Salon‘s Matt Zoller Seitz (formerly of The House Next Door), sings the praises of AMC, home to Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Rubicon. I watch all of those except Rubicon, which is still languishing on the DVR for the time being. (Now that it’s canceled, unfortunately, I may never get around to uncorking it. This was also the fate of Carnivale.) As for The Walking Dead, it’s seriously overwritten at times — the sisterly pow-wow about fishing at the top of Episode 4 was just embarrassing — but I’ll stick around through the first season at least.
“He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them.“
Sounds like am organizational genius, a master of efficiency…a bit like Lane Pryce, no? Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes gets his arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty, in veteran character actor Jared Harris. I like it. (FWIW, I still haven’t caught the the Moff’s contemporary Holmes reboot for BBC, but I hear good things.)
By way of the NY Times, here’s a map of what Americans are renting from Netflix. Apparently, the Fort Myers military base at zip code 22211 has radically different viewing tastes than the rest of DC, and Manhattan and Brooklyn (but not New Jersey) love them some Mad Men.
“A more interesting measure of the show’s impact is the fact that its title has become a kind of shorthand: you can now talk about a Mad Men skirt or lampshade or pickup line where once you might have used ‘space age’ or ‘Kennedy era’ or ‘Neanderthal.’ But while the show, like its subject, has many surface pleasures–period design, period bad behavior (if you like high modernism, narrow lapels, bullet bras, smoking, heavy drinking at lunch, good hotel sex, and bad office sex, this is the series for you)–at its core Mad Men is a moving and sometimes profound meditation on the deceptive allure of surface, and on the deeper mysteries of identity. The dialogue is almost invariably witty, but the silences, of which there are many, speak loudest.“
“I can start the story fresh, and at the same time there will be all these events that happened in between that will provide additional storytelling energy.” Don Draper’s destination? 1969. Apparently, Matthew Weiner and Mad Men have a five-season, ten-year mission, and will jump a year or so ahead after every season. (As noted here, Season 2 picks up on Valentines Day, 1962.)
Also in TV news, HBO announces its upcoming slate, which includes Treme (“Trah-May“, a.k.a. David Simon in Nola), True Blood (Alan Ball does Southern Gothic), more Curb, a Scorsese project, and — alas — absolutely no Deadwood.
“Knowing that these unsuspecting sexists and bigots sit on the brink of their doom is all part of the fun. It is also perverse entertainment of a sort (Weiner calls it pornography) to watch them smoke like chimneys (including pregnant women), drink like extras from ‘The Lost Weekend’ and eat steak, cheesecake and creamed corn without consequences. Or mostly.‘” In the NYT magazine, Alex Witchel catches up with Mad Men showrunner Matthew Weiner, and teases some aspects of the second season (starting July 27.) “The first season ended on Thanksgiving 1960, and the fact that I knew that the second season picks up [Spoiler] on Valentine’s Day 1962 horrified him.”
Bret? Present. Jemaine? Present. Murray? Present. Good…Everyone’s present and accounted for as HBO renews Flight of the Conchords for a second season (along with more Entourage.) Due to Deadwood, I tried valiantly, but I could never grok David Milch’s puzzling and pretentious John from Cincinnati all that much. And, so far, the much-praised Mad Men and Damages are just filling up DVR space — I haven’t broken into them yet. But, I do love me some Flight of the Conchords these days, and am glad to see Bret and Jemaine getting more run. It’s Business Time.