Support Our Work File an FCC Complaint Movie Reviews Join Us Family Guide to Primetime Television Home
Parents Television Council - Because Our Children Are Watching


1%-5% of your purchase will help support the PTC.

Cable Consumer Choice Campaign

Want the Disney Channel but not MTV? Don't be forced to support offensive content. Choose your own channels.

The Worst Cable Content of the Week


Get Windows Media PlayerDon't have active x controls? Download the clip (right click and choose "save target as"

The Walking Dead on AMC

Episode Summary




This column has previously commented on the “mainstreaming” of zombie fiction. With its graphic depictions cannibalism and gore, the genre certainly is not every viewer’s cup of tea. Yet where once such viewers simply had to avoid a couple movies playing at the multiplex, today they are being forced to pay for explicit depictions of blood, rotting flesh, and dangling viscera. For that reason – and because these depictions are becoming increasingly graphic – the Sunday, November 7th episode of AMC’s new program The Walking Dead (10:00 p.m. ET) is the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.  

The basic precepts of zombie fiction are rigorously adhered to. In the wake of some unspecified apocalypse, a tiny group of survivors must exist by scavenging supplies while surrounded by millions of flesh-eating corpses. The cast of characters in last week’s drama is also right out of Central Casting: a heroic sheriff who is trying to find his wife and child; a tough-on-the-outside, scared-on-the-inside woman; a teenaged computer geek; a woman with technical knowledge; an easygoing African-American man, and, naturally, a bigoted white redneck who hates blacks.. These characters endlessly rehash the “mixed group of people thrown together by circumstance and forced to become allies” scenario which was already a cliché of such movies decades ago.

Yet it is not the bland lack of creativity in the scripting that makes The Walking Dead objectionable – it is the over-the-top gore. After a recap of the previous episode (which shows a legless torso with exposed ribcage and intestines dragging itself across the ground), and an opening scene of the sheriff’s wife (ignorant of his continued existence after their separation during the disaster) having explicit sex with her husband’s best friend. Because what wife wouldn’t mourn her husband’s death by having sex with his best friend?

Meanwhile, back in the city, viewers get to hear the white trash redneck beat the black man senseless while making frequent use of the n-word and other epithets such as “sugar t*ts” and “rug muncher,” and other characters flinging around words like “dumba**” and “up s*** creek.” All this pleasantness culminates in the sheriff’s plan: to get past the zombies, the humans must smell like zombies. Taking a fire axe, he dismembers a corpse in excruciatingly graphic closeup…then smears the blood and body matter from the corpse onto himself and the geeky teen, draping an intestine over his shoulders and putting severed hands and feet on a string, then hanging them around his neck.

And, making doubly certain to exercise proper responsibility, AMC has rated this program TV-14 LSV, to be certain that teens are able to watch this feast of profanity, sex, and hideously graphic gore. 

As noted, movies have been employing such gore for years; but movies are shown in theaters or must be rented for home viewing. AMC, by contrast, comes bundled onto a cable “basic tier” --, thus forcing every home in America subscribes to cable or satellite TV to pay for it.

Some people don’t care about sports. Some watch virtually nothing but sports. Some people have no children and couldn’t care less about Hannah Montana, while in other homes the Disney Channel is on almost constantly. And similarly, some viewers enjoy graphic horror. But many do not. Why should ANYBODY be forced to pay for entertainment they do not enjoy? Only when Cable Choice is a fact will the entertainment industry truly be responsive to the wishes of its customers.

TAKE ACTION NOW! Click here to voice your support for cable consumer choice.




JOIN US ON:          .

Parents Television Council, www.parentstv.org, PTC, Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting children against sex, violence and profanity in entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval, and Family Guide to Prime Time Television are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.