"Don Draper lived on hard drives for half a decade before anybody paid him any notice. In 1999, Matthew Weiner, then an unfulfilled writer on CBS' Ted Danson sitcom Becker, spent his every off-hour doing research on the 1960s: what people wore, how they decorated their offices, what they ate and drank -" The story of how Mad Men went from a risky pitch to an unknown network to one of the most popular and celebrated dramas of the decade. (Hollywood Reporter) Bonus: Ten Mad Men Characters we need to see again. (Vulture)
Alamo Drafthouse aside, not many movie theater chains have reported increased attendance in the past few years. Large chains have propped up revenues with ticket price hikes, premium concessions and drinks, but the specter of Netflix and other home viewing platforms looms ominously over the industry. Annual ticket sales in the U.S. have declined to 1995 levels from their high in 2002 (although revenues have grown 3.6% annually over the same period, well outpacing inflation). This January, AMC Theaters will begin testing a new business model in partnership with MoviePass, beginning in Denver and Boston. Subscribers can pay $30-45 a month for a membership good for one film per day at any AMC location. The move echoes a 2013 effort to reopen an independent theater in Oakhurst, CA using a member subscription model. Will it be enough to get more film aficionados off their couches and into a theater seat? The jury's still out.
This past Sunday night was the mid-season finale of the popular AMC series, The Walking Dead, and there was much speculation that a character would die. Things took a bizarre turn when AMC posted a graphic to Facebook after the eastern time zone airing that confirmed what happened, effectively spoiling the storyline for viewers in other time zones. [more inside]
The final season of Mad Men (which will take place over two half seasons, a la Breaking Bad) begins airing this Sunday. [more inside]
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
Legendary Mad Men blog "Mad Style" sets out to explain Bob Benson to a twenty-first century that is apparently ill-prepared to understand him. [more inside]
Mad Men Season 6 (and simultaneous saturation coverage) begins again tonight. As the show winds down, along with the decade that defined it, the 1960s, critics are wondering "What's the best ending for the best series on TV? Can it survive the onset of the 1970s?"
Mad Men + Mean Girls = Mean Mad Men.
Mope-rock titan Mark Eitzel (former frontman of American Music Club) gets some constructive criticism of his excellent new LP Don't Be A Stranger from "America's $1 Funnyman" Neil Hamburger. This is the sixth video of Eitzel's Life Lessons video series where he solicits career advice. After having a reformed AMC crumble after two great albums last decade, as well as suffering a heart attack in 2011, it's a treat to see Eitzel's fit and working again.
The Breaking Bad Art Project is on exhibit at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles through August 26. [more inside]
"[T]he only real way to do it is to tell an honest human story, but to do it in a way that people feel like they haven’t seen before."
A fascinating interview with Vince Gilligan, showrunner of Breaking Bad. The questions are as excellent as the answers.
This points to that quality of improvisation with the work you’re doing. In a traditional crime show, like “CSI,” if it were a big band, it’s a big band working off charts. The arrangements are very tightly controlled. And what I sense with “Breaking Bad” is a sense of, I don’t know, “John Coltrane on acid.” You have this sense of improvisation where you go with things you know, where you tell the story the length it needs to be told. You’re inspired collectively by a moment and you decide to go deeper into that moment. You’re in essence leading a parallel life with your characters and letting those characters take you where they want to go — not necessarily where the dictates of commercial convention say they have to go.Meanwhile, Alan Sepinwall asks actors Bryan Cranston (2) and Aaron Paul about some of their most iconic moments on the show. [more inside]
Sympathy for Gus: Giancarlo Esposito talks 'Breaking Bad' (Here be spoilers). [more inside]
AMC's Hell on Wheels is an upcoming series created by Joe and Tony Gayton, centered around the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. Joe: "I think what a lot of people think of when they think about the Transcontinental Railroad is the contribution of the Chinese immigrants." "But, it’s just so American". So the show focuses on railroad construction from the East, and the Chinese laborers story? They "ended up getting excised". [more inside]
A few nights ago, AMC aired the final episode of the first season of the formerly critically acclaimed television series, The Killing. Based off of the highly regarded Danish television series Forbrydelsen, the show centered around two homicide detectives investigating the murder of a seemingly innocent high school girl in Seattle. Heavily marketed with the tagline "Who Killed Rosie Larsen?", the show's finale sparked a nearly unprecedented degree of outrage among television critics, with some going so far as to call it "the worst season finale of all time." [assume SPOILERS in all links and below the fold] [more inside]
The success of The Walking Dead, paradoxically, has left the network with an unusual dilemma. Like the executives of Mad Men’s Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, AMC is facing an existential question: How do I grow my business without sacrificing who I am? The Zombies at AMC’s Doorstep. TL;DR version: How AMC Explains the Brutal Economics of Cable Television
After some tough negotiations, AMC and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner have come to an agreement to resume production on the series, which has been renewed for two - and possibly three - more seasons.
DUI? Dealing Drugs? Better Call Saul! Have you or someone you know been affected by the tragedy of Wayfarer Flight 515? SAUL CAN HELP! Also related: Check out Saul's philanthropic causes. [more inside]
"Bikinis! Monsters! Motorcycles! Welcome to BMC, your new go-to site for B-movies by the likes of John Carpenter (Dark Star) and Roger Corman (Saga of the Viking Women). Now online and in full screen, watch unsung classics like Asylum by Psycho screenwriter Robert Block or Corridors of Blood with the inimitable Christopher Lee. Want to see international icons before they made it big? How about The Ruthless Four, a spaghetti Western starring Klaus Kinski."
AMC's Mad Men is the best show on telivision that no one is watching (now that The Wire has ended), it's the most adult, most stylish, best written show on television at the moment. And we say "adult" in the sense that it's subtle and complex, not in the "there's a lot of sex" sense (although there's plenty of sex).. Here is some outstanding in-depth analysis of the first episodes of season 3 (spoilers aplenty).
What a great TV night! The Wild Bunch on Encore followed by The Searchers on AMC. I have a sixer of Guiness and a sixer of PBR in the fridge, so before tonight is out, I'm sure I'll have an urge to put on a cowboy hat, mount up and shoot me some varmints. All kidding aside, some nights the TV gods just seem to smiling down on me.
AMC to add commercials? American Movie Classics, a cable TV channel which has for sixteen years been showing classic films without commercial interruptions, is considering adding commercial breaks to movies as early as this year. (The channel already shows commercials before and after movies and in its documentaries, but until now has kept the movies themselves intact.) If you're a movie buff and are distressed by this possibility, let AMC know about it. (Personally, I think this is a bad idea, if only because it will likely cost them lots and lots of viewers.)