While I try to figure out what my Sunday nights will hold, without The Walking Dead for the next 6 months, I’m getting ready for the season finale on March 31st reading here and there, looking for spoilers and hidden stories as the huge geek that I am.
I have wondered why Frank Darabont, Creator, Showrunner and Producer of the series, was not in the picture anymore, after developing 2 seasons of one of the best TV shows I had seen in a long time. And I finally found an article - not really a hidden story, but new to me – explaining why he resigned or, let’s call things with their names, he was fired by AMC. According to this and other articles, the Network’s Executive VP of Programming & Production, Joel Stillerman, fired our Frank even after he brought The Walking Dead to the highest ratings in history for a cable show.
And what do you do when season 1 gets praise from the critics as well as from the general public and has exceptional ratings? You order a second season with 7 more episodes than the previous one and you cut the budget by 700K.
Wait, what? Longer season, less money. Ok, that doesn’t make much sense, but the second season was awesome nonetheless.
Then what do you do when season 2 gets more praise from the critics, when lines from your show go viral and your fan base grows even more? You fire the talented bastard who made it happen. Again, it’s non sense.
After Frank Darabont was fired, Glen Mazzara took over as Showrunner on season 3 and I personally noticed – like maybe many other fans – a strong change of direction and a much slower progression in the plot. By the end of season 3 production, Glen Mazzara was replaced as well with one of the lead writers, Scott Gimple.
Joel Stillerman, brilliant mind behind this “tarantella” of replacements, is now sitting in his 15th floor NYC office making the next big decision. Sure, we can’t say the network hasn’t been rolling on a gold path with shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Man on the roster. But I couldn’t help to think about those Suits – too many – telling talented professionals how to do their job, getting into the detail of artistic choices, barking to who fights for their art and bringing their word to an artistic place where their eyes or heart don’t belong. Sounds like a show-off of power to me, one more Suit in LaLaLand, one more artist in Suit-land.
For us though – the hipercritical fans – the ultimate expectation is a good show; actually a spectacular, jaw-dropping show, something very tricky to do nowadays.
(SPOILER) So I’m looking forward to the 27-characters massacre in the upcoming season finale and I want to give a special goodbye to Merle. Let me love Michonne for being the only one able to give us a deep look into the crazy misunderstood Merle, the late bloomer who’s a mystery to himself. The character that we hated and despised and that left us with the bitter feeling of wanting more.