"The Walking Dead" will soon start production on Season 8, but don't go thinking they'll be taking any lessons from how fans are responding to Season 7. Whether you're loving it, hating it, or somewhere in between, The Powers That Be are blissfully ignorant. (Someone must've said "earmuffs.")
TWD producer/director/special effects guru Greg Nicotero had a roundtable interview with Metro.co.uk, and the site mentioned Season 7's falling ratings, and fan complaints of a slow pace, among other things.
Will those concerns affect what they do in Season 8? Nicotero's answer was very candid:
"Nope. Never. You can't. And [showrunner] Scott Gimple would jump for joy knowing you asked that question because there are some people who actually think we read the reviews and tailor the show to what the fans say. We are going to write the show we want to write, and if people react to it or they don't like it – it's not going to change. It'll never change what any of these actors do if somebody goes, 'Oh Daryl should do this.' It doesn't mean that he would do it. We're absolutely dedicated to telling the story we want to tell."
He compared it to an artist being told he or she used the wrong color for a painting. That's just the color they went with, it's not up for a vote.
The Powers That Be should be thrilled that fans are so invested in TWD that they have strong opinions, and want certain things to happen. It would be worse if fans didn't care. And it's not quite a direct comparison to a painting, since this is a TV show intended for public viewing, with advertising and other money attached. It's not like they're taping a show in their backyard with friends; they should care at least a little bit what the viewers want to watch. But "fans" is a huge group -- there is no one "fan" opinion. Put 10 fans in a room and you'll get 10 different ideas of what should happen next. So it would be impossible to tailor any show to what the "fans" want, and the loudest voices in the room should never dictate the story.
The Powers That Be do have a vision for how this will play out, based on Robert Kirkman's comic books, and if they follow that story fairly closely, Season 8 should naturally have more of the action and urgency that (many) fans tend to prefer.
"The Walking Dead" Season 7 is still airing Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
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