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In just a few days' time, one of the most popular shows on television will finally be returning for a new season of blood, violence, and zombies. Of course, we're talking about AMC's apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead, which will finally premiere the first episode of Season 7 this coming Sunday. The months since April's Season 6 finale have been long and full of internet backlash, as many fans were disappointed with the cliffhanger that the finale ended on. In the final moments of the episode, we saw Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan bring the hammer (or bat) down on one of the main characters, leaving it a mystery as to which character died.
The Walking Dead has since earned a ton of crap from fans who were angry at the use of a cliffhanger, and creator Robert Kirkman has recently spoken out regarding this backlash:
Look, message received. The modern audience isn't too happy with cliffhangers. But we're still very confident that this is going to be a great season and we know the payoff is going to be worth the wait and that the premiere is going to be really great. We're excited to get these episodes out and see what people think and give people more Negan because this season is going to be chock-full.
Touche, Mr. Kirkman. This statement comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, which had the opportunity to speak to Robert Kirkman about Season 7's upcoming twists and turns. Not surprisingly, the subject turned to the now infamous finale, and the grand pooh bah of TWD was able to defend the show's choice.
Despite how you feel about the ending of Season 6, Robert Kirkman has a fair point. We have no idea how that episode will pay off with the upcoming season. Everyone involved in the series seems to think Season 7 will be a game changer for the series as a whole, with the world being widely expanded. Plus, seeing Rick and company truly powerless for the first time in the series is sure to be captivating television. Who will turn on Rick? We'll just have to wait and see- and I can't be more excited.
Robert Kirkman also addresses the myriad haters of Season 6's finale, pointing out that the numbers of loyal viewers are so high that the good vastly outweighs the naysayers:
This is show enjoyed by 30 million people [worldwide] and there are not 30 million people complaining online. While I am happy to hear complains and definitely interested in hearing what people think of the show at all times, and everyone's opinion matters to me, we have to do what we do and keep making a good show.
Once again, Mr. Kirkman has a great point. While those in charge of the show are happy to receive respectful criticism, the producers are still going to do what they think is right for the show as a whole. This form of creative integrity is probably what is best for the show as it moves forward, and will result in more great seasons of the series we know and love.
Personally I think the issue with Season 6's finale isn't cliffhangers in general, but the specific one that The Walking Dead left us on. TV audiences generally like cliffhangers, but they're only effective when they truly come out nowhere and shock the person on the couch. But Negan's introduction had been highly anticipated, with even the most casual of fans knowing that a character was going to die at Negan's hands in the finale. And since we all predicted this plot point, the cliffhanger wasn't shocking.
Then again, while many people saw this cliffhanger as a let down, although its hard to say if the TV show should be judged based upon its audience's knowledge of the comic series.
Regardless, the fandom all seems pleased as bunch that their favorite show is back on air this Sunday. The Walking Dead will return, complete with a death or two, this Sunday on AMC.