Amazon has had mixed luck with its original series, and has struggled somewhat to define itself in the streaming world. Though Transparent has managed to be a hit among critics, and Mozart in the Jungle has wonderful niche appeal, other series like Alpha House, Betas, and Hand of God haven’t faired particularly well. And while you might be stumping for The Man in the High Castle or Bosch, you have to admit they haven’t exactly caught the zeitgeist and become water cooler fodder.
Apparently, though, Mad Dogs was picking up some traction for Amazon, enough that it was looking to make a second season. But, EP Shawn Ryan, who adapted the series with Cris Cole (who created the British original) took to Twitter today to explain why that would not come to pass. Though he says (through a series of 18 tweets) that the series — about four men on vacation who get caught up in a hellscape of crime and corruption — was pulling good numbers for Amazon, there was a different in opinions about where the show should go next:
Wanted to report that a decision was made not to make any more episodes of Mad Dogs. We were lucky to be one the best reviewed dramas on Amazon, if not the best. A lot of critics got what we were going for, so thanks. Some Amazon employees told me that Mad Dogs, after only four weeks, already had better streaming stats than many other Amazon shows. So, thanks to the viewers for finding, embracing and binging the show. It’s been a blast to read your joy and shock on Twitter. That said, Mad Dogs was originally intended to be a closed 10 episode limited series. Many critics pointed out that this wasn’t the kind of concept destined for an extended multi-season run, and that’s right. But in order to get Season 1 made Amazon wanted to know that future seasons might be possible.
Cris Cole and I said we thought there could be but we should have that conversation on if and how after the season was over. We had that conversation on Thursday with Roy Price and company. Cris and I laid out a story for Season 2 we believed in. Ultimately, Amazon didn’t want to make that story and we didn’t want to make the kind of story they wanted us to make, so…
It made more sense to declare victory after ten episodes, which was our original plan all along anyway. Mad Dogs is extremely important to Cris and I and we can’t do the show any other way than to follow Cris’ vision. Ultimately, I think it’s better to leave it there, pure and unsullied, than to do a watered down version of the show. I’m so proud of our 10 eps and how they turned out, despite the many obstacles in our way. Want to acknowledge Ben Chaplin, Michael Imperioli, Romany Malco and Steve Zahn. What talent and chemistry! Want to thank all our writers, directors and especially our ridiculously hard working Puerto Rican crew. Especially want to thank Cris Cole who was a terrific collaborator. He stuck to his vision, morals and beliefs throughout. If you haven’t checked out Mad Dogs yet, I hope you will. It’s the full, complete crazy story we set out to tell over three years ago. Oops. A cat just walked in. Looks like I have to go. See you on the next one. #MadDogs
Admittedly, I haven’t gotten around to watching Mad Dogs yet, but I respect Ryan’s original desire to make the show a one-off miniseries (even though the British series ran for 4 seasons). Sometimes it’s best to quit while you’re ahead, although apparently there are some loose ends that could have stood some further exploration through a second season. Maybe Ryan will eventually detail his ideas for where he wanted it to go, but the situation also makes one wonder: if a show gets cancelled on a streaming service, is there the ability for it to live on elsewhere? When shows are cancelled on cable or broadcast, there’s a call for them to get picked up online … but could it go the other way? Could Showtime or Starz pick up the series? Would Ryan even want them to? (Amazon probably will hold on to the rights for a long time, regardless).
For now, who has watched the show, and what do you think — did it deserve to get another season, or was one season enough for the story to be told?