Moral Ambiguity in Popular TV Shows

Many of today’s most popular TV shows prominently feature morally ambiguous characters and situations. Characters like Breaking Bad’s Walter White and The Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes are cast as the shows’ main protagonists ("good guys"), but do they always do "the right thing?"

Explore the idea of moral ambiguity in popular TV shows. Does this mark a departure from what has been popular on TV in the past? What is moral ambiguity’s function on TV?

  • Another good show/character to focus on would be Under the Dome/Big Jim. – BethanyS 9 years ago
  • Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? What defines good and bad? Who defines good or bad, and what gives them that right? The topic of moral ambiguity is relevant to contemporary society because we are a society growing out of the good guy-bad guy mentality. The globalization of communication has connected people from all different backgrounds all across the world. People are realizing that there are no good people or bad people, just one kind of person, humans. What these shows are trying to portray are the situations that cause people to behave in ways contrary to their morality, themes of redemption, upheaval of traditional ideals and values, and how human morality changes as the world around changes (Walter's illness and finances change drastically when he diagnosed, the world that Rick Grimes lives in is like nothing that we know now). – Visenya 9 years ago
  • One of the best examples of this subject would be Tony Soprano. He was very influential on future television dramas. – Joseph Manduke IV 9 years ago
  • Not to mention, Rumple, Zelena, and Regina in OUAT. And Snow's method of saving Rumple's life. – EllenFleischer 9 years ago

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