The Walking Dead

Common Sense Media says

Grim zombie drama is artful -- but awfully bloody.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The world is a bleak and dangerous place, and there's an overarching sense of dread and foreboding. But the remaining humans are quick to band together to work toward a common goal: survival.

Positive role models

Most human characters display kindness, mercy, and tenacity. When they kill the "walkers," they're actually protecting themselves and their fellow survivors.


Characters experience frequent, intense acts of violence involving blood (pooled, splattered, dripping, etc.), shootings, and decomposing, half-eaten bodies. Beloved characters die, and children are threatened, injured, shot, killed. Many tense scenes that draw out suspense and fear.


Most episodes contain no sexual content, though there is some flirting, embracing, and caressing between couples. In a handful of episodes couples have sex -- in one episode you can see a man behind a woman in an obviously sexual position and in another episode a woman puts her hand on a man's crotch and they embrace and offscreen sex is implied. A few episodes refer to sex, pregnancy, affairs, birth control, etc.


Some unbleeped swearing, including "s--t." Other audible words like "pissed," "damn," "bitch," etc.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Rare drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Walking Dead is a horror-drama hybrid that contains vividly violent action sequences involving blood, guns, and half-eaten corpses, among other stomach-turning visuals. There's also some unbleeped swearing ("s--t"), but those words are rare. A handful of episodes include sexual content, but nothing explicit appears onscreen.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In the wake of a global pandemic, a small band of survivors makes its way across the country to find a safe, new home -- away from the dangers of THE WALKING DEAD. The group includes an injured sheriff's deputy (Andrew Lincoln) who wakes up in an abandoned hospital, only to find the facility crawling with flesh-eating "walkers" (that's slang for zombies) and half-eaten corpses. But in time, he joins forces with a single father (Lennie James) and his young son (Adrian Kali Turner), and sets out to find his own missing wife (Sarah Wayne Callies) and boy (Chandler Riggs). The show is based on a comic book series of the same name created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore.

Is it any good?


No pun intended, but, for most viewers, this AMC drama about flesh-eating zombies will be an acquired taste. Because even if you don't mind watching a swarm of the undead descend upon a mounted horse, knock it and its rider to the ground, and feast upon the writhing animal's entrails, you're asked to endure a surprising amount of drawn-out silences in between the series' admittedly grim action sequences.

That's not to say The Walking Dead is too gross to watch, or unworthy of praise for its acting and art direction. (British actor Lincoln, in particular -- perhaps best known to Americans for his small role as a pining Romeo in Love Actually -- is impressive as the Southern-drawling hero.) And as the series progresses, viewers will be drawn into characters' personal stories and their continuing efforts to survive and wrestle with complex moral questions.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the recent rise of zombies in popular culture (for example, with horror-comedies like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland). What's the appeal? Do you think a serious drama like this one -- which purposefully lacks laughs -- will attract the same type of audience?

  • When it comes to violent content on television, does the show cross the line? Would the show still be gripping if it were any less gory?

  • Zombies aside, how realistic is the series' depiction of human nature? If the world were to suffer a true global pandemic, would the survivors band together in an attempt to preserve humanity, or would they continue to battle each other for control of what's left?

TV details

Cast:Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of The Walking Dead was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byPlague November 8, 2010

The Walking Dead

This show delivers an intelligent, well made storyline that the viewers will be drawn right into. This show is intensely gorey and has swearing when the characters are in peril. I would not recommend this show to anyone under the age of 13, but would highly recommend it to those who love zombie-based shows/movies.

What other families should know
Great role models
Parent of a 14 year old Written byGamehawk4884 November 28, 2010

Great for kids who know the differance between fiction and reality.

I personally love this haas some good role models. It is fine for 13yr old s and very mature 12yr olds. Kids these days are going to watch violent shows anyway so it is not a really big issue. Anyways, the show is about zombies, if you kids is mature enough to know the differance between reality and fiction then it is fine.

What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written bytarmale October 28, 2011

Love "The Walking Dead"

I'm very picky about what I watch and I love this show. As an adult, it doesn't scare me of course but I would not allow my children to watch it. My daughter is 13 and she gets scared from the commercials so I really think that it's too gory for anyone under 16 and could cause nightmares. For adults however, it's a very well written show. The acting is very good and when the episode is over it leaves you wanting more!!!

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families