THR Emmy Roundtable: 'Game of Thrones' Showrunner Questions Network TV Violence (Video)
D.B. Weiss argues “sanitized” violence may be worse than more realistic depictions, because they are too “easy to watch" and "fun.”
With violence on TV re-emerging in recent months as a hot topic, The Hollywood Reporter asked some of television’s top showrunners whether the controversial issue affects their shows.
Kevin Williamson (Fox’s The Following) said his serial killer-centered show isn’t for kids, and parents shouldn’t allow their children to watch it.
“But I think there's a bigger issue at play -- mental illness -- which I'm glad has finally come to the surface, and yeah, those people should not be watching The Following,” he said. “How do I get them not to watch it? I don't know. Is there a responsibility? I'm a writer, and I want to tell my stories. So should I be able to do that? I don't have an answer."
D.B. Weiss (HBO’s Game of Thrones) noted that “violence in the real world is awful to witness. But it's the sanitized versions of violence on TV that are worse because they're letting kids watch. On network TV, people die in droves in a way that's clean and easy to watch and fun. It's more like an old video game.”
Aaron Sorkin (HBO’s The Newsroom) said if Hollywood is culpable for glorifying violence, it may also have a responsibility for creating a “mythology” about an American past that never was.
“Whether it was that World War II was a very glamorous war or, you know, that African-Americans are subservient people who occasionally impart wisdom,” Sorkin said. “And that Father Knows Best kind of thing. Didn't we create those myths as well as glamorizing violence?”
THR’s drama showrunners roundtable also featured Emmy contenders Alex Gansa (Showtime’s Homeland), Matthew Weiner (AMC’s Mad Men) and Beau Willimon (Netflix’s House of Cards).
The roundtable discussion was moderated by THR executive editor Matthew Belloni and senior editor Stacey Wilson.