The Walking Dead has never been a show for the faint of heart, but after Sunday's Season 7 Premiere, some are calling for a revamp of the current TV rating system.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Monday, the Parents Television Council called the episode "brutally explicit," condemning the show's leadership for "relying on violence as a crutch," and arguing that TV's strongest content rating — TV-MA — simply wasn't enough this time around.
While the Parents Television Council is known as a discerning, conservative group, many individuals not affiliated have expressed similar concerns.
"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," Council president Tim Winter said. "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 went on to say that the episode "set a new threshold for basic cable."
"When you look at definition of MA and what content of the show is, it's unquestionable they chose what best represented the content," he continued. "This certainly raises question of if there should be an even more severe rating than TV-MA."
In "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be," Rick's crew loses both Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) to Lucille, Negan's baseball bat. It's a harrowing episode that plants anxiety deep inside every breathing creature watching, allowing that seed to bloom in a number of drawn-out, jaw-dropping moments hidden throughout its duration.
Not only is Abraham's beaten, bloodied non-head seen in a state best described as "pulp," but Glenn — a character absolutely beloved by the community with a baby on the way and a lover two feet to his left — somehow summons the ability to tell his wife Maggie (Lauren Cohan) he'll "find her" with one missing eye socket, brain exposed.
It's no wonder fans feel betrayed. It's fair to suggest the episode could have been just as strong without those war-like, gory moments in which viewers were left with the feeling of being molested more so than entertained.
Do you think The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere was too much for TV-MA? Should there be a stronger rating? Vote below, and sound off in the comments.