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Will a 16-episode season compromise the quality of The Walking Dead?

Jump up and click your heels! Season 3 is 16 episodes! But ... is it too much for AMC to handle?

We knew Season 3 of The Walking Dead was already on order … we just didn’t know how many episodes it would consist of.

Popular opinion was 13, the obvious go-to assumption based on Season 2’s order. But AMC just announced from the Television Critics Association Press Tour that Season 3 will consist of 16 episodes.

Yes, yes, yes … AMC knows it has a critically acclaimed series on its hands. Critics here and abroad are raving. The fans are rabid, vocal and giddy. And everything appears to be thrusting along on all cylinders despite shake-ups and rumors and more.

But … here’s the question: Could putting 16 episodes on the books be a little much, compromising the quality of the show everyone expects?

Don’t get me wrong — as a fan myself, I’m happy as a dog with two tails about the news. But let’s cap the season right there at 16 airings. The Powers That Be have their hands full as it is; the last thing anyone wants to see is the show stoop to shoddiness or lose any steam because of the added burden.

In other words, let’s not go to the well too many times. There’s nothing wrong with a little anticipation from season to season … even if those long stretches of months seem intolerable.

Just my opinion.


Photo Credit: AMC

10 Responses to “Will a 16-episode season compromise the quality of The Walking Dead?”

January 15, 2012 at 1:24 AM

Hmmm. I just can’t see the bad angle on this one.

January 15, 2012 at 2:33 AM

I absolutely love this show, but the pacing does seem a bit slower this season and I wonder if that’s because of the larger number of episodes. The whole farm thing seemed to drag the story down a bit, at least for me.

I know it sounds like complaining, and maybe it is, but I have to agree with Hershal and say these folks have overstayed their welcome. Part of the appeal for me in the first season was the change in setting and the uncertainty of where and how many zombies might be lying in wait. With the exception of the barn, by some magic means the farm has been a zombie-free zone.

January 15, 2012 at 4:21 AM

What exactly do you think might suffer going from 13 to 16 seasons? Stretching the season’s arc making for slower paced episodes? Cost increases? Writer inspiration failure?

I’m no expert on TV production, but I assume the extra episodes will produce enough extra revenue to make it worthwhile. I think it’s kind of refreshing to see them step up the number of episodes, when I kept expecting the series “24” to decide we only needed a twenty hour day.

January 15, 2012 at 9:32 AM

If you need an example of where extended production resulted in an inferior product, you only need to look at the back half of Battlestar Galactica’s second season. It can be a real problem.

January 15, 2012 at 12:41 PM

. . . . .

bsgfan2003: I didn’t suppose a bad angle in the post above, but I’m going to attempt a more detailed explanation. This might answer your question as well, Nyela, regardless of the fact my friend Ivey above is intimately more qualified to detail something like this (of which his Battlestar Galactica mention was a good example):

I love The Walking Dead. It particularizes with elaborate story-telling and character development that’s pretty damned engaging. Occasionally, some of it gets in the way of moving the actual story along as was my gripe in “Bloodletting”, the second episode of this season.

Story takes time and effort to craft properly. I am continually amazed a group of writers can convene in a room and – with a ton of ideas tossed up in the air – come up with a cohesive, interesting tale week after week. On top of that, I expect it more so from The Walking Dead. Is that unfair of me to think that way? No … I don’t think so … not from a show I truly enjoy and am invested in.

I know they can’t all be gems, every single episode can’t be the epitome, but I do not want to see the addition of extra episodes to this show water down or make us settle for inferior story-telling. I care about this show that much.

Zombies? Yes … they’re cool and an attraction in watching this show. But, from the very first episode of the series, I was just as thrilled with characters I saw flashing across my screen. When a scene such as Morgan Jones’ – with his attempt at trying to off his diseased wife and failing spectacularly – can bring me to tears, that’s really saying something.

I don’t want to see something like that relegated to middle ground just because we can get a few more hour’s worth of product.

January 15, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Hmmpmmm. I was just about to challenge Ivey to mud wrestle, so bringing him in won’t help your case with me :D I should say you could be right as rain, but for me no matter. There are so few shows on my radar currently that I’m not disposed to complain when I can get more episodes. . .Or, if I do decide to complain about a show I enjoy, at least I can come here to CC and be annoyed among friends. :D Win. Win.

January 15, 2012 at 1:22 PM

. . . . .

All part of our value added service, bsgfan2003.

P.S. Bringing Ivey in to help my case is a double-edged sword as well as a box of chocolates … if you catch my meaning …

January 16, 2012 at 8:28 AM

I think the announcement is lacking an important piece of context. If the writers/producers asked for 16 because they have a story arc in mind that requires more episodes, this is excellent news. If the network is arbitrarily upping the order, we could be in store for some filler episodes. Either way, I’m not too concerned. Afterall, if this were on a network, we would be looking at 22 episodes to fill.

January 16, 2012 at 11:51 PM

If this were on a network we wouldn’t even have a second season.

January 18, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I’m optimistic, they’ve already done the farm thing so if they settle Team Daryl down somewhere in season three for a little while at least it’ll be somewhere different. I’m not sure why they’d do it but I hope the characters return to the city, that guarantees fun.

One thing I’m hoping for in season three is a lot more backstory, I wouldn’t mind it if they implemented a Lost style flashback system so we could see how each character survived the initial outbreak. Hell, for some of them they could have whole episodes dedicated to it.

And of course there’s the other side of the outbreak, where it started, there’s a good opportunity for lots of mystery there.

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