The Walking Dead, based on a comic book of the same name, was first published in 2003. Fans of the long-running comic, have watched the TV show season after season to see what changes if any, would be made. Sometimes the changes are met with a shrug (Bob, Daryl), sometimes they are met with torches and pitchforks (Andrea, Tyreese). However The Walking Dead on AMC, by many accounts, has it’s best moments when they copy the source material, often page by page down to the dialogue.
It was in this spirit that I eagerly watched the Season 7 premier with a wide-toothed grin. The infamous issue 100 of the comic book where Glenn was killed by Negan shattered the internet. The comic, published July 2012, freaked fans out, and completely changed the tone and direction of the series moving forward. It was shocking, visceral, and some readers never recovered from the ending.
Fans expected the same exact reaction out of the Season 7 premiere and we got that in spades. Not only did Glenn get killed, but so did Abraham! I personally wish it was Daryl, but we don’t get everything we want. Not only did the show pay homage to issue 100 which was great fan service, Negan was more sinister than he was in the comic. This is a great step in the right direction, since many fans of the comic were disappointed with The Governor adaptation, who was more unhinged in the comic. If they can up the ante for Negan, I wonder what they will do with Alpha?
In Article after article, posts on social media, text messages, discussions at work, and pretty much anywhere on Earth, people are complaining, upset, and dare I say whining about the Season 7 premiere. Cries of “how could they do that?” is a constant refrain from many and this makes absolutely no sense to me.
How can you be a “fan” of a show based on comic book that’s been out for 13 years and not expect them to follow the source material? I know some people for whatever reason(s) will never read the source material and are OK with just the visual medium. I respect that, because I do that with a lot of movies, however at some point I at least, research the source material to get a feel for what I’m watching. This is why I’m perplexed that fans of the show are shocked that a storyline published 4 years ago wasn’t ignored.
The Walking Dead on AMC doesn’t follow the comic 100% but they do follow it closely. Sure they may change things up i.e. Abraham was supposed to be the one who got the arrow in the eye, Bob was in Woodbury and never met Rick and the person’s leg that was eaten was Dale, etc. but those events from the comic still happened, even if the person/circumstance changed. In these instances, they like other iconic moments from the comic, were followed nearly page by page. The comic is followed in some shape or form. This has been a constant for 6 seasons. Why would they change things up in Season 7?
So even if they didn’t kill Glenn, they were going to kill SOMEONE with Lucille. So is the complaint REALLY who was killed? Well who would you have rather gotten Lucille’d? That scene was going to happen, again, because nearly every iconic scene from the comic happens on this show with some exceptions: Rick’s hand being cut off by The Governor, Michonne being beaten and raped by The Governor and Michonne beating, maiming, and torturing The Governor in response, and Lori and Judith being killed at the prison by a shotgun blast to the back. It should be pretty obvious why some of this stuff was ignored. However, this brings up an interesting point of contention.
Is The Walking Dead on AMC too violent?
Another major criticism of The Walking Dead Season 7 premier is that a line was crossed. It was too violent, gory, or over the top, many are saying. This is a show where throats are ripped out, heads explode, guts are torn out and eaten, and who could forget Well Walker or Barbed Wire Walker? Violence, gore, and over the top IS The Walking Dead on AMC and judging by the source material this shouldn’t shock ANYONE.
Those of us who’ve been supporting The Walking Dead for over a decade buying the comics, novels, etc. got EXACTLY what we hoped for. We got The Red Wedding set in the zombie apocalypse! It was predictable with a twist, it followed the comic panel for panel at times, it was what the fans wanted. Do we want The Walking Dead on AMC to follow the comic 100% all the time? Nope.
However, we do expect the show to follow the source material formula close enough to where it doesn’t lose what makes The Walking Dead what it is. The visceral, gritty, and sensory overload presented each month in the comic is what made AMC decide to bring this show to TV in the first place. When people complain as they did about the Season 7 premier, it’s as if they’re asking for The Walking Dead, to stop being The Walking Dead. Too many shows based on great source material, have failed when this happened. Under The Dome and True Blood comes to mind. Amazing story arcs, characters, plots, all go up in a puff of smoke when someone decides it wouldn’t work on TV or “fans” wouldn’t like it. The Walking Dead on AMC has been a perfect balance in this regard with the exception of Season’s 2 and 3.
It seems awkward to me to complain about a show that follows it’s source material, whether you read it or not. Accept that things are going to happen that’s already been published and if it’s too much for you, just like the source material, don’t support it. Move on to something where blood, gore, and violence isn’t a staple of the tale. You think Episode 1 of Season 7 was a bit too much? Where were you in the past?