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The Reason Why "The Walking Dead" Sh*tcanned Its Showrunner, And Why "Arrested Development" Won't Be the Reunion We Expected

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | January 9, 2013 | Comments ()


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Despite the fact that “The Walking Dead” had a major creative resurgence once Glen Mazzara took over showrunner duties from Frank Darabont (the show also saw a surge in ratings), AMC sh*tcanned their showrunner last month, which ultimately upset a lot of folks in the showrunner community, specifically “The Shield’s” Shawn Ryan and “Sons of Anarchy’s” Kurt Sutter — both of whom worked with Mazarra on “The Shield” — who took a number of potshots at AMC on Twitter for their handling of the situation.

If it’s as “insider sources” are reporting, however, it may not have been entirely AMC’s fault. Blame can also be placed on Kirkman and even Mazarra, who apparently didn’t have his sh*t together for the upcoming second half of season three.

Several insiders confirm that Kirkman, whose detailed graphic novels form the basis of the series, is “very proprietary,” as one puts it. One adds, “I believe Robert wants to maintain a certain amount of his control, and AMC needs Robert for the fan base.” But despite the vitriol, some sources involved with Walking Dead say Kirkman was one of several producers on the show who had issues with Mazzara and his vision.

One source says Mazzara’s shortcomings in running the series during the most recent third season became “abundantly clear … especially for the second half of the season.” This source says production was shut down “several times” because of a lack of material. (via)

I haven’t read Kirkman’s novels, but I’m personally a fan of Mazarra’s vision, if the last 12 episodes are any indication. However, we haven’t seen the second half of the third season yet, so we don’t know if the train truly did jump the tracks or if this is just “insiders” protecting both Kirkman and AMC by taking a crap on Mazarra. I miss the old days when we were content enough to see zombies on the small screen on a weekly basis.

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In other news relevant to your interests, we are learning that “Arrested Development” is not exactly a full reunion of the cast, as each episode will focus on only one character. Of the 14 episodes, only Jason Bateman will appear in all of them, although others may appear in the periphery of episodes. We won’t see the entire cast together until the final episode, which will lead to a more extended full cast reunion in the Arrested Development movie, if that happens. Basically, the series will catch us up on individual characters, and what they did after fleeing the law at the end of the third season.

“The bigger story is the family has fallen apart at the start of our show,” Hurwitz said. “They all went their own way, without Michael holding them together, so they’re left to their own devices, and they’re not the most successful devices.”He said the season was designed as a “first act to what we eventually want to do, which is a big movie,” though he cautioned that such a project may never actually happen. (via)

Wait? What’s that? THE MOVIE MAY NEVER HAPPEN? Damnit. So at the end of season four, we can all return to bitching for the next six years until it actually does happen. Cool. Something to look forward to.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • bob barker

    is it just me or did that description of arrested development sound depressing...

  • John W

    The Walking Dead is a monthly comic published by Image Comics (the current issues is #108 or thereabouts) But they are also collected in trade paperback format that some people call "graphic novels".

    It's basically what they did with the Watchmen, which was a 12 issue mini series originally and then later released together in a single volume as a "graphic novel".

    Having said all that, IMHO the comic book/graphic novels are better or at least more ruthless than the show. The way Lori's death was handled in the show was terrible compared to comic books/graphic novel.

  • OldSchool60

    Graphic Novel
    or
    Monthly Serialized Comic Book
    or
    Sequential Art

  • RilesSD

    Maybe it's his (lack of) presence on his Talking Dead appearances, but Mazzera always seemed a bit hacky to me. He always looked like he didn't care about the material of the show, and
    he was just doing a job. Maybe he just doesn't like being on camera, I don't know. The show definitely picked up pace and more action, but the writing and dialogue is still terrible. And Michonne is a huge failure. I think showrunners need to have more passion about their projects than it seemed he did.

  • QueeferSutherland

    Somewhat related rant:

    Source material purists -- especially in the comic/superhero genre -- rub me the wrong way more often than not. It's called an adaptation for a reason, kids. Material doesn't often translate perfectly between mediums. Stop complaining that a showrunner deviated one degree from the comic or didn't include Pointless Character Z.

    Granted, it's not easy to walk the tightrope between faithful adaptation and imparting your own creative vision (Game of Thrones and Justified probably do it the best). Too much zealotry and you get a nine-hour Hobbit film. Stray too far and Nicholas Cage's head is on fire for two hours. A less strict adherence to source material, in most instances, honors the original work while still allowing a show/movie to carve out its own identity.

  • Sour maternal puree

    The TWD comic is a hastily drawn soap-opery wall of text. It's not art, but gosh-dangit it is addictive. The TWD tv-series is a snooze-fest. It's not art. It's not even entertainment.

    Those strawmen identified as "source material purists" by you are not complaining because of changes to the story. It's about brand loyalty. The comic book is a juicy, heart-stopping BigMac. The TV-series is fecal mater in a dry bun. I might be morbidly obese, but even I won't eat that.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Completely agree with you. Fortunately for Justified, the show is based on a short story and they've got a lot of leeway to expand on the character and story... not to mention Larry McMurtry isn't a GD control freak like this Kirkman guy sounds like.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    Just yesterday I was discussing Mazzara's firing with a friend and we compared Kirkman to George RR Martin and why he seemingly had no problem with the changes made to the comic book plot (and proposing that Martin probably wouldn't aprove such a thing). I guess we were both wrong.

  • John G.

    having read all the comic books (better fracas?), I think the show has added some depth to the characters. Kirkman does not have a good sense of character. He'll bend his characters whichever way he wants in order to make a more shocking scene.

    The Governor was really fleshed out in the TV show. In the comic book, he was just a cartoon character, a fun one though.

    The show has been dropping the ball on Michonne, but it's not the comic book fleshed out her character any better.

    Rick is all over the place in the comic book. He is an actual human being in the show.

    Carl was maybe even better in the comic book, until this season where they've actually given him some shading as a character.

    Points to the comic book for not having any "damn, that's wack" black characters, though. The showrunners have gone out of their way to make the show more racist. And as someone recently pointed out to me, the show takes place in Atlanta, and yet all the zombies are white. What's up with that?

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I've seen some zombies that were other than Caucasian but the make-up tends to make them all the same ghastly shade of pale.

  • TheAggroCraig

    For a couple of seconds, after reading the very beginning of your comment, I thought: "Comic books? What com--ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT COMIC BOOKS!?" Then I realized you were referring to TWD and I became disappointed.

  • fracas

    Yes, thanks. Also, you're right on all points.

  • lowercase_ryan

    *cough*graphicnovels*cough*

  • Emmet O'Cuana

    That bloody word is like the spanks of comics criticism.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I'm not sure I'm gonna know what to do with myself on the internet if you take away b*tching about an Arrested Development movie.

  • Wasn't the whole "each episode will focus on one character" thing in the initial Netflix/Arrested Development press release? I feel like we've known that from the start.

  • Three_nineteen

    Yes. This is what I remember Hurwitz saying he was going to do.

  • ed newman

    Looking most forward to the Egg episode.

  • chumplunt

    I remember that too, but I took that to mean the story itself would just focus on the one character for the episode. I never thought that would mean we wouldn't SEE any of the other characters in that episode.

  • fracas

    "Kirkman's novels"

    It's a comic book.

  • Pinky McLadybits

    They're graphic novels.

  • lowercase_ryan

    no, they're graphic novels

  • fracas

    No, they're monthly serialized comic books just like Spider-Man. Calling them novels is inaccurate, pretentious, and an insult to comic books.

  • Jezzer

    That is quite possibly the stupidest thing you could ever get worked up about, and I for one am excited to see what you might be frothing about in the comments in the months to come.

  • lowercase_ryan

    you say potato, I say I don't really care so long as they're good.

  • Sounds to me like Hurwitz and co. are actually trying to maintain some integrity and provide satisfying, sensical, continuing, character-driven storylines, rather than jizz out some cheap, 'oh-my-god-look-it's-eveyone-back-together!' fan service.
    Even speaking as a die hard fan who'd love that kind of fan service I have to give them props.
    Or whatever.
    ...do we still give props?

  • dizzylucy

    If we don't give props, you could given them shoulder rubs. As long as you don't have a hook for a hand.

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