Monday, July 19, 2010

AMC: Story Matters Here

I've been thinking about the upcoming Emmy Awards (when I'm not thinking about the meaning of Inception, of course; I'm telling you the more I think about it the more it blows my mind, overenthusiastic reviews and inevitable backlash be damned!). Mad Men and Breaking Bad have earned Best Drama Series nominations for two straight years, meaning during that period AMC's series are batting 1.000 in that category (nominations and wins). I've had the opportunity to (finally) see episodes from both series recently, and I can honestly say I wish there was some way I could catch up on both shows without shelling for the DVDs. Curse you, AMC, why can't you be on Hulu like almost everyone else?
Well, now AMC is looking for more glory with two new, very different series. The first is Rubicon, a government conspiracy series set to debut in August. From the commercials I've seen, it seems like a classier, more subtle 24 (and I liked 24). And it seems poised to be AMC's third major hit, which is just what the network needs. Is it possible that AMC could one day dominate this category, in a way that HBO did once upon a time? I doubt there will be total domination, but you never know, they're on a great winning streak (and by the way, how weird is HBO's luck in this category as of late? Nothing in 2008, Big Love last year, and True Blood this year. Oh the times they are a-changin'....).
The series I'm really looking forward to, though, is The Walking Dead, based on the graphic novel and set to debut in October. I have to admit that zombies are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me: I really enjoy zombie movies, and I loved Max Brooks' World War Z novel; it's probably one of the most global, well-paced, intriguing books I've ever read. I think it probably has something to do with how zombies can be used as metaphors, rather than love objects like vampires. And The Walking Dead has a great premise: it focuses on a group of survivors trying to make sense of a zombie apocalypse. If we're lucky, it won't span the globe, like Flashforward did with its blackout premise, but will rather stay focused on this one group. Because, let's be honest, when something like that happens, are we really going to expect a single group to travel to every part of the world to uncover the reason why it all happens? Of course not. There's no footage of the show available yet, but it's supposed to be very bloody. The Walking Dead probably won't be Emmy bait, but then again, True Blood nabbed a big one, so who really knows, right?
So what do you think? How much AMC do you get to watch?
PS In other cable news, Damages was bought by DirecTV, who have order two more seasons of the show. I don't really know how I feel about this; yes, DirecTV rescued Friday Night Lights from the oblivion of cancellation, and Damages is one of television's best-reviewed shows, there's a vital difference between the two: where FNL aired again on NBC after the DirecTV run, Damages will only be shown on DirecTV. That's a really good way to isolate your audience. And stop me from ever being able to get into the show. I also have to wonder: how will FX fair now that it's flagship award-getter (Rescue Me was never an Emmy favorite) is gone? Sons of Anarchy and Justified seem poised to step up for the drama category; which one will rise to the occasion?
PPS I meant to see Winter's Bone tonight, but fate intervened with a clogged water drain in my apartment. Hopefully tomorrow will go better.
PPPS Public Service Announcement: AMC and FX, get on Hulu. Please and thank you.

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