You can ask anyone, I’m not that big on TV. As it is, I had to add a “Television” category to the blog just now, because I really don’t ever watch it, let alone blog about it. However, I was watching the newest episode of Mad Men on the DVR a little while ago, and I just had to point out the fact that AMC is the best network on Television. I mean, there have been countless other shows that I have watched over the years, but I really never wanted to watch them when they were on, and never used to have a DVR, so I just didn’t watch TV. My free time was propagated by video games and socializing. In more recent years, through a Netflix subscription I have discovered shows that maybe I heard about, but never bothered to watch, and I now believe I was doing myself a disservice. So, without further adieu, here’s 5 reasons why I love AMC:
1. Mad Men
Don’t quote me on this, but I believe that Mad Men was the first original series to hit AMC. Also, because it is the show that is currently playing on the network, I felt it fitting to start with. The show started in 2007, and I remember hearing/reading about it, but that was back when I was firmly addicted to MMOs and didn’t have time for TV. The Mad Men moniker is a combination of “Madison Avenue” and “Ad Men” as the characters are in the advertising business on Madison Avenue. The show is set in 1960’s New York, and focuses on the main character, Donald Draper, who himself is a successful albeit troubled man. His womanizing and alcoholism are on full display, and snippets of his troubled past pop up from time to time. It is a period drama, so if you weren’t alive in the 60’s, things might seem a little strange, but anyone who has studied history or just watched a few old movies should feel right at home. I enjoy the fact that they take their fictional stories and intertwine them with real-world events, much like the movie “Forrest Gump” did. I won’t go any further into the plot twists, but let’s just say that the show will hook you, and keep you hooked. Excellent writing and acting are evident throughout. If none of this interests you, let me give you one last reason to check out the show:
God I’m in love.
2. The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead marries my love of Zombie movies and comic books. I’ve been into the Zombie genre for years, and have a pretty extensive collection of Zombie flicks, but making the concept into a show and stretching out the story with greater detail is amazing. To top it off, the show is based on a comic book that I have since gotten into, and though the storylines are different, the overall feel of the show stays true to its comic book roots. Take any Zombie movie you’ve ever liked, and then stretch it into 13 hours of viewing goodness, and you’ll have the Walking Dead. I started watching this show from the beginning, unlike any of the other shows I have and will be talking about. As soon as I heard about it I was on that shit. I like the fact that the show centers around the main character Rick Grimes, but that all other characters, no matter how attached you may get to them, are subject to death. This is unlike most TV shows, where only supporting cast members pass on. I can’t go into specifics without ruining anything for someone who hasn’t seen the show, but trust me, the drama in the show is addictive and you will not want any particular episode to end.
3. Breaking Bad
The concept of Breaking Bad is simply too good to pass up. A high school teacher diagnosed with cancer and feels that he will die without anything to leave his family, decides to start cooking and selling meth to take care of his family. That’s enough to make anyone go “say what?” From there, you’ll be forever stuck wondering how you missed out on this gem. Breaking Bad is in its 5th and final season sadly, but if you’re caught up, you’ll know they couldn’t stretch this particular story out forever. The acting is superb, the story is fantastic, but it is distracting every time you see the Dad from “Malcolm in the Middle” pulling bad ass gangster shit. I mean, he pulls it off, but I just always see him as that goofy Dad. In an effort to stretch out the show, and probably to continue to help ratings, this final season was split in half, and won’t be returning until summer. I will come back with commentary after this season (and the show) concludes.
4. The Killing
As evidenced by this promo, the Killing comes back this summer as well, in its 3rd season. I remember seeing advertisements for the show but I had missed the original season, so I ended up watching this show on Netflix. I will be recording the new season when it starts. This is the typical cop drama, with some twists and turns that keep it fresh and interesting. I didn’t recognize any of the actors from any other shows, but the main characters do manage to make you care about them, and you care about the family that is the victim of the story. The first two seasons centered around the death of a teenager, and the two detectives that are trying to solve the murder. This upcoming season seems to be focused on a serial killer, as the last case concluded in season 2. Stretching out a single case over the course of a season (or two) is better in my opinion rather than having cases solved in one episode (think Law and Order). I like the attention to detail, and how the writers can throw plot twists at you in every single episode.
5. Hell on Wheels
Another period drama, this time focusing on the transcontinental railroad in the late 1800’s. Hell on Wheels is one of the newer series on AMC, which would have started around the same time as The Killing, as they are both coming into their 3rd seasons. This show reminds me a lot of the HBO series “Deadwood”, although the subject matter is slightly different. “Hell on Wheels” refers to the rolling town that follows the construction of the railroad from the east to the west. It isn’t a town with an address, it’s more like a moving campsite. The main characters are troubled, which is a theme amongst AMC’s series, but this touches on the humanity of us all. The construction of this railroad affects everyone differently, and the way the cast interacts with each other, the environment, and even the Indians who are pissed off at them, seems to be pretty historically accurate. All in all, this series is captivating in that it transports you to a world much like our own, but far removed from anything anyone alive today can remember.
If you aren’t convinced that these shows are awesome, check them out for yourself. All old seasons of each of these shows are available to stream on Netflix (probably other streaming services as well), and you can get caught up and then jump on new seasons as they release. Compared to anything else on TV, there really isn’t any comparison.