To anyone else who thought seeing Glenn’s (Steven Yeun) brain matter arranged neatly in a pile in front of his wife was a bit much, know that The Walking Dead heard you — and they’re toning down the violence for the rest of the season.
When newcomer baddie Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) bashed Glenn and Abraham’s (Michael Cudlitz) brains in using a baseball bat covered in barbed wire at the end of the Season 7 premiere back in October, many — including the Parents Television Council — thought that AMC’s colossal hit series had finally gone too far. Fans and critics alike felt that, thanks to an unfortunate mixture of gory audio and visuals, the show had made a turn from quality drama to “torture porn” … and in the weeks that followed, the show experienced its first-ever dramatic ratings slide.
However, lucky for those of us who still love the show — but don’t really enjoy seeing our favorite characters abused and mutilated for little more than shock value — producers heard our concerns, and rapidly changed course for 7B.
“We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” executive producer Gale Anne Hurd said during a panel session at the NATPE conference on Wednesday. “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.”
That’s great to hear, because Dead is gearing up for a major war between Negan’s Saviors and Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) Alexandrians when it returns on Sunday, February 12th. There will undoubtedly be many casualties, but this doesn’t mean we need to know what a head being bashed by barbed wire actually sounds like. Especially when the head in question is Glenn’s head since, y’know, Yeun was a beloved presence on the series for six years and a pioneering Asian-American character on television, whose brutal demise felt like a slap in the face to his devoted fans.
“This is not a show that is torture porn,” Hurd continued, adding that premiere backlash caused producers to put extra care into making sure “we don’t cross that line.”
And not only because of advocacy groups like PTC, either — AMC knows that the series let down some of its fans when they chose to kill two beloved characters so horrifically, with their deaths being teased for months after Season 6 ended in a cliffhanger last year.
“When something matters a lot and it has a universality, then you’re bothered by it and you care about it,” AMC Networks president-CEO Josh Sapan said.
It’s great to hear that AMC heard our concerns, and we truly hope that 7B will better — and of course, less gratuitously gory — than 7A.