^^ And yet, for all of that, the back stretch of episodes (specifically 9-13) were significantly more entertaining than pretty much anything else the show has done since the pilot. And it's not due to "significant deaths", but rather a sense of direction and purpose building in the characters.
Only season 3 will truly tell, but I think the show is actually in better hands with Mazzara and Kirkman than Darabont. Kirkman himself said in an interview that Shane was a detriment to the story growing and evolving, because in the end it is Rick's story. Having Shane around pricks up the tension a touch, but holds Rick back. Removing Shane was the biggest and best move the show could have made - and I actually liked him and especially the actor.
What is really frustrating about those finale ratings is that it shows the Execs they were "correct" to cut the budget on season 2. The show's overall ratings on Season 2 were higher than season 1, so the sad truth is: why give the show any more money for season 3?
For all of the annoyed fans complaining about the fact that we spent the vast majority of 12 episodes at the Farm, the ratings didn't reflect it.
Expect to see Season 3 concentrated in one setting too.
Though fans of the comics will know that this will almost be a certainty anyway.
What I am interested in is (barring Lori, ugh) I find the general dialogue writing of the show to be significantly greater than the comic. The characters are harder to like, but I prefer what they say. In fact I had to stop reading the comic because the writing was so damned trite. What the comic does better, however, is the general storytelling, the motivations of the characters. Kirkman to me is a little like George Lucas - nice, fun, big ideas, can't write them for shit.
So, for me, I am hoping to see more of those big Kirkman ideas tailored by Mazzara's writing. And in my opinion, he's a damn fine TV writer.
Still, it's a shame that Darabont couldn't bring his vision to the screen, but I'm not mourning the loss. I'll look forward to his new show, LA Noir AND the new season of TWD.
- re-convert to TWD