The Season 7 premiere of ‘The Walking Dead’ was seemingly too violent for the Parents Television Council and may have been the most violent depiction of death on television ever. It is no surprise the episode’s graphic violence has the Parents Television Council speaking out against the show for relying on violence as a “crutch,” and now questions if there should be a rating that goes beyond TV-MA.
“Last night’s season premiere of The Walking Dead was one of the most graphically violent shows we’ve ever seen on television, comparable to the most violent of programs found on premium cable networks. It’s not enough to ‘change the channel,’ as some people like to advocate, because cable subscribers – regardless of whether they want AMC or watch its programming – are still forced to subsidize violent content. This brutally-explicit show is a powerful demonstration of why families should have greater control over the TV networks they purchase from their cable and satellite providers,” said Parents Television Council President Tim Winter.”
The episode began with Negan holding a baseball bat covered in barbed wire taunting 11 survivors who were lined up and kneeling on their knees. He eventually beat to death Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun). Each graphic blow to their heads was shown in detail, as the remaining survivors were forced to watch. One of the blows to Glenn’s head caused his left eyeball to pop out of its socket. Close-ups of their crushed skull and brain matter were also shown.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, Winter said the episode “from start to finish” and its degree and volume of violence “set a new threshold for basic cable.” He said the episode — which was rated TV-MA and contained multiple warnings during the hour —raises the question of if there should be a rating beyond TV-MA.