One of the bright spots of last Sunday’s very dull Golden Globes news conference was AMC’s Mad Men winning BOTH of the Globes for which it was nominated: Best TV Drama and Best TV Actor in a Drama for MM’s lead – Jon Hamm. Mad Men was AMC’s first foray into original drama, and folks, they hit it out of the park. Of course, I knew I’d love it… how could I not? As readers of “Married to the Media” know, I waited anxiously for its premiere, watched every episode, recapped them here, and sold as many friends and colleagues on the show as I could get to listen to me. (Anyone who’d like to peek into the MTTM archives can learn about or catch up on MM via my recaps from last summer.)
Now, AMC brings us their second original hour to help carry us through the long wait until the writers, summer, and Mad Men return. Breaking Bad, is a black comedy starring Malcolm in the Middle’s Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher struggling with middle age, questionable health and shaky family finances in a bleak New Mexico suburb.
The premiere episode, which will air this Sunday at 9 CST/10 EST, opens to a scene of a Winnebago careening off-road through the desert driven by a man in tighty whiteys and an apron. We learn through a series of flashbacks that this man is Walter, and that tired of struggle and malaise and driven by some bad news and a landmark birthday, he has decided to take his gift for chemistry in a new and more lucrative (albeit quite dangerous) direction.
I went to a viewing of the pilot last week with several thoughts:
“Thank God, somebody has something new we can watch and buy.”
“Let’s see what AMC has come up with this time.” - and -
“ I could sure use a topic for next week.”
But as I looked around the room at the others watching intently, I realized how fast that 45 minutes was flying by. When I walked out, I knew I needed to know what happens next… to Walter, to his family. The show is edgy in that way only cable shows can be. It’s sad and funny and edge- of-your-seat exciting all at once. Give it a go, and give me your thoughts.
AMC just might have gotten lightning to strike twice.
Note: Seven episodes of “Breaking Bad” are produced and set to run as it stands today. Encore episodes of Mad Men begin running on AMC on January 21.