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The Walking Dead is the highest-rated show on television, largely for one main reason:

Blood, gore, violence, death.

Okay, that’s more like four reasons.

But the point remains: people tune in to this AMC smash hit because they want to see just how brutal things can get between our group of heroes and the walkers or rival humans who want to kill them.

The Walking Dead Photo
Photo via AMC

To some, however, The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 1 crossed a line.

It featured a pair of deaths (Abraham and Glenn), both of which took place at the hands of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan.

To be more specific, these deaths took place at the BAT of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan, which continuously slammed into Abraham and Glenn’s skulls until they were long gone.

And while 17 million people watched the premiere, making it the second-most popular episode in series history, many of them were turned off by what they witnessed.

To wit:

TWD Backlash 6
TWD Backlash 5

Danai Gurira (Michonne) understands where a lot of these complaints came from, but she told Good Morning America yesterday that "it was very important for us to see and feel that loss, because that loss transforms everybody. It’s devastating."

It was also gross.

And that’s where The Parents Television Council comes in.

The conservative watchdog organization blasted Sunday’s episode premiere of The Walking Dead Season 7 in a statement that reads as follows:

"Last night’s season premiere of The Walking Dead was one of the most graphically violent shows we’ve ever seen on television, comparable to the most violent of programs found on premium cable networks.

"It’s not enough to ‘change the channel,’ as some people like to advocate, because cable subscribers – regardless of whether they want AMC or watch its programming – are still forced to subsidize violent content.

"This brutally explicit show is a powerful demonstration of why families should have greater control over the TV networks they purchase from their cable and satellite providers."

The Walking Dead Season 7: What's Ahead?

The Parents Television Council has issued strongly-worded statements against episodes of TV shows.

It once bashed Glee for its depiction of reckless teen sex.

But it may at least have more of a case in this case than it had previously when finding faults with various programs.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, Winter said the premiere "from start to finish" and its degree and volume of violence "set a new threshold for basic cable."

He added that the episode should even raise the question of if there should be a rating beyond TV-MA, which is what this episode earned.

"I understand violence is inherent to the storytelling here but the manner in which the depictions were made … it crossed the line," Winter said, expounding:

"With The Walking Dead, the creative team has resorted to the graphic violence as a crutch for what used to be better storytelling. When you can’t figure out what lines to write, you put something in easier, which is a graphic depiction.

"To me, it’s too much."

Do you agree? Did The Walking Dead premiere cross a line of gore and/or violence?