SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for this past Sunday's "Walking Dead" season premiere
Sunday's season seven premiere of "The Walking Dead" has caused a lot of commotion online. The episode featured the violent deaths of two main cast members (Abraham and Glenn) as well as close ups on the victims' remains and hallucinations of other cast members meeting their gruesome end. The episode aired by AMC was so violent that the Parents Television Council has gotten involved. The conservative group has responded strongly to the premiere, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, and have taken the AMC horror drama to task.
"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," said PTC president Tim Winter on Monday. "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."
Winter even wondered if the episode went beyond its TV-MA rating -- which is the most severe rating a television show can get. "When you look at definition of MA and what content of the show is, it's unquestionable they chose what best represented the content," Winter said. "This certainly raises question of if there should be an even more severe rating than TV-MA."
Winter said he's only seen clips from the episode in question, and that he hasn't watched the show "in some time." He added that, from the PTC's point of view, the show could still be violent without having to show everything. "Back in the day, you'd see violence about to be committed and then see you'd some after-effects of someone recovering or some other aspects rather than skulls crushed in. Now it seems like they can't tell a story without adding the severity of the graphic violence, and it seems to me like a crutch."
The Council's overall goal, though, when it comes to "Walking Dead" is to give parents the option to pick which networks are included in their cable package instead of bundling them all together. That way parents could choose whether or not a channel like AMC, which airs content as violent as that "Walking Dead" episode, will air in their home.
"Programs with violent content are proven to be harmful, especially to children; and most parents agree that having greater control over violent content coming into their homes is vital to protecting their family," he said. "When a basic cable network like AMC edges or even surpasses the premium networks in terms of explicit content, consumers must be afforded more control over which networks they purchase and which networks they don’t."