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Friday, 21 December 2012

There isn't a bigger show on TV this year, on any Network, than The Walking Dead. AMC's zombie phenomenon is a ratings killer and has legions of fans, because, who in the hell doesn't love zombies?

So it really comes as no surprise then that AMC announced that TWD will be getting a season 4. What does come as a complete and utter shock, however, is the simultaneous announcement that TWD showrunner Glen Mazzara will be parting ways with the show after this, its 3rd season, ends.

Now, we've loved TWD since day one, during its good and bad patches, but if we're being 100% totally objective about things, there is no way to deny that season 3 has been the shows best. Season 1 was essentially the show's setup, and Season 2, as much as we really loved it, was a bit of a "finding its legs" type of a season. Season 3 has been lean and mean thus far, moving forward through its plot points like a crazy juggernaut with a specific purpose...

Which makes us wonder what the difference was between where AMC and Mazzara saw the show heading in the future.


FX's The Shield was easily one of the best hour long drama's ever put on any TV channel, ever. It was taut, compelling, and excellent to its end. Along with Sons of Anarchy mastermind, Kurt Sutter, and many-a-show mastermind Shawn Ryan, Glen Mazzara wrote the hell out of the latter seasons of that show, and was a definitely big contributor to its overall quality.

Kurt Sutter had this to say about his friend Mazaara and AMC on Friday, via Twitter:

"AMC is run by small-minded, bottom-line thinkers who have no appreciation or gratitude for the effort of its creative personnel. Time and time again we see events like what happened today with Glen Mazzara. They continue to disrespect writers, shit on their audience and bury their network. Mazzara took the work-in-progress that was Walking Dead" and turned it into a viable TV show with a future. Without him, that future is dim. Showrunners are not development executives, we're not cookie-cutter douchebags that you plug into a preexisting model. TWD will suffer. Even zombies need consistency. Mad Men and Breaking Bad will be gone soon. So will AMC. I hope their fucking stock takes a dive and the shareholders line up [AMC president and CEO Josh] Sapan, [AMC parent Cablevision founder Charles] Dolan and [AMC president and GM Charlie] Collier and shit in their open hands. Cunts."

Sutter is obviously upset about the whole thing, and without knowing the particulars about the split, which we're betting Sutter does, we can't say how right or wrong he is.

What we can do is take The Shield and Sons of Anarchy, and their excellence of storytelling and success, and see that both Mazzara and Sutter know what they're doing, and that maybe Sutter is making some great points.

Shawn Ryan, another consistent maker of seriously great TV shows , including The Shield, The Unit, Terriers, and this year's fan-pleasing (albeit already canceled) Last Resort, also shared these comments about his firend's debacle via Twitter:

"Breaking my Twitter silence to comment: AMC, WTF?"
"Common knowledge that AMC cut Breaking Bad shorter than it should have been. Now you have creative differences w/ biggest hits savior?"
"With FX, Showtime, HBO, Starz, Cinemax, A&E, TNT and others to sell to, it's a real question now why good show runners should sell to AMC?"

Sure, all these guys are friends, but they're also great producing talents with proven track records. Their shows are narrative and character strong, and they get their shit right, constantly and consistently. This season alone for Sons and TWD have been soul crushing, ass-kicking dramatic experiences, which left fans clamoring from week to week to find out what's going to happen next.

I'm not trying to suck anyone's dick here, I'm just saying, shit was cash.

I'm an elitist prick when it comes to my TV shows, mostly because 90% of what networks offer on a yearly basis tends to suck tremendous dick, and the truly excellent shows are few and far between. Deadwood, The Wire, The Unit, The Shield, The Soprano's, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, LOST, OZ, Generation, Kill, Game of Thrones, Rome, Sherlock, Luther, The Newsroom, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, The West Wing... those are my (and may other's) high water marks for dramatic excellence in TV. Ever.

This season, The Walking Dead earned its place amongst them. A lot of that is due to the efforts of Glen Mazzara.

AMC has messed with and killed good shows before; for example, we loved Rubicon, and that only lasted one season. They fucked with Breaking Bad, they fucked with Mad Men; they pissed off fans with the way that they treated The Killing, and they have had plenty of issues with showrunners leaving their shows (Rubicon, TWD, and nearly Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Hell on Wheels.) They offer some great shows for which I am truly grateful, but it also seems that they mess with those shows and their creative talents behind the scenes.

We really, really hope that AMC didn't shit the bed with this move, and that TWD will continue to improve and be one of our favorite Sunday Night rituals.

We also really hope that guys Glen Mazzara and Shawn Ryan can find projects on networks that will last, and that they can mold and cultivate said projects exactly how they see fit. They know how to do that shit, and for the benefit of entertainment fans everywhere, they need to be allowed to.

We love you, bro, and thanks for all of the good stuff.

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