Today, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kim Masters unveiled an inside look at the current state of AMC’s The Walking Dead in the aftermath of showrunner Frank Darabont’s ill-explained ouster about a month ago. If all that’s contained within the story is true, the outlook for season two of this show is… er… not good.
Read the story now and then come back.
While I liked The Walking Dead‘s first short season, its numerous flaws have appeared a bit more obvious to me in retrospect. Season two needed to start strong, with some tighter storylines and more focused storytelling, to really be effective. Based on the article, though, things are not going too well. Cast and crew are upset at Darabont’s dismissal, the budget’s been slashed, and AMC is dropping some clueless sounding, penny-pinching production notes in an attempt to save a buck (quote the article: “Couldn’t the audience hear the zombies sometimes and not see them, to save on makeup?” Yikes. Does that sound a case of starched-suit executive tone-deafness or what?)
It’s certainly possible that things could turn out fine, that season two could smooth out some of the narrative problems from the first season, and go on to become really successful, but the THR article makes it seem like AMC is relentlessly trying to scale back the scope of the show, and frankly, the expansive scope and almost movie-like quality with which the first season was filmed was the show’s greatest asset.
I know that despite its critical success lately, AMC is a small cable network that has to remain budget conscious. But this article, coupled with Darabont’s firing, the rather public snit with Matt Weiner over Mad Men‘s budget, the recent difficult discussions revolving around a fifth season of Breaking Bad, the rumors I’ve heard that its new fall series Hell on Wheels isn’t very good, and the network’s complete inability to prevent The Killing from completely crapping all over itself in its final episode sure makes me worry that AMC might be in a bit over its head.
I know this is all speculation, but is anyone else worried out there?