When did extreme gore on TV become okay?

Growing up, I remember when dead bodies were shown or people were shot in TV shows, there was frequently little or no blood shown, and if there was any blood, it was either just a body lying in a pool of blood after the fact and/or just a red spot on their clothing. Even horror shows on premium cable, like Tales From the Crypt on HBO, weren’t nearly as gory as some of the things I’ve seen on network TV.

Now, the first few minutes of any given episode of Bones has more blood-and-guts gore than nearly anything I’d ever seen in an R-rated horror movie growing up (I was born in the late 70s, grew up during the 80s and early 90s, and watched a lot of horror movies during that time).

When did this happen?

I first noticed it with Bones (premiered 2005) and CSI (the original) (premiered 2000, but the icky part was just the animations of various objects going through various pieces of viscera at first; I think the gross corpses came a few seasons later).

Well, X-files pushed some of the limits, though it may not have been gore exactly. It certainly had some moments that would still count as the “grossest” moments on TV.

CSI seems a good starting point for the gore; their shots of what was going on inside the body were revolutionary for TV.

Heroes in it’s first season had an image of Hayden Panettere? Pannettiere? Panera? sliced open stem to stern and showing organs, as well as other gore… that was… 2006?

House didn’t start it, but I would say it definitely pushed the envelope. Some of the goriest things I’ve seen on TV have been on that show. Along with CSI, it’s done a good job of desensitizing me to onscreen gore (though I still can’t watch “spring-loaded-cat” style horror movie gore).

One show that actually disturbed me recently was Hannibal. Fantastic show but wow, some of the imagery on that show is just haunting.

Nowadays most people would regard the depictions of blood and guts in MASH* to be mild to silly, but at the time it did seem a little (excuse me) “cutting edge” to some.

I just started watching the first season of The Following and I can’t believe this stuff was shown on a broadcast channel in prime time.

We just watched White House Down, and it was notable how little blood and gore there was - people are machine-gunned left and right and it’s almost all old-style Gunsmoke “grab your stomach and fall over.” Having seen gore splatter all over the TV screen, this is one more example of how either the MPAA ratings are crazy, or we are.

Just a guess, but I would say ER was the start of it. ER shows gore in a medical setting…sets precedent and other shows take that and run with it.

Yeah, I was going to say I first noticed it on either ER or The X-Files.

The first season bothered me a lot…everything just seemed so senseless. There was no point to any of the killing…not enough credible plot to justify it. But I watched it anyway because…Kevin Bacon. Last week I lasted about 20 minutes of season two premiere. Watching all the stabbing on the tube was bad enough but the looney tune dancing with the dead body just sickened me and I turned it off. Finally reached my limit I think.

Back a few years ago I was watching Silent Witnes ( UK version of CSI) and something abut the way the body was slapped around on the slab just grossed me out and I decided I don’t want any one doing anything to my body when I’m dead.

I would go back just a tiny bit further and suggest NYPD Blue as the start. That show pushed the limits in pretty much every category, not just in showing Denis Franz’s butt, and kind of set the bar for what shows could get away with before the FCC got involved (not that they didn’t get in trouble a few times, mainly in places where due to timezones they were on at 9 instead of 10).