The Walking Dead: TV Review
Shows about zombies are pretty popular these days, but should young Christians be watching?
The Walking Dead has just started it’s third season in the US on American Movie Classics (AMC). It has received various high profile nominations, including Golden Globe’s 'Best TV Drama'. The viewers are turning in and setting records for a cable series, including receiving 10.9 million viewers for the season three premiere to become the most-watched basic cable drama telecast in history.
Overview of The Walking Dead
Rick Grimes is a police officer who wakes up in a hospital, only to find out a zombie apocalypse has taken place. He then embarks on a mission to find his family. During his encounter, he meets various survivors who either offer help or who he tries to help. The zombies are referred to as “Walkers” and infect other people by biting or scratching living people. These people then get a high fever and die, coming back to life as a Walker.
The show prides itself on destruction, gore and numerous ways of killing people. It is filled with violent “headshots” from guns, bows and arrows directed at zombies. The zombies are often seen eating the flesh of victims (including very grotesque and real scenes of body parts being digested).
Should a young believer watch this show?
The show is filled with violence and gore and mildly inappropriate language. Multiple characters use derogatory racial terms when talking to other survivors. Other colorful words are evident as well throughout the show, on average probably about 10-15 words an episode.
Sexual scenes are not prevalent in every episode but when they are shown, they are pretty real, especially for cable TV. There is also an attempted rape scene that can be especially disturbing for young viewers.
So, while the show is insanely popular amongst your peers, this may be your chance to share why you will not be watching it. Check out 1 Peter 4 below for a gentle reminder from Peter of how Christians need to be different from the rest of the world (including being careful what we choose to watch on TV):
For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this, they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers amultitude of sins.
There are many questions surrounding the existence of God throughout the show, even questioning how God could allow the zombies to overtake the earth. The characters are often facing dire circumstances in which they have to decipher what is more important - caring for the needy and unknown or playing it safe and not venturing out.
The characters wrestle with the idea of who God is, and the main character Rick Grimes even has a heart-to-heart discussion with Jesus at the foot of a statue of the crucifixion.
He asks Jesus what he thinks of him, suggesting the following choices:
“Sadness? Scorn? Pity? Love? Maybe just indifference. I guess you already know I'm not much of a believer. I guess I just chose to put my faith elsewhere. My family mostly…”
What a humbling moment for the lead character to recognise the existence of God and for Rick to admit his own mistakes.
Certainly, the show is filled with 'spiritual' themes, but the show's violence and gore and language will distract you from gaining any personal benefit from watching it. However, for older viewers, having some awareness of the show could potentially give an opportunity to chat to friends and colleagues about spiritual things.