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Cable Television Rundown: AMC is the new HBO (Thoughts on Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Mediocrity)

Folks, we've got a problem. DoktorPeace's master thesis (I assume this is what he is doing in Luxumborg, working on this thesis) is this: Qualler Thinks Everything On HBO Is Superior To Everything Else Because It's For What The Quallsack Family Subscribes. Well, Doktor, your thesis is about to be proven wrong! Because, I, Qualler, think HBO is quite inferior to the greatness that is AMC.

Yes, AMC, the network that otherwise shows pan-and-scan censored versions of Air Force One is also the place for the best original programming on television. Breaking Bad completed its third season in June with what I consider the best television season since the fourth season of The Wire. Alternately tense, action-packed, darkly humorous and powerfully dramatic, fantastically acted, with some of the best monologues delivered on a TV show since the master of monologues, In Treatment, it's just a damn great show that fired on all cylinders in season three. And, Rubicon, the political thriller starring The Pacific's James Badge Dale that looks like (in its opening episode, helpfully embedded below) a cross between Conspiracy Theory and the slow burn of Mad Men. Aaaaaand, at this weekend's Nerd Fest Mixed With Hollywood, aka Comic-Con, the "sizzle reel" killed (pun!) for the zombie drama helmed by Frank Darabount The Walking Dead, which premieres in October. So, AMC, outside of the great Mad Men, has a leg up. (Although, in my book, Breaking Bad is already better than Mad Men, but that more highlights how awesome Breaking Bad is.)





Mad Men, of course, returned last night with a great episode, "Public Relations". It featured great writing, great performances, and a revitalized setting, with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce now situated in a very mid-60s style office, and with Don spending a lot of personal time alone in his crappy new apartment while Betty literally shoves marshmallows down poor Sally's throat. AMC, in fact, unleashed a new marketing slogan last night, something about how AMC is the home of the best original stories on TV. AMC, you are correct.

HBO has other competition, too. FX finished an excellent debut season of Justified, is headed toward its third season of Sons of Anarchy, and is currently airing the best comedy on TV, Louie, along with a new season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on its way this Fall. And Lights Out, the new boxing drama helmed by In Treatment showrunner Warren Leight is on its way. Meanwhile, even Dexter looks to be awesome this upcoming year.



Moral of the story: AMC is king, FX is doing well, we like Dexter...HBO, you have some stiff competition.

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  1. Blogger LKc | 3:38 PM |  

    I agree...HBO is barely hanging on w/ Entourage and a few other slowing shows. There's a lot of good random stuff on other channels. I hate to say it, as it's not direct competition, but you didn't mention how well BRAVO is doing with its reality TV as well!

    I missed the first episode of Mad Men on Sunday when my DVR broke...dag!!!!!!!

  2. Blogger qualler | 3:44 PM |  

    Haha, Bravo has excellent reality programming, but I am not the target audience for their shows. But I agree with you, LKc.

    As far as HBO, right now I am extremely bored with their programming, as I'm getting increasingly frustrated/annoyed with True Blood, especially by how it seems like there are a million different boring storylines going on at the same time. I guess the main source of enjoyment would have to be through the werewolves/vampire king of Mississippi stuff, but even that is making me bored. This Comic-Con trailer (http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2010/07/to-live-to-see-great-day-that-dawns.html) makes me a little more optimistic, but just slightly so. And I've given up on Hung and never been too into Entourage.

    But, luckily they have great documentaries and sports programming consistently, the first season of Treme has been quite excellent, as was the Pacific miniseries, and then they have Boardwalk Empire coming very soon which looks to be amazing and Game of Thrones which looks to satisfy my geeky cravings. And, a new season of In Treatment. So, I think their current status will be short-lived -- it can only be as good as the best show that is currently on, and currently I'm not a big fan of True Blood.

    Still, AMC wins with having the #1 and #2 show on television this year (Breaking Bad and Mad Men). Hope you can see MM soon because it was fantastic!!!

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