Warning: Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere ahead.
It seems weird at this stage, seven seasons in, that there are still those that bristle at the fact that #TheWalkingDead is a very violent show. In addition to screening at 9pm at night on a cable network, the show is also rated TV-MA, indicating it was made with an adult audience in mind and may be unsuitable for audiences under 17. However, despite this, the Parents Television Council, a conservative watchdog, seem to have been enraged about the episode, denouncing the series due to Episode 1's violent content.
Following the comments from the PTC, and even from fans of the series who feel the episode went too far, Andrew Lincoln a.k.a Rick Grimes has spoken out about why he completely stands by the choice to include so many violent scenes. Lincoln told Comic Book:
"I haven't watched [the episode] but I do know that the people who are responsible for making the show take the violence extremely seriously. I know that unless it advances character and story, it doesn't belong in the show. I know that these are good friends of mine that steer the ship and I know that they take it seriously."
He also went on to add that while the premiere episode may have been shocking for the less blood-thirsty among us, the remainder of Season 7 won't be all doom, gloom and gore. He added:
"I hate to break it to you but I do think that the show without humor and without love and hope and friendship and joy is not our show. It's a real mixed bag this season, it's a very different season. I'm thrilled, I'm very excited, I think this season is magnificent and very bold and you can probably tell from the season premiere. They continue to take very big risks."
- 'The Walking Dead' Season 7 Premiere Was Extremely Violent But It Was Totally Necessary
- 'The Walking Dead' Premiere Didn't Go Down Well With Conservative Groups
- Not Maggie! Leaked Clip Of Negan's Brutal Alternative Kill Turns The Walking Into The Dead
Lincoln wasn't the only member of the Walking Dead family to chime in about the strong response viewers had to the premiere, with director of the episode (and also executive producer and special effects makeup supervisor) Greg Nicotero also jumping in. "That means we have done something to affect these people in a way they don’t necessarily know how to process," he said.
Executive producer Scott Gimple also spoke out about why the violence was necessary and why the audience needed to see it up close to fully understand the story of Season 7. Gimple said during The Talking Dead:
"The hardest thing about it, starting the script, was thinking what would break Rick, and taking it further – but looking for a way to break the audience, too. Not in a way to hurt them. But for them to believe that Rick Grimes would be under the thumb of Negan – that he would go through an experience to do that to him, and the audience would go through the experience, too, so that they would believe Rick could do what this guy says."
Mission accomplished, I'd say!
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with Episode 2 on October 30 at 9pm ET