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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

About that AMC hype ...

Set your DVR's, folks.

With Sunday's Emmy triumphs probably leading a few clueless TV viewers (like me) to wonder aloud, "What is this AMG channel I keep hearing about?" American Movie Classics is offering a chance to nuzzle closely with its shiny prized ponies -- "Mad Men," (named Outstanding Drama Series, a first for basic cable at the Emmy's), and "Breaking Bad," (starring Best Actor in a Drama, Bryan "Don't Call Me Tim Whatley" Cranston.)

Tomorrow at 3 p.m., AMC will be re-airing the first eight episodes of "Mad Men's" second season. Beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1st, the channel will air the complete first season of "Breaking Bad."

As some TV sites have noted, catching up with "Mad Men" isn't as difficult these days since there's a Season One DVD available and AMC seems to have it in constant "Seinfeld"-ian rotation. However, "Breaking Bad" -- which wasn't remotely on my radar until Cranston's Emmy win -- hasn't been around since its last episode aired earlier this year, and it's not yet on DVD.

I don't know about you, but the description of "Bad" has already piqued my interest: "a cancer-ridden science teacher (Cranston) with a handicapped child and pregnant wife uses his mastery of chemistry to become an unlikely meth kingpin." You still have time to catch up: Season Two begins in 2009.

And since I've also yet to get on board with "Mad Men," I asked fellow Channel Surfer/"Mad (Wo)Man" Malavika Jagannathan -- who recently bought the Season One DVD and has become hooked -- to offer her best pitch.

"Season Two of 'Mad Men' -- the little show that could about ad executives in 1960s Manhattan -- isn't suffering from a creative slump in its sophomore season. The plots continue to be fresh and unpredictable in this fascinating retro-filled drama that unfolds in the booze-lined and smoke-filled halls of the Sterling-Cooper Agency. A cult hit in its first season, 'Mad Men' has been rewarded with critical praise and awards to boot for its witty portayal of the era of transition between the post-war 1950s and the more tumultuous '60s. Watch one episode and you'll quickly realize that it's not just nostalgia driving this show."

Obviously, Emmy voters agreed with MJ. But anyone out there care to give a similarly glowing recommendation (or not) to "Breaking Bad?"

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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