‘Stalker’s Kevin Williamson Fires Back at Critics in the Least Mature Way Imaginable

'Stalker's Kevin Williamson Fires Back at Critics in the Least Mature Way Imaginable

You may be aware — and if you’re not, you are among the fortunate — that CBS’s fall lineup includes a show called "Stalker," a procedural drama in which Dylan McDermott and Maggie Q investigate stalking cases. Creator Kevin Williamson pitches it as a show that will raise awareness of the crime of stalking, but TV critics aren’t buying it, and at the TCA session for "Stalker" yesterday, they let Williamson have it with both barrels. Reading the twitter feeds of those in attendance, especially the Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg, HitFix’s Daniel Fienberg and the A.V. Club’s Sonia Saraiya, was like watching the Hindenberg explode in 140-character bursts. (NPR’s Linda Holmes and the Huffington Post’s Maureen Ryan both announced they were skipping the panel because the show disgusts them.) After rebuffing questions comparing "Stalker’s" pulpy violence to Fox’s "The Following" and suggesting that giving the show’s protagonists stalker-y tendencies make sense because "We’ve all stalked someone at some point," Williamson eventually threw up his hands and suggested that if viewers don’t like it, they can change the channel. 

However, he wasn’t done with Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff, whom Williamson fired back at in a Twitter tirade which goes a long way toward proving that "Stalker" won’t be quite the Mature Show About Issues Williamson wants to present it as.


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Comments

Kim

Stalker was a great show.

c shell

Terrible what critics have done to stalker and K Williamson and the actors who give back and are good people. See recent article People magazine. We viewers love this show and gives tips to avoid being stalked. I however do not agree with scenes burning people alive’ Otherwise best new show on TV and deserves a network like TNT, A&E or FX.

Tailspin

In what world and why do critics thing they can talk endless, baseless shit with zero response from creators? This is mind-boggling. I don't understand the point of view or, honestly, the point. Review the work. It's obviously personal to the creator. If it's not, that's a problem. The job of the critic is to at least try to make it objective, to the extent that that's possible, which can be debated. And if it's not, given this level of discourse and quality of writing, your opinions are as worthless or valuable as anyone else's. Sadly, Sam, pieces like do nothing to prove the contrary.

EB

It's not that I think KW was less mature in his responses, he was just less creative. I would never have responded that way. The most creative retaliation is the smartest retaliation.

Bill (or Dave)

Not entirely sure at which point you believe Kevin Williamson to be the "least mature". He's pretty funny here, far's I can see, and I'm not a fan of his by any stretch of the imagination.

Chris

Stopped watching the Following. The Stalker pilot was just as exploitive. Not a Williamson fan.

But Twitter has really brought the worst out in TV critics. The majority of them aren't nearly as funny, smart, and definitely not as important as they think they are. Most of them don't even listen at the TCA's — they're too busy tweeting snark. And others (Sepinwall being the biggest example) are easily co-opted by smart showrunners who know how to stroke them.

Toby

It's difficult to figure out what is more soul crushing? There is the program that depicts a violent act occurring to a woman. There is the critic whose responses seem predicated in the belief that one show should be held up as punching bag for the many programs that indulge viewers who eat this crap up. There is the show's creator who is unwilling or is that unable to debate the critic. There are the critic's critic friends who play pile on in that way critics tend to. What I don't see is a dialogue of any substance.

Williamson and VanDerWerff represent the nadir of a conversation between a creative mind and a critic. Of course, Williamson is not much a creative mind and VanDerWerff is not much of a critic. Both men engage their audience in the same way disguising a lack of depth and intellectual curiosity behind smoke and mirrors. Williamson's revisionism of tropes are as feeble as VanDerWerff's attempts at analysis. If you want someone to give a simplistic program the appearance of some complexity, Williamson and VanDerWerff are your guys.

That is where this discussion becomes particularly grueling. Williamson is clinging to the appearance of his show being more than exploitation while VanDerWerff is playing to an audience that thinks these tweets offer insight. Both are insufferable no matter how much pals of either try to sell us on one or the other being some great champion for their job. That is why they should work together. Both are tenacious in their pursuit of superficiality.

DougW

I think "If you don't like it, change the channel" is the weakest response a creator/showrunner can make. The idea of making a series is to have people watch it. If everyone changes the channel, you're off the air in a week.
I've seen the 3+ minute trailer CBS released for "Stalker" and I'm concerned about copycats to the gasoline & matches sequences. Years ago there were copycats to similar scenes in the film "Fuzz." I hope Kevin and CBS consider replacing those scenes with something less horrific and less simple for people to emulate.

John

I'm having trouble understanding the backlash. Granted, I have not seen the show, and probably never will. I no longer have a television because I don't want to be innundated with homogenized programming, and I think that's why I don't understand the pushback against this show. How is it any different than other shows that revolve around cops and criminals? Two good looking cops tracking down villains is nothing new, and although I'm sure this show is terrible, I have to side with the creator on this–if you don't like it, change the channel. Entertainment, for better or worse, is about placing you time in the hands of another, and it seems counterintuitive to me to want entertainment with stipulations attached. It's our reaction to the input that matters, not the input itself. This guy is simply telling stories, like so many other people, and I think the better question to ask is why, in a world full of so many stories like this, are we singling it out? An even better question is why, in a world full of stories like this, don't we focus more on what the creation of shows like this say about our society as a whole?

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