The producers of the AMC hit show "The Walking Dead" are backtracking not from zombies, but from negative feedback on the level of the show's violence.
The TV series "The Walking Dead", one of the most pirated series, is about gore and violence, as what one can expect in the zombie-infested world of its characters. But the show apparently crossed the line on its season 7 opener scene, showing a very gruesome killing.
Show executive producer Gale Anne Hurd promised to tone down the violence after a strong backlash from viewers. The adverse reactions supposedly prompted the producers to do some adjustments for the next episodes, which are currently in production.
Hurd talked about the issue during a session at the NATPE conference, as first reported by Variety. "We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence," she said. "We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season."
The scene in the crosshairs is the season premiere showing show favorites Glenn and Abraham being beaten to death with a baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire. Many critics and viewers found it too gratuitous, despite the show's history of violence and gore.
"This is not a show that is torture porn," Hurd said. She said they are careful that "we don't cross that line."
AMC Network President-CEO Josh Sapan saw positive in the negative reaction of the audience. For him, it means fans care deeply about the show. "When something matters a lot and it has a universality, then you're bothered by it and you care about it," Sapan said.
However, two producers offered a contradicting view, saying the show did not change its approach despite the negative reactions.
Showrunner Scott M. Gimple countered that the point of the baseball bat scene was "pronounced for a reason." He added that "the awfulness of what happened to the characters was very specific to that episode and the beginning of this whole new story. I don't think like that's the base level of violence that necessarily should be on the show. It should be specific to a story and a purpose."
Gimple's point was supported by director Greg Nicotero. He said there's no way that the show will pull itself back because of one episode. "As brutal as that episode 1 was, it's still part of our storytelling bible, which is what the world is about. I don't think we would ever edit ourselves," he added.
The Walking Dead is currently on its seventh season. This horror drama is produced and broadcasted by AMC Studios.