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Has “The Walking Dead” become “torture porn?”

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Sunday’s season launch of “The Walking Dead” drew an audience of 17 million – “a very good night as the No. 1 show on broadcast and cable,” Deadline observed. The dark and gory opener swiftly trended on Twitter and launched a thousand memes, but one duo of vocal critics is over it.

“This wasn’t quality television, and it wasn’t suspenseful drama. It was torture-porn masquerading as storytelling, and AMC should be ashamed for airing it,” writes Bryan Bishop in a piece titled The “Walking Dead Quitter’s Club: goodbye for real” and subtitled “We’re done.”

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Earlier this year he and Nick Statt started a column called “The Walking Dead Quitter’s Club” at The Verge to vent over the show’s direction. But they didn’t actually quit. Sunday’s episode was finally the bridge too far.

“It was at times hard to watch the cast act these scenes out,” Statt writes. “Whether it was Andrew Lincoln slobbering all over himself in an attempt to convey Rick’s feeling of helplessness, or Lauren Cohan contorting her face into yet another expression of anguish to show Maggie’s devastation, it all felt grotesque. Don’t even get me started on Glenn’s final words, uttered as his eye was falling out of its socket.”

Bishop wasn’t amused at the “Lucille” bat emoji that debuted on Twitter as Glenn was getting pummeled to death. He and Statt are no prudes – a show featuring brains-eating zombies is going involve a lot of blood, they get that. But they argue that the show has become more about graphic violence courtesy of its stellar makeup and effects people than storytelling courtesy of its excellent writers.

Writes Statt: “The point I’m making here is that if there were ever any time to say no — to exercise your will as a consumer and to respect your time and emotional energy — that time is now.”

What’s your take?


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