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The Walking Dead on AMC

Rating: TV-14 LV

By Christopher Gildemeister

October 26, 2012


“This program contains violent content which may be too intense for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.” – “warning” before The Walking Dead 

Should a program which is so filled with violence, bloodshed, and gore that it requires a disclaimer be considered appropriate for 14 year olds. 

Cable network AMC thinks so.

The PTC has previously discussed AMC’s The Walking Dead. Yet another “zombie apocalypse” story – well, the word “inspired” isn’t exactly appropriate, but modeled after -- movies like Night of the Living Dead, the program features a tiny group of human survivors trying to survive in a world filled with animated, flesh-eating cadavers. While the critical establishment lauds the show’s intense character interaction and emotional drama, one suspects that far more of its popularity originates with the program’s horrifically gory and realistic violence.

To be stopped, the zombies must suffer trauma to their brain – thus giving the program an excuse for graphic scene after graphic scene of people being decapitated, impaled, and otherwise smashed in the head with axes, makeshift swords, arrows, tire irons, baseball bats, and whatever other implements come to hand. Naturally, each such incident must be shown in extreme (and explicit) close-up, with blood spraying, bone and brain matter splattering, and the attackers being covered in gore.

Many scientific studies have demonstrated the link between the graphic violence in video games and violent behavior, especially in children. While a game-play element is not present, viewing The Walking Dead gives kids as much or more exposure to explicit violence (not to mention fodder for nightmares) as such games. If such content were featured in a video game, it would be rated M (mature) or A-O (adults only); yet AMC considers the program appropriate for 14 year olds. (This doesn’t even touch on the repeated use of the s-word in a show rated appropriate for the same age group.) 

For viewers – especially children -- who watch The Walking Dead, zombies aren’t the only ones who suffer trauma to their brain.  


If you agree that this program was inadequately rated, please write to the TV ratings advisory board at tvomb@usa.net and let them know that the TV ratings once again failed to adequately warn parents about inappropriate content.

For more information about the TV ratings, please visit http://www.tvguidelines.org/.

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