It takes a team of people to create a show, but typically one (or two) person’s vision keeps it on point, the showrunner. While they might only direct or write a handful of episodes, they’re still responsible for nearly every detail. If there’s a show you love, it’s thanks to the showrunner. I give to you, my top 5 showrunners.
5. Eric Kripke
Despite what it’s become, Supernatural was a fantastic show. The first five seasons told a thought out story in a thoroughly developed world. Though slow initially, it quickly found it’s footing, with Kripke’s penultimate season telling some of the best stories I’ve experienced. Smartly, Kripke left after season 5, his story told. I wish it would have ended there, as he intended.
4. Shawn Ryan
After working on Angel, Ryan went on to find his niche in grounded cops and robbers dramas. First, he created The Shield, an amazing show that caught me with the first episode. Then, he created the criminally under watched Terriers. He also worked with and taught Sons of Anarchy creator and showrunner, Kurt Sutter.
3. David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Weiss and Benioff have done the impossible. They’ve successfully translated a dense series of fantasy novels (Game of Thrones) for television while making it a mainstream hit. Aside from perfect scripting and wonderful casting, the look and feel of the show is astounding. It was only a few years ago that the Legend of the Seeker was the best TV fantasy had done.
2. Joss Whedon
1. Vince Gilligan
Breaking Bad is an astounding show, largely thanks to Vince Gilligan. While it’s easy to see how he succeeded with one of the best shows, from beginning to end, ever, there’s more subtly beneath the surface. In interviews, he’s described the corners he and the writers painted themselves into. For example, in season 3, when Jesse and Walt were trapped in the RV with Hank outside, they weren’t sure how to get them out without undoing what they had done up until then. While Gilligan is a humble man, he still deserves all the accolades he and his crew have received.
I wanted to include True Detective creator and showrunner, Nic Pizzolatto, but despite the quality of the first season, it’s only one season. Not enough to fairly judge his abilities. Otherwise, that’s my list… yeah.
Who’re your favorite showrunner? Ever heard of a showrunner before now? Comment below!
Had someone else on the list until I realized he wasn’t a showrunner.