VIOLENCE/GORE: 9.4/10 - Gory, bloody, but rarely against humans.
SEX/NUDITY: 5/10 - Infrequent and dotted throughout the series, and it's mild.
DRUG USE: 4/10 - Rare to have, but there are some episodes with drinking.
INTENSE SCENES/HORROR: 8.2/10 - Overall theme is dark and gritty, and there are some scary moments.
This show is truly brilliant! The quality is amazing, the writing, I feel, is top notch. However, is it appropriate for children? I would say maybe. The show is a horror-drama, and it is definitely bloody and very gory. It has been said by Rolling Stone to be the most disgusting show on television!
Some notable gory encounters: Chopping up a zombie to use the innards as a protection to get through a horde of zombies, (they use smell as their judge of a living person or dead person) using a pickaxe to chop of a dead body, a zombie body gets ripped into two, (probably the most disgusting scene of the show) zombie/human gore is typically found lying around, humans cut open a zombie to see if he ate a person recently, a zombies head gets pushed into a gate, tearing it's face. A zombie falls from a high distance and it "explodes". (the zombies throughout the show "rot" and thus become squishy) Those scenes are dotted across the series. There is also semi-frequent bashing of heads, cutting off zombie limbs, crushing zombies, etc. And in basically every episode, zombies will get shot, stabbed, and "killed" in many different ways, all in graphic detail.
Sounds pretty bad, right? Well, it's important to note that the show does revolve around zombies, and their is a sense of "this isn't real" throughout it. And 98% of the violence/gore revolves around the zombies.
There is also frequent swearing in the show, including Sh*t, da*n, a*s, b*tch, and so on. Middle finger is rare. Overall the swearing happens frequently due to the fact that they are in a zombie apocalypse... So the swearing never actually feels unnecessary or gratuitous.
And there are very occasional sex scenes. (s1 ep 2 actually starts off with one, which is actually one of the most "graphic" sex scenes in the series.) But there is never any nudity, (there is implied nudity) and the scenes are generally very brief. Each sex scene has a point to it. At most, it's PG-13 stuff.
But what makes this show great is the character relations, development, and interaction. There are some really great role models in this show, and some really good messages. It's thought provoking at times, and in all honesty, is beautiful. I am a guy, and this is the first piece of film/television that I have actually shed a tear for. It's truly beautiful and heart warming.
The show is so dark and gritty, and in a sense, hopeless, that it really shows how valuable life is, and the state of humanity. This show may have a lot of gore to it, sometimes unnecessary, but they don't use that as the driving point. The good, positive messages outweigh the bad easily, and if you can stomach gore, then there is no reason not to watch it!
I would say it's hands down, R. Very graphic violence. R violence, R language, PG-13 sex and PG drug use. But it's not a hard R, I think. It's not a soft R either.
Any mature 14-15-16 year old can handle the show. Maybe younger, but if I actually look back, I don't think I actually could of handled it.