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AMC Is Overselling Its New Show

With “Breaking Bad” about to start airing its final episodes, and just one season left of “Mad Men,” The New York Times declared that the network that airs both shows is at a “crossroads.” More than just losing two of its most popular shows, AMC will say goodbye to two of TV’s most famous and original anti-heroes. But if the nascent promotional campaign for the network’s new drama, “Low Winter Sun,” is any indication, AMC is desperate to hold onto its monopoly on the prototype.

Today, the banner ad on Vulture teases the final episodes of “Breaking Bad” while simultaneously trying to pull its legions of fans into “Low Winter Sun” with the line: “Good Man. Cop. Killer.” Subtle!

(Some quick Googling reveals this line is not limited to the ad and appears on the show’s poster. So while we may be living in the golden age of the TV poster, this one leaves little room for imagination--unlike the oblique season one poster for “Breaking Bad.”)

Part of Walter White’s appeal (and for that  matter, Don Draper’s) has been his internal demons that the plot shrewdly, and often quietly, pulls at. I admit to not having seen even a full episode of “Low Winter Sun,” but the first five minutes of the premiere were released online today: 

Actor 1: Are you drunk enough?
Actor 2 (who we’ve just seen crying): I don’t think so.

Actor 1: Remember what brought you here.
Actor 2: I’m not a bad person.

And then actors 1 and 2 drown a man. Maybe it's unfair to judge so soon, but the show looks about as subtle as its banner ad and poster.

The aforementioned Times piece quotes a TV advertising exec who says of AMC: “Now a lot of viewers are going to sample whatever they have on. … That’s worth gold in the TV business.” Exactly! No need to try to so hard. The desperation does not bode well and it makes one wonder if AMC is all-too-aware that it doesn’t have another “Breaking Bad” on its hands.