Tonight, the third season of The Walking Dead returns to AMC. Personally, I am geeked. I think, despite a slow start, that it has become the best show on TV.
If you don’t know anything about the series, it is set in the aftermath of a seemingly worldwide zombie apocalypse. A group of survivors led by a former Kentucky sheriff try to establish a life amidst millions of man-eating ghouls. The writing is crisp and the acting is sharp.
But how should a Christian feel about it?
Unlike many of the most popular and acclaimed shows on cable, The Walking Dead does not contain the sex and nudity that so unnecessarily pervades Game of Thrones or Dexter. But there is violence, sometime graphic violence including zombies munching on people or animals while their own innards are on public display.
Certainly, The Walking Dead is not for the young. In my opinion, the graphic violence is too much for even a young teen. Such violence should also be avoided by the small number of people who, for whatever reason, find such scenes to be satisfying in a perverse way. I advise all Christians to avoid any temptation that strikes at the heart of sin that has not yet been subdued by the spirit of God.
But for people like me who like horror and great drama but aren’t tempted in any way by such violence, The Walking Dead is a standout piece of art that lends itself to serious theological reflection.
I have been writing a book on theology & the zombie genre for a year now and am convinced that it is a great way to discern the ultimate questions our culture is asking and respond to them with the answers provided by Scripture. The Walking Dead asks questions about meaning, about relationships, about community, about what & who we can trust and about the true nature of humankind, especially when the trappings of polite society are stripped from us.
So, if you are like me and interested in these type of ultimate questions, I highly recommend The Walking Dead. I especially recommend this forthcoming season for, if the season follows the narrative arc of the comic books on which the series is based on, it will be a heck of a ride this fall!
Season 3 premiers tonight at 9 p.m. on AMC (I guess if you have Dish, you’re screwed!).