Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AMC: Best channel on television

Many television channels lose their bite as the years go on. Channels that once begin with integrity and purpose slowly become hollow shells of themselves. TLC was once the learning channel, now it is devoted to reality shows about huge families or dwarfism (I am sure the fine people at TLC are just waiting for a dwarf family with seventeen kids). Court TV was once the O.J. Simpson network and now it is nothing but derivative reality shows. The list of sold out channels goes on with Syfy Channel, G4, TV Guide Network and MTV. For evidence of a channel currently going through this transformation look no further then The History Channel; which is becoming less about Hitler and more about white trash.

This qualifies as being on the History Channel?

There is, however, one channel that has grown into itself beautifully. It has become the best network on television today. With its original television department still in its infancy, the channel has not only managed to win the best awards in the business but has also dominated them. Through its bravery in creating programing and ability to retain excellence, AMC is the best place to go on television.

AMC (an acronym for American Movie Classics) never seemed like anything else but the poor man's TCM. AMC realized that they could never compete with the amount of class TCM has (Robert Osbourne has to be one of the coolest people ever) and decided to be more broad with their definition of movie classics. No longer showing films of the silver screen, AMC moved more into 80s action film territories. If TCM had the market cornered on timeless classics then AMC will be the "new classic" station.

In 2005 AMC experimented further by broadcasting the show Hustle. Hustle was a BBC program about a group of nicely dressed con artists who help dispense their own brand of justice (the kind of nice guy con artists that you never meet anywhere else but prime time television). Hustle, with all of it's polish, was an interesting choice because it contradicts the whole basis of the channel. Hustle, being a contemporary British program, is neither American, a movie, or a classic by a
ny definition. What it showed was that AMC was interested in televising something besides movies and that AMC had balls enough to put whatever they wanted in their slots.

In 2007 a show would premiere that would become a critical darling and give AMC the class it so desperately wanted. The show was Mad Men and it is as awesome as you have heard. A unflinching and not kitschy look at 1960s America through the prism of advertising and, more specifically, the character of Don Draper. Yes, Don Draper is as cool as you have heard. Don Draper is cooler then you will ever be.

Don Draper: Every man's man-crush.

In the three years that Mad Men has been in the Emmy Awards it has already accumulated 13 wins. Out of those wins are three consecutive Best Drama Awards in a row. Even with a relatively weak season they still managed to beat out Lost in their last season (suck it, Lost). Mad Men has dominated Best Drama ever since it's premiered. While shows such as The West Wing have also won three years in a row, it is important to mention the fact that AMC is a cable network. Cable has never gotten as much respect as networks or pay channels. With pay channels you get the freedom of having whatever content you want and with networks you get guaranteed audiences (in theory). Cable has always been the bastard child of the two, never having the freedom or the popularity of other channels.

Also sweeping the Emmys three years in a row is Bryan Cranston for Best Actor in a Drama series. Dexter fanboys may be crying foul that Michael C. Hall never gets to win. However anyone that has seen Bryan Cranston on Breaking Bad will realize how much he deserves this recognition. Also Dexter is overrated. Playing a cancer ridden, high school science teacher who decides one day to cook meth; Cranston explores a realm of human drama that few people could dream of. Not only does he succeed in this but seeing his work is astonishing. Yes, the dad from Malcolm in the Middle is the best actor today.
Frankie Muniz grew up to race cars in a 20-year-old mid-life crisis. He also has a big head.

AMC also has Rubicon which just recently premiered. As underwhelming as Rubicon is, it still makes for a good show and is better than most other television. Having two out of three masterpieces is still not too shabby. Premiering on Halloween is a new show for AMC called The Walking Dead. Based on a critically acclaimed comic book series, Walking Dead deals with a zombie outbreak in America and how people cope with it. Yes, AMC is making a zombie television series and it is going to be awesome. How am I so sure? Awesome source material plus fearless network plus the adaption being created by Frank Darabont equals what is going to be the best television ever. Frank Darabont helped directed Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist. This man has helped create some of the best movies in recent memory and you don't even know who he is. Shame on you.

There is no accounting for taste, I know that. I also understand the fact that Emmys are not the best gauge towards how good television is. The fact that The Wire has not only never won an Emmy but has also barely been nominated shows how faulty the awards can be (this is, of course, a topic for later discussion). Forget the Emmys then and see for yourself why these shows are the best around and deserve all the recognition they can get.

It's a damn shame The Wire never won.

1 comment:

  1. Breaking Bad is the reason I upgraded my Dish package. It is the best TV ever. Astounding.