AMC Cancels 'The Killing' After Two Unsatisfying Seasons

Television
by The Playlist
July 27, 2012 3:27 PM
4 Comments
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Well, that's it: AMC has canceled their controversial series "The Killing." The studio has opted not to renew this Seattle-set crime drama for a third season. Are you surprised? Well, the writing was on the wall for a while, and we essentially called this one from the beginning of season two when we reviewed the premiere that prompted this piece: "Another Long Jerk Around & Why You Should Continue With [The Killing] At Your Own Peril."  

The official AMC statement: “After much deliberation, we’ve come to the difficult decision not to renew ‘The Killing’ for a third season. AMC is incredibly proud of the show and is fortunate to have worked with such a talented team on this project, from showrunner Veena Sud and our terrific partners at Fox Television Studios to the talented, dedicated crew and exceptional cast.”

Meanwhile, the producers of the show hope to go on“Fox Television Studios is extremely proud of ‘The Killing,’ the extraordinary writing staff and crew, and what we believe is one of the best casts on television. We will proceed to try to find another home for the show.”

Best of luck with that. As we noted in April when season two began, "The Killing" kicked off remarkably well, and director Patty Jenkins would go on to win the 2012 DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement for a Dramatic Series for the show's terrific pilot episode. It had incredible mood and tone, not unlike David Fincher's "Seven," and it displayed the chops of two great actors, Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos, who played two disparate Seattle homicide detectives investigating the murder of a young girl (the show would then tie in two major stories; the aftermath for the girl's family, and how the tragic murder was used for political advantage in a Seattle mayoral election).

But as we wrote, after three episodes the show went from "absorbing and addictive to banal and chasing its tail in almost 60 seconds flat." The show's mystery, initially intriguing -- who killed Rosie Larson? -- soon turned into an irritating jerk around, resulting in a kind of blue balls for the audience. "Full of increasingly frustrating red herrings and plot narratives that were akin to driving around in circles, season one was an 'enough-already!' hair-pulling experience that had almost zero relief for viewers," we wrote.

When the Rosie Larson's killer was revealed at the end of season two, most viewers, or at least those who stuck around to find out who it was (this writer did not), could hardly care. According to a ratings report by Vulture, the season two finale averaged 1.5 million viewers for its initial telecast, which fell dramatically from its season premiere (2.7 million) and its season one finale (2.3 million). And it should be noted that when the show first aired, it was the network's highest original premiere next to "The Walking Dead."

Still, things are looking great for Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos who arguably no longer need the show. The former is the new "RoboCop" (summer 2013) and the latter has upcoming supporting roles in "Gangster Squad," "World War Z" and Atom Egoyan's "Devil's Knot," with surely more around the corner for both actors. Any way you want to dissect this narrative, "The Killing" must be seen as a cautionary tale for showrunners the world over.

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4 Comments

  • StephenM | July 28, 2012 4:21 PMReply

    I think your math is off. 1.5 mil is only 17% lower than 2.7 mil? I'm doing this in my head, but that seems like an 80% drop to me.

  • Jacque De Molay | July 27, 2012 3:41 PMReply

    NO! This is saddening news. Not cause the show itself was so great - I fucking LOVED most of Season 1, but lost interested before Season 2 even began - but now where am I to get my Mireille Enos fix? She was extraordinarily talented and lovely was was hands down the best thing about The Killing. One or two movies a year is NOT ENOUGH Mireille Enos to satisfy my craving. She should join another show - one that one get cancelled this time.

  • Nolan | July 27, 2012 3:36 PMReply

    I'll never understand this current trend of television shows with extremely narrow premises. How long can you keep a show going that is named for and based around one case? How long can that possibly be interesting? Twin Peaks couldn't even do it for two whole seasons. Shows like this and crap like "Prison Break" drive me insane on principle alone. And then you've got something like that new "Revolution" or whatever it's called--wherein it presents the central problem facing the world and introduces the solution all in a two minute trailer. That is a mini-series, folks. Not a television show.

  • Ken | July 27, 2012 5:21 PM

    I'm making a television show about a guy who has one hour to live. It's going to last 10 seasons.

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