Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The Flintstones was the ultimate warning about cohesive writing
The second season of HBO's True Detective has not received kind reviews, but in defense of its creative ambition, it is the singular product of creator Nic Pizzolatto. He has almost exclusive writing credit for the series, and for better or worse, it undeniably carries his signature. That's a rarity in commercial film and television production, where rooms of writers edit each other's work down into something slicker. This often results in better scripts, but too many participants can create a tonally confusing work.
That was certainly the case for the John Goodman-fronted The Flintstones, which legendarily had over 35 screenwriters. Den of Geek recently dug into the convoluted history of this committee-driven disaster, and the tale serves as a lesson in terrible writing practices. After roughly a decade with at least six total overhauls and two directors, the final product bore so many contributions that the Writers Guild of America had to rewrite its rules when the studio only credited three names. At least one writer doesn't even recognize their additions anymore.
Though both were disliked, True Detective and The Flintstones may be polar opposites. One failed for indulging a single author; the other floundered from the chaos of dozens. Pick your poison.