Last night's finale of AMC's "Breaking Bad" did exactly what a long-running serialized television drama is supposed to do -- tie up its plot threads and bring the overall story to a satisfying conclusion.
For those of us who have watched AMC's "Breaking Bad" from the very beginning, its finale on Sunday will undoubtedly leave us feeling somewhat adrift, the way the passing of favorite series that conclude at their creative peaks often do. That sadness will quickly turn to renewed interest in finding a new show that will prove similarly satisfying. Critical enthusiasm suggests that new show may be "Masters of Sex," a provocative and profoundly insightful drama that will debut on Showtime on Sunday at 10 p.m., just as "Breaking Bad" enters its final fifteen minutes and the world begins to tremble.
In its Tuesday night debut, ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." was the top-rated program in the 8 p.m. time period among adults 18-49 and the top show of the night among all young male demographics. Meanwhile, Fox appears to have a winner in its creep-show/procedural hybrid "Sleepy Hollow," and the early success of that show is even more impressive because it features characters that are not supported by several ongoing big-budget movie series and dozens of monthly comic books.
The 2013-14 television season has already thrown us a curve: The soft opening Monday night of CBS' handsomely produced thriller mini-series "Hostages," which failed to attract the kind of interest critics and other pundits have anticipated. Given its serialized nature, it is doubtful that "Hostages" will pick up the kind of steam required to survive on a big broadcast schedule if its audience doesn't at least level off during its second episode next Monday, which would make it a mere disappointment rather than an outright failure.
If you haven't seen last Sunday's "Dexter" finale, or if you have yet to binge-watch the show's eighth and final season, you might want to stop reading this column. Frankly, I would suggest you stop watching the show altogether, rather than waste any of your time on its wholly unsatisfying final run. Regardless, there are spoilers ahead -- and you have been warned.
Has there ever been an awards telecast as downbeat as the 65th annual Primetime Emmy Awards? Maybe we should call them the Glummies. It fell to "Modern Family" executive producer Steven Levitan, taking the stage along with his cast to accept the ABC show's fourth consecutive award for Outstanding Comedy Series, to acknowledge the elephant in the room. "This may be the saddest Emmys of all time, but we could not be happier," he said, instantly brightening up the proceedings.
Would it kill the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to increase the number of nominees per category to ten? Perhaps then the television industry wouldn't face a situation like the one it is up against this year, when so many of the actors who gave some of the best performances in comedy and drama series were not even nominated.
The very thought of choosing specific individuals to receive special memorial tributes during an awards show outside of a traditional segment honoring all the gifted people in a certain business who passed away during the previous year strikes me as unwise, if not outright tasteless. One would have to be completely out of touch with reality not to expect a public fuss. That's exactly what happened following a telephone press conference yesterday with Ken Ehrlich, the executive producer of this year's Emmy telecast, during which journalists wanted to know why Larry Hagman, who passed away last November, was not one …
Has any network done as much as AMC this month to change long-held perceptions about how an American television series should be presented and how an established franchise can be maximized without damaging the core property? Consider what AMC has been up to. First came its decision to telecast the final eight episodes of "Breaking Bad" as a mini-season -- a programming strategy that is currently yielding spectacular ratings results and propelling this unlikeliest of hits to the forefront of American popular culture.
In one of those strange circumstances of television scheduling, Fox tonight will premiere the best new sitcom of the season -- and one that many critics have already dismissed as the worst.