Bryan Fuller Continues to Be the World’s Best Showrunner; Ryan Murphy Isn’t Far Behind

When it rains Hannibal related news, it …

… well, you know. Yes, we’re still waiting for the big day when our favorite psychopath will return, but in the meantime, showrunner Bryan Fuller is a little too busy with American Gods. He has officially and completely bowed out of Star Trek:  Discovery, which is certainly that series’ big loss. On the other hand, we know just how fantastic Fuller is when he’s focused on a series, so feel free to expect glorious Godsly things to happen on Starz next year. And, that’s not even why we’re here.

Participating in Variety‘s discussion on the prevalence and excessive rape depicted in television series, Fuller once again stepped up to call bullshit, and reminded that he expressly forbade the Hannibal writers team to employ sexual violence in their scripts.

I personally think that it stains a story, in a way, in that it prevents you from being able to celebrate different aspects of sexuality. America as a country has a very fucked-up attitude regarding sex and sexuality, so there is something [troubling] about the punishing of characters for their sex and sexuality.

“As an adult, as a gay man, looking at my own sexuality and looking at how complicated it is, it’s hard to project a total experience of that kind of story and not be overwhelmed by the reality that this happens every day. It’s hard for me to evaluate as entertainment.”

Fuller’s American Gods writing partner, Michael Green, has an equally restrained viewpoint; presumably the Neil Gaiman adaptation will be a safe space.

For a long time, incest and rape were go-to story points, and I don’t think they’re edgy, they’re just gross. The disposability of it as a plot point is not anything I can engage in. For me, there’s no quicker way to get me to turn off a story. I’m just done.”

With major series like Game of Thrones, The Americans, Downton Abbey, Rectify, Orange Is the New Black, and House of Cards all inserting sexual assault into their storylines — Game of Thrones‘ cavalierly shoving rape into multiple episodes, and defended by cast and showrunners alike — many people are rightfully concerned, and some fans even stopped watching. It’s good to see these discussions ongoing, but it’s even better to have a person like Bryan Fuller flat out saying, ‘Hey, let’s knock this shit off’.

In other news of showrunners who make a difference, today Ryan Murphy received THR‘s Equity in Entertainment award, and he opened his acceptance speech with an apology.

I’d like to tell the women in this room a few things I am guessing no man in your life or in Hollywood has ever said to you lately, or in combination: I am sorry. It was my fault. I could have done better. I am going to do better. And I have no interest in sleeping with you, I just like you a lot.”

Murphy explained that he realized should have a roster of women directors at the ready when, due to illness, the one he’d brought on to do American Crime Story:  The People v OJ Simpson backed out, and he had no replacement for her.

I felt I had failed. I have always had female directors on my shows, but why here didn’t I feel I had a roster of women around me who I could turn this important episode over to? Why weren’t these women on speed-dial? Why did I make the choice that was easier for me, but not for the material, or the world in general?”

In fact, Murphy has created a foundation to mentor LGBTQ, women and people of color, committing to filling at least half of his series’ directing opportunities with minorities and according to THR, has already — less than a year later — employed women as sixty percent of his directorial staff.

How cool are these guys?

Hopefully, with names like Fuller and Murphy leading the way, other showrunners and executive producers will take notice and follow their lead. Maybe even a straight dude or two will take notice and make some changes to the way they do things, eh Benioff and Weiss?

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over seven years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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  • emmalita

    Yes, Bryan Fuller! I am so tired of sexual violence as a plot device. Let’s give it a rest and explore the myriad of other ways people can be shitty to one another.