American Movie Classics (AMC) has established quite a solid line-up of original programming. Anchored by Mad Men, AMC’s line-up also includes Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and most recently, The Killing.
Mad Men is easily the cable channel’s most talked about and critically acclaimed program in the line-up. Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner originally brought the show to HBO, but HBO declined. Weiner had previously written for HBO’s Sopranos, but apparently that wasn’t enough to get them interested. Showtime also declined to pick up Mad Men. I’ve had my ups and downs with Mad Men, but overall I’ve enjoyed it. It’s definitely slow paced and sometimes nothing happens, but the atmosphere and details keep building in a great way. Season 3 ended big and Season 4 was really solid. Highly recommended.
Breaking Bad’s Brian Cranston said that one of the reasons he signed on to play the role of Walter White was because of his favorable impression of Mad Men. At that point, AMC hadn’t quite established itself as a channel for original programming, but Cranston was so impressed with Mad Men that he felt confident with the network. Breaking Bad, similar to Mad Men, has some slow moments and also features a cast of fairly un-likeable characters. You’re drawn to the characters and you feel the need to follow them, but deep down they are not very likeable people. When this show is good, it’s really good. There are some definite jaw dropping moments. The new season starts July 17th, so catch up if you can.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead was a breakout hit for AMC, with 5.3 million viewers for the pilot episode. The pilot aired on Halloween, which may have helped boost the zombie-themed show’s ratings. The series was developed for TV by Frank Darabont, director of the Shawshank Redemption (great movie), and is based on the monthly graphic novel series The Walking Dead. The first season was only picked up for 7 episodes, but they’re working on a new season.
Based on the Danish TV Series entitled Forbrydelsen, The Killing is AMC’s latest hit. The Killing takes place in Seattle and revolves around the murder of a teenage girl named Rosie Larsen. Each of the season’s 13 episodes depict a day in the investigation and you’re never quite clear who to suspect. Everyone seems a little fishy. There are quite a few similarities between The Killing and Twin Peaks, whether intentional or not. The Seattle backdrop provides a rainy, gloomy feel, much like the woodsy, North Western gloom of Twin Peaks. Both shows revolve around the murder of a young girl and take a look at a wide variety of suspects. There are some more specific similarities, but they would be spoilers and I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone. If you’ve never seen Twin Peaks, you should check out the Definitive Gold Box Edition, which features the entire run of the show.
The second to last episode of The Killing aired last night (at the time I wrote this) and it looks like things are narrowing down to a single person, but nothing is ever clear cut on this show. The finale airs on Sunday June 19th and I’m definitely eager to see how it turns out. If you don’t get AMC you can check the library catalog in a few months for the dvd.
Tommy M likes TV. Maybe too much? Hmmmmm. Maybe. Probably.