It looks like AMC is really searching for content. The former home of golden age television drama is once again splitting the final season of one of its landmark shows. Taking a hint from #TeamGilligan the final season of Mad men will be split into two seven episode sections. AMC’s Charlie Collier explains the decision, “This approach has worked well for many programs across multiple networks, and, most recently for us with ‘Breaking Bad,’ which attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second half premiere than had watched any previous episode.” Showrunner and creator Matthew Weiner agrees. He expects the extended down time will provide a chance for episodes to “resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience. The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”
Weiner has done more than enough to earn our trust as an artist. His work on Mad Men has been absolutely extraordinary. The meticulous plotting and spot on symbolism will keep Mad Men on my permanent list of favorite shows. No doubt. I do think that these splits have less to do with artistic integrity than with money and a lack of compelling content on AMC. Low Winter Sun has been met with generally negative critical responses and pretty bad ratings for a show that follows the best hour on television every week. Pair that failure with AMC’s plans for spinoffs of both Breaking Bad and Walking Dead and you get a channel that seems to be desperate to maintain a brand that is quickly slipping away.
I do think it is an effective marketing tactic though. It allows AMC to get quipy and refer to the two part season as “a Seven and Seven.” The success of Breaking Bad’s recent run does make this seem like the right call if AMC is worried about maintaining its viewership. The premiere of the second half of Breaking Bad was the series most highly rated episode up to that point. I don’t think this is going to influence the quality of the show at all. If anything, it will make the last part even better with the extra time. I’m just worried about AMC’s future. One of my favorite channels seems to be deteriorating before my very eyes. Hopefully they can turn things around. What do you think? Is AMC going down the tubes? Can they get back to the top of the mountain? Isn’t waiting a year to see the wrap-up of the Don Draper saga SO ANNOYING? Let’s talk about it over cigarettes and drinks. Bring your best suit to the comments section.