Thursday, July 22, 2010

More than Movie Classics

AMC used to stand for American Movie Classics; but like KFC, a while ago they started distancing themselves from the words and just using the initials on their own. In the case of KFC, they didn’t want the negative association that came with ‘fried,’ (or maybe it was Kentucky). In the case of AMC, it wasn’t a negative move, quite the contrary. They did it because they started to offer much more than just movie classics. AMC is now home to, arguably, two of the best dramas on television, Breaking Bad and Mad Men, which has its fourth season premiere this Sunday night.

I came late to the party for both shows but once I started watching them, I was immediately hooked. Before Breaking Bad, I knew Bryan Cranston as the lovable, loopy and hilarious dad from Malcolm in the Middle. His dramatic turn on BB is nothing short of revelatory. His character ,Walt, starts off as a mild-manner high school chemistry teacher who gets a diagnosis of terminal cancer with six months to live. Since he can’t leave much of a nest egg on a teacher’s salary, he uses his chemistry skills to start cooking meth. His transformation from meek and cautious high school teacher, to illegal druggist and even worse is a wonder to watch.

The third season wrapped up in May. So, this would be a great time to order the entire series on Netflix and get caught up.

Mad Men is all about ad men in the early sixties. Series creator Matthew Weiner has gone to great lengths to re-create the look and the feel of the era and it’s all built around the enigmatic Don Draper, a man who isn’t who he says he is, but is probably much better than the original. For the first three seasons, Don was stuck in a bad marriage and worked for a major ad agency. Things have changed in Season Four, which starts on Sunday. Now, Don is divorced and a key partner in a new rogue agency that he started with several co-workers at the end of Season Three. In interviews, Weiner says he is excited about all the changes in the Man Men world and all of the new possibilities. It should make for another great season.

It’s too late to do the Netflix thing, but go to to review past seasons to get caught up.
The season starts this Sunday at 10 PM.

Here’s the trailer for season four: Mad Men

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