Watching a TV show about a zombie apocalypse and complaining that it’s a bit gory is kind of silly. Yet that’s what precisely what some viewers of the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead did. Shocked by what can happen in a world full of hungry reanimated corpses and desperate survivors, they filed complaints with the FCC demanding that AMC tone down the violence in the show for good, possibly recommending that the walkers now merely give their victims a friendly hug and the survivors hold dainty little tea parties.
It’s an absurd complaint, so naturally, fans greeted producer Gale Ann Hurd’s revelation that they had indeed toned down the violence in the latter half of the season with surprised disappointment. Now, viewers are justifiably worried that the upcoming season 8 will be neutered in some way, with the show unable to provide the sticky, guts-fuelled zombie horror that puts the ‘dead’ in The Walking Dead. Perhaps in response to that, Hurd has addressed these fears head on in an interview with ComicBook.com.
Her response is that The Walking Dead is an adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s hit comic and as such, has a ‘responsibility’ to live up to its incredibly violent source material:
“Look, this is the thing, this is a show that comes from a comic book. The only thing that we changed up in was that two died instead of one. Issue 100 of the comic book was incredibly violent. For people who are fans of the comic book … We’ve got to remember, without them, we wouldn’t be making the show. It’s important to embrace that fandom. There are shots that are directly, once again, panels from the comic book. But, that didn’t mean that the show, from that point on, maintained that level. It was setting up this character, it was an homage to the comic book, and it set us on course for an all-out war for this season.”
Well, that’s a relief. It’s always nice to hear a producer saying that they need to be faithful to the source material. Anyone of a certain age will remember ‘the dark days’ of comic adaptations where the original material was treated merely as inspiration, or worse, as an outright embarrassment. The Walking Dead comics are a masterpiece of storytelling and, as good as the TV show has gotten lately, all that comes from the pen of Robert Kirkman – and we should respect that.
We’ll see how true Hurd is to her word, and how gory season 8 of The Walking Dead will get on October 22nd.