Despite AMC’s rivalry with Dish Network, Breaking Bad netted a record number of viewers for its hotly-anticipated season five premiere. This final season of the hit drama will contain two eight episode sections, and there’s a great deal to pack into these 16 episodes if the creators intend to wrap up the story. It’s unlikely creator Vince Gilligan will leave everything neatly packaged in a bow, though, because so much of Breaking Bad is about subtlety and ambiguity.
Disclosure: I work for the Sundance Channel, an AMC property.
On 1 July, Dish Network subscribers looking for the Sundance Channel, AMC, WE, IFC, and more had to look elsewhere—because an ongoing dispute between parent company AMC Networks and Dish ultimately ended in a contract expiration at midnight on 30 June. The bitter and very public feud dragged on until the last possible moment, but Dish stuck to its position, refusing to renew the contact and continue carrying AMC’s offerings. The two have radically different explanations for the dispute, and both highlight emerging issues in a new media landscape.
AMC kicked off its two week-long Fear Fest event on Sunday night with the hotly anticipated season two premiere of The Walking Dead, the zombie apocalypse hit that’s been released to critical acclaim almost across the board. A record 7.3 million viewers tuned in for the airing, setting a new benchmark for cable dramas. I can only conclude it got such high ratings because 7.3 million people fell asleep before they had a chance to turn off their televisions, felled by sheer boredom.
This review contains spoilers. The author doubts that this will matter to anyone by now, but you’ve nonetheless been warned.
AMC’s newest show, “The Killing,” ended on an infuriating note last night. The drama, a whodunit that covers the investigation into teenager Rosie Larsen’s murder ended its season without giving us much information, frankly, about whodunit. And this would’ve been irksome but innocuous if not for the network’s manipulative advertising. AMC ran a “suspect tracker” on its show site for the season’s duration, promising to enter those who correctly guessed the killer’s identity in an iPad drawing. Except that viewers didn’t learn the identity of the killer in the season finale.
And the show ends with a bit of a cliffhanger in the last two minutes, or at least an attempted cliffhanger. But if anyone maintains interest in the iPad contest, let alone the outcome of the mystery, when Season 2 premieres in a year, I will be very surprised indeed. This show started with a strong pilot that garnered near unanimous critical acclaim. But it went downhill quickly, and I’ve never seen a show alienate viewers and critics with such haste.