TV fans should be breathing a sigh of relief now that writers have now reached a tentative contract agreement with the studios, and won’t be striking this month.
That’s because almost everyone remembers what happened to some of our favorite series during the 2007-2008 writer’s strike, which lasted four months and has had a lasting legacy on some classic television. Like last time, the long-term impact on the scripted television currently in development or production would have been notable.
Ten years ago, showrunners walked the picket lines, seasons were shortened, post-production was not overseen and the development of many shows was disrupted. While it’s impossible to say for certain, many fledgling series – like CBS’s “Moonlight,” NBC’s “Journeyman” and Fox’s “K-Ville” – might have made it past a first season had the strike not occurred.
The 2007-2008 strike was extremely important for writers as they fought for the inclusion of new media under guild rules. Writers Guild negotiating committee member Amy Berg noted, without that fight, Netflix/Amazon/Hulu programming would not fall under WGA jurisdiction. But here’s how the shutdown affected four major shows, ranked from least to most tragic.
4. “Breaking Bad”
Without the 2007-2008 WGA strike, the first season of “Breaking Bad” would have been longer… but it would also have led to a very different show. As Kevin McFarland broke down for The AV Club, the intervention of the writers’ strike fundamentally changed the show’s path in a number of ways: The strike shortened Season 1 by two episodes, which means creator Vince Gilligan and the show’s writers tossed out their original ideas for Episodes 8 and 9, and were able to reapproach their plans for Walter White’s journey in Season 2.
“We’re building more slowly than we otherwise would have built” is how Gilligan described the development of Season 2 to Creative Screenwriting, something that became one of the series’ greatest strengths. In Season 2, the show discovered its full powers, beautifully constructed as a complete narrative that still sets up plenty of action for future years of story. Ultimately, the strike definitely had an effect on the show, but it wasn’t as harsh as others.
Click on page 2 for the rest of our ranker of shows impacted by the 2007-2008 strike.