a huge fan following. His gory death was the stuff nightmares are made of, and many faithful fans of The Walking Dead complained about the way Glenn died, eyeball out and everything. Nevermind the fact that Glenn’s death was true to the comics, aside from the whole blaming it on Daryl Dixon part because Daryl doesn’t even exist in them.
It also didn’t help that the Walking Dead showrunners teased fans for several episodes during the back half of Season 6 about whether Glenn was dead already. That kind of emotional torture is sure to upset somebody, and in this case, it was a lot of somebodies. Many viewers felt that after Glenn’s first close call, TWD should have deviated from the comic books, as they have done in the past, and keep Glenn alive through the whole Negan debacle.
Apparently, fans want to see Rick and Daryl conquer the world, and when it comes to the gruesome violence that probably would go hand-in-hand with a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world, many viewers would prefer that it be left to the imagination. That can be read as not wanting to see Negan beating any of the beloved characters to death and then continuing to go in with Lucille even after that beloved character is clearly already dead.
Losing 6 million viewers in just five episodes is pretty serious business. With only two-thirds of their viewership currently tuning in, according to Forbes, AMC has to fix The Walking Dead before they end up going the way most shows do after they enter their seventh season.
Do you think The Walking Dead can reclaim their previously amazing ratings by cooling it with the extreme violence and putting Rick Grimes back in place as the hero? Tell us what you think of the changes coming in the second half of Season 7 in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by AMC]