Showrunners and Twitter have an interesting and occasionally fraught relationship. For a long time, after all, people didn't give much thought to who was steering their favorite TV series -- it took the arrival of the David Chases, Simons and Milchs for many viewers to start paying attention to the creative forces responsible for the shows they loved. And the advent of social media meant that those showrunners, should they so choose, could have access to a direct line to their viewing audience as they watched each new episode and doled out opinions on each development in 140 character bursts -- unfiltered, instant feedback from fans, haters and obsessives.
Some showrunners, like the ones listed below, have taken to Twitter, while others, like the aforementioned Davids, have kept far away (Simon has even posted examples of why he dislikes the medium). Damon Lindelof, the screenwriter and former "Lost" showrunner who has a new series, "The Leftovers," set to premiere this year on HBO, ended up quitting Twitter in October for reasons some felt could be traced to the dissatisfaction with the ABC drama's finale over three years earlier, still being complained about by certain disgruntled fans. Television makes for an ongoing conversation, which some writers and producers choose to participate in and others prefer to stay out of -- below are 15 who do chime in on their current series and on others, and who are well worth a follow.
Bryan Fuller: "Hannibal"
"Hannibal" is such a dark series that you can forget that Fuller is also the creative force behind far more whimsical fare like "Dead Like Me," "Pushing Daisies" and "Wonderfalls." But then you turn to his caps lock-happy Twitter account, where he continually brings some welcome levity to a show that on air can go to some very disturbing places. He retweets fans, surfaces material from his past gigs and presents photos from the set of the NBC serial killer drama that suggest the production proceeds with a considerably lighter state of mind than the series itself.
Andrew Haigh: "Looking"
"Looking" showrunner (and "Weekend" director) Haigh is on Twitter, as is his collaborator, series creator Michael Lannan, both stepping up their efforts as the new HBO series has kicked off. Lannan, who's newer to the social media platform, has been responding to questions and comments about the new HBO series while Haigh's been tracking down reviews, but what's most fun about both accounts is how you can scroll back to the days when the show started shooting, or, in Haigh's case, when the pilot was shooting and when it was picked up to series.
Dan Harmon: "Community"
Harmon has always seemed astonishingly honest and available on social media, qualities that have endeared him to fans while sometimes causing him trouble -- as when he's been ill-advisedly open on his podcast/show Harmontown about his tiffs with former cast member Chevy Chase or the quality of "Community" in the season with which he was not involved. The upside is that Harmon is one of the most forthright TV industry voices on Twitter, discussing his series, carrying on gleeful feuds with other users that sometimes get referenced on air and otherwise offering up jokes that sound like they could come from one of his characters.
Emily Kapnek: "Suburgatory"
Now in its third season, the ABC comedy Kapnek created and runs has expanded from being just a skewering of upscale suburbs into a nicely surreal but emotionally resonant take on teenage angst and the growing up being done by both Tessa (Jane Levy) and her dad George (Jeremy Sisto). With the show's return, Kapnek's been going on to answer questions and respond to comments during the airings -- suggesting people read certain Jackie Collins books, letting viewers know when George will get cleaned up and discussing an episode's music cues.
Kyle Killen: "Mind Games"
"I wrote that show that got canceled and that movie you didn't see," proclaims Killen's Twitter bio. The screenwriter of Jodie Foster's "The Beaver," Killen's the creator of the acclaimed, canceled "Lone Star" and "Awake," two smart high-concept series that attracted praise but not the audiences necessary for their respective networks, Fox and NBC, to keep them going. Killen has a new series, "Mind Games," premiering on ABC on February 25th, with Steve Zahn and Christian Slater playing brothers who solve problems for their clients using psychological manipulation -- a slightly more accessible premise, perhaps. On Twitter, Killen's been teasing out photos from the production, is very responsive and has a refreshing sense of humor about his experiences in TV to date.