One reason gore has become more pronounced on shows like these is that the makeup and computer effects necessary are easier to pull off and cheaper than in the past. Even on a TV budget, showrunners and producers are working to make a big-screen impression. “We’re trying to push the look of the series to look far more expensive than it is,” Del Toro says. “We now have cutting-edge makeup effects, cutting-edge digital effects. We couldn’t have done it 10 years ago.”
Given that so much of the golden age of television is crimson-tinged and popular shows like the CSI and NCIS shows on CBS keep multiplying like flayed rabbits, it may be that viewers, weaned on the icky examinations of procedurals and premium-cable boundary-pushing, have not only grown accustomed to the shocks and splatter-film excesses of today’s gore-filled shows — they now expect and crave such leave-nothing-to-the-imagination thrills.
“I don’t think (viewers) are getting blasé about it, but it’s definitely something they look forward to,” says Sepinwall. Gross sells, and given that The Knick and The Strain have already been renewed for second seasons (the latter stayed above 2 million viewers per week after five episodes, making it a breakout hit for FX), not to mention that further seasons of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are waiting in the wings, there should be no shortage of guts and glory hitting your TV screen soon.