The Walking Dead TV Poster Image

The Walking Dead



Grim zombie drama is artful -- but awfully bloody.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Network: AMC
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2010

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.

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

Premiere date:October 31, 2010
Cast:Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of The Walking Dead was written by

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Parent of a 10 and 13 year old Written bycrisleem February 13, 2012

Once again Common Sense misses the the sex scenes on something...

Our family loves this show. Have watched them all...till...the episode where Shane is teaching Andrea to shoot and in order to indicate her desire to have sex she grabs his crotch. I was so shocked (so was our 10 year old) I didn't know how to respond. Sadly now she won't be watching which means I probably won't get to watch anymore of them either until after bedtime. I'm not much of a TV person anyway but was happy we found something we all like. I'm bothered (once again) by Common Sense's review. You indicate Not Applicable in the sex catagory, however there was such a scene with Lori and Shane, Glen and Maggie, and then Andrea and Shane. Yes, I know they didn't show anyone naked but each was inappropriate for kids. And there was no need for crotch grabbing at all. I'm not afraid my children will kill people and they know Zombies are real, but there's no need for going that far. I could excuse some of the other sexual stuff but not the grab! PARENTS BEWARE!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written byHalfBloodPrincess March 13, 2013

Very gory. Some viewers may not be able to handle it, regardless of age.

The Walking Dead is the kind of show you can't really set a specific age-limit for. Characters swear sometimes, including occasional racial slurs such as n****r, but it's not frequent and the character who uses it isn't portrayed in a positive light. Sex is implied a few times, and a man and woman are shown in a sexual position one time, but nothing explicit is shown. Overall, I'd say these factors alone make it appropriate for a thirteen year old. But the main factor is the gore and violence. Although most of the violence is against the "walkers", who are technically already dead, there are a few cases where living people are killed, but it's usually in self defense. Many characters die, some of them becoming walkers themselves. This in itself is not to bad, but the gore is insane. Some young teens may be able to handle it and some adults may not even be able to. I think it's up to the person to decide whether they can handle it or not. Even after all this time, I still have to look away sometimes and there are one or two times I seriously thought I was going to vomit. You see all kinds of organs, sometimes being ripped out of people while they're still alive and being eaten. Gunshots are loud and tend to attract walkers, so a large percentage of them are killed in more graphic ways, such as shooting them through the eye with a crossbow, bludgeoning them with heavy objects, or repeated stabbing them in the head with a knife. There's also some fairly unsettling images. One example that really stands out is an empty car seat covered in a bloody pulp, presumably the remains of an infant that was eaten alive by walkers. Overall, it's a very good show though with an interesting story and complex characters and there's often an interesting twist that you didn't see coming. I was worried when I started watching it that it might be a little scary, something I'm not really into, but so far there have only been two times something has made me jump and I haven't had any nightmares or anything, even when watching it right before bed, so if you're worried about that kind of thing, don't be. Like I said, the main thing is the gore. If you can handle that, I definitely recommend it. It's a fascinating story. Just look at it's rating on Netflix. It's the closest to five stars that I've ever seen.
What other families should know
Too much violence
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


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