The Killing: AMC addresses criticism of controversial season finale

It's only been a month, but I had all but forgotten about The Killing's season finale, as well as the firestorm of online criticism that threatened to bring down the entire internet the Monday after the episode aired. The use of the word "firestorm" may be slightly hyperbolic, but only slightly. The anger from viewers and critics, while completely justified, was absolutely mind blowing in scale and virulence.

Thanks to Breaking Bad, AMC has moved past the fiasco and the channel's "brand" appears to be pretty much undamaged. Looking back, it seems a bit silly that we questioned whether or not AMC would be able to salvage the remains of its prestige in the era post-The Killing. But hey, we were pissed. We wanted answers, explanations, excuses, and/or recognition from the creative team that they royally screwed up. Most of all we wanted an apology. What we got instead was Veena Sud (The Killing's showrunner) spouting a bunch of gibberish about viewer expectations and taking no responsibility for the offensively awful finale.

AMC still hasn't given us an "I'm sorry, we know the episode sucked and we promise that nothing like that will air on our network ever again" and we most likely never will. But today we probably got the closest thing to that we are ever going to get.

Joel Stillerman, who is AMC's head of original programming, fielded questions from reporters this afternoon and was asked about The Killing. Regarding the finale, he said, "I think the major takeaway for us after the finale of 'The Killing' starts with the headline that for everybody who was frustrated, we hear you. If we had to do anything differently, I think we certainly would have taken a different approach with respect to managing expectations of what was going to happen within the season. I can tell you... it was never intentionally meant to mislead anybody."

"I think we got there," Stillerman said, regarding the show's attempt "to take a familiar genre (the crime show) and approach it in a different way." He continued, "But we definitely didn't manage expectations the way they should have been managed... I think it would have been a very different scenario had people not been so convinced they were going to find out." I disagree. People wouldn't have been AS PISSED if the show hadn't all but promised us that the case would be resolved by season's end, but to say, "It would have been a very different scenario," is to ignore all of the very real problems with the show itself.

It appears that AMC's marketing and promotions departments are taking far too much blame in this situation. Sure, it's their job to "manage expectations" and it was a mistake to keep emphasizing the "Who Killed Rosie Larsen?" tag-line when they knew going into the season that viewers wouldn't get an answer to that question. But it's Veena Sud and the rest of her creative team's responsibility to produce a quality show that fans will enjoy, regardless of expectations.

By Lucas High

About the author

Lucas High is a man on a mission. That mission: to watch television for a living. Drop him a line at lhigh2@gmail.com, on Facebook and on Twitter at twitter.com/LucasHigh.

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1 Comment
On: Thursday, July 28, 2011
Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

It's interesting that Stillerman would go so far to make this kind of statement. We've had this discussion a number of times Lucas, but I seem to be in the pretty slim majority of people who were pretty much fine with how the season wrapped. That said, I totally recognize and sympathize with the many who are pissed. I guess AMC is trying to lay the groundwork for a general reset well ahead of the build up for The Killing's Season Two. 

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