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Frank Darabont's departure from The Walking Dead was a shock to the TV viewing world. Coming on the heels of the Comic-Con panel, where Darabont joined cast and crew in enthusiastically discussing the hit AMC series, the announcement was extremely unexpected. Though Glen Mazzara has already stepped into the role of show runner, the change in leadership got me wondering; who else might be worthy of the position? So I present three candidates who would be well suited for the job, and while these picks are just wishful thinking, they are nonetheless qualified.
Ronald D. Moore
With NBC passing on his latest project, 17th Precinct, Moore was available to take the reins on The Walking Dead. Working for years in the Sci-Fi genre, it was his revival of Battlestar Galactica that brought him his most acclaim; and is what truly qualifies him to take on TWD. The sprawling epic pitted the last vestige of humanity against seemingly insurmountable odds. In addition to the obvious similarity, Battlestar Galactica also often conveyed that despite the horrors they faced in battle, humanity is its own worst enemy; which is another central theme in the TWD comics. An aspect that never seemed to translate to Darabont's interpretation of the series. Moore joining the TWD would mean reuniting with composer, Bear McCreary; whose work on BSG produced one of the best soundtracks in television history, and is all the more excuse to get the two of them back together.
Another TV legend with numerous science fiction series under his belt, Whedon has dealt with the undead on more than one occasion. Though he is currently writing and directing the long-anticipated film, The Avengers, his merits place him high in the running if he were free. Whedon's main qualification is the same reason fans of his shows have such a love/hate relationship with him. The man just loves killing off characters. The more loved someone is by fans, the more likely they are to kick the bucket. Creator of the comic series, Robert Kirkman, has also never been averse to deep sixing the members of his not-so-merry band, which places Whedon right at home. The other big draw for him is the inevitable improvement to the dialogue he would bring. The clunky sounding conversations were responsible for many of the complaints TWD's first season drew, and the witty repartee Whedon is known for could have given it a much needed boost.
Though as Ali reported earlier in the week, he may be done with the network altogether, the Breaking Bad creator makes for an interesting choice to take on the fellow AMC series. Gilligan found fame with Breaking Bad's critical success, and the elements that made it so great could work well on TWD. With its fair share of brutally violent and gruesome scenes, BB has proven Gilligan doesn't mind the gore. (The disposal of a semi-dissolved body during the first season springs to mind.) His focus on visual presentation would also help highlight one of TWD's best features: the stunning attention to detail that goes into the makeup and effects of the “Walkers.” The dark and depressive nature of Gilligan's writing wouldn't be out of place either. The characters of Breaking Bad are often dealing with situations that are as bleak as those in TWD. Beyond the similarities between the two shows on AMC, Gilligan's work as a writer and producer on The X-Files demonstrates he is not unfamiliar with the horror and Sci-Fi genres.