When we first met Abraham Woodhull, the saddest cabbage farmer in all of 1776 Long Island, earlier this year, he was suffering through the psychological discomfort of sitting on the political fence while his childhood friends took up arms for the patriot cause against the garrison of British soldiers in his hometown of Setauket. Ben Talmadge was a Connecticut Dragoon officer. Caleb Brewster had gone underground to disrupt British operations. And Anna Strong, the woman Abe gave up to marry his dead brother’s fiancée, was likely spitting in the redcoats’ whiskey as she served them at her husband’s pub. Slowly, Abe became the key player in what became the Culper spy ring, the secret New York intelligence operation that George Washington relied on to conduct his war strategy. But though he’s a valuable asset, Abe mostly has been a lover, not a fighter. Despite his resurgent passion for Anna, he’s perceived by most as an upstanding family man — a conflicted husband, a devoted father, the son of the town’s most prominent Loyalist — and in the season premiere, when he was suspected of murder, he could honestly claim that he’d never killed anyone before. Well, not anymore. READ FULL STORY
Tag: AMC (1-10 of 32)
Since rebranding itself as a prestige TV showcase with the launch of Mad Men in 2007, AMC has hosted its share of critical gems (Breaking Bad), popular hits (The Walking Dead), and forgettable duds (Low Winter Sun). But its most recent series — The Killing, Hell on Wheels, and Turn — have failed to break out — so there’s some additional pressure on Halt and Catch Fire, which premiered Sunday night.
Set in 1983, the show revolves around Lee Pace’s Joe MacMillan, a dynamic former IBM executive who wants to build a fledgling Dallas-based computer company into an outfit that can go toe to toe with Big Blue. One of the drones in the Dallas office is Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), a “misunderstood genius” whose brilliant vision has earned him nothing but a cubicle and a drinking problem. Together, with the help of Cameron (Mackenzie Davis), a pretty programming punk, they set out to reverse-engineer the IBM PC and mass-produce their own rival product.
The premiere had a lot of information to sift through, characters to establish, and techno-speak to spoon-feed, so it might take a few episodes to determine whether Halt is a keeper. But it’s clear that creators Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers have studied what works and what doesn’t, and at first glance, they’ve borrowed generously from proven winners. In fact, it didn’t take me long after seeing Joe and Gordon at work to think, “They’re Don Draper and Walter White, right?” READ FULL STORY
You might imagine that there would be nothing less sexy than a 1980s period drama about the dawn of the personal computer. For one thing, historical accuracy dictates that it’s going to star a lot of white guys with oversized eyeglasses. For another, that kind of story won’t be driven by action you can see, which means there will probably be many scenes where characters sit in front of computer screens, typing furiously, explaining what they’re doing out loud. But Halt and Catch Fire, which premieres Sunday night on AMC, isn’t that kind of show. It actually tries very hard to make the early years of computer programming look dangerous and suspenseful, maybe even hot, if geek love is your type of thing. READ FULL STORY
Remember, remember! The fifth of November, the Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions did the scheme contrive, to blow the King and Parliament all up alive.
In 1605, a Catholic Englishman named Guy Fawkes was arrested and executed for conspiring to blow up Parliament and assassinate King James. His demise was celebrated every November by the British, and 175 years later — after American patriots fell at Concord in the “shot heard ’round the world” and a new spirit of resurrection began to spread — the idea of British infallibility was still unshakeable to many of those shooting fireworks and burning a rebel effigy on Nov. 5, 1776.
In Turn, which picks up months after the British Navy has chased George Washington out of New York, some shady events have unfolded in the backwater Long Island town of Setauket. It can’t be ignored any longer, not after 20 redcoats from the Setauket garrison walked into an ambush in Connecticut, sending many of them home in barrels. Captain Joyce’s murder, which preceded the skirmish, remains a mystery, but Robert Rogers is now on the case since the ambush was punctuated with a pointedly directed middle-finger.
Abe Woodhull has been excused of suspicion in the crime, thanks to his father’s influence, but Rogers isn’t so sure. He at least makes sure to rattle the Woodhulls’ cage when he arrives to investigate the town’s “unusual amount of smuggling, arson, and murder.” (The arson being Abe’s shed full of cabbage by two riders in Guy Fawkes masks.) READ FULL STORY
A popular and comforting misconception of the American Revolution is that aggrieved American patriots united to take up arms against British redcoats, and that a new nation rejoiced as one after finally throwing off the yoke of tyranny in 1783. In fact, our war for independence was a civil war that divided families and neighbors — Ben Franklin’s son was a devoted loyalist, for example, and thousands would flee the colonies after America’s victory. Another substantial segment of the population tried to straddle the fence — switching sides depending on whose troops were closest that day.
That’s the background for AMC’s new Revolutionary War spy drama, Turn, which set the tone by declaring, “Insurgents have declared war against the Crown.” In other words, we are the traitors. It’s autumn 1776, and revolutionary fervor has subsided in Setauket, Long Island, a few months after the Declaration of Independence. George Washington’s troops were just spanked by the British in New York and chased into New Jersey with their tails between their legs. A quarter of Manhattan burned during the American’s panicked withdrawal, with some accusing Washington of sparking it intentionally. Maybe all this “give me liberty or give me death” talk was a little premature, huh, Founding Fathers? READ FULL STORY
Death is a constant fact of life for the characters of The Walking Dead — but especially on season-finale episodes. In season 1, Jacqui elected to die in the CDC explosion; in season 2, Shane died twice in the penultimate episode before the zombies overran Hershel’s farm in the finale; and last season, Andrea was the season-ender’s biggest casualty. With the final episode of season 4 set for this Sunday, none of the characters who’ve reached or will soon reach the promised oasis known as Terminus should start making long-term future plans. Dead producer Robert Kirkman has already warned us that the finale is going to be shocking, and EW’s Dalton Ross has already mentioned his leading candidates for dead-man-walking.
So clearly, someone is going to die. The big question is, will it be someone we just met this season, or will it be someone from the core pack — perhaps even someone we’ve known since season 1? Darren Franich and Jeff Labrecque spitballed the possibilities, made totally irrelevant references, and completely exposed their ignorance of gambling culture. Humor them.
The story of Mad Men is as much about the transformation of its characters as the changes that took place in 1960s America — not to mention the storytelling revolution of modern television. As the iconic AMC drama prepares to enter its seventh and final season, Time TV critic James Poniewozik examined the broad significance of Mad Men for the magazine’s latest cover story. Here’s his take on why we’re mad about the show.
It’s easy to envy a guy like Don Draper (Jon Hamm) — on the surface, at least. But the tailored suits and beautiful apartment and gorgeous women are just selling points in the broken ad man’s personal marketing campaign.
“I’m always surprised when people are like, ‘I want to be just like Don Draper,'” Hamm tells Poniewozik. “You want to be a miserable drunk? You want to be like the guy on the poster, maybe, but not the actual guy. The outside looks great, the inside is rotten. That’s advertising. Put some Vaseline on that food, make it shine and look good. Can’t eat it, but it looks good.”
Matthew Weiner has once again shrouded the new season of Mad Men in Soviet-level secrecy, disallowing cast members from saying anything more specific about their roles on the show beyond “I am still on Mad Men” and “Please redact my previous statement.”
But as the show prepares to unveil Season 7A, the veil has lifted ever-so-slightly. Last week, AMC released a preview, which showed Don disembarking from an airplane, very slowly and mournfully. “Jesus, maybe it’s a metaphor!” we all thought. “Or maybe it’s an homage to Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2,” some of us thought. “Don is the Yellow King!” screamed your friend who proved that True Detective and Mad Men were set in the same universe, and had the GIFs to prove it.
However, new photos from the season have just been released, which strongly imply that “airplanes” aren’t just the subtext of the season: They might actually be the text. The photos show various Mad Men cast members hanging out in various stages of the air travel process, experiencing a variety of emotions running the gamut from “abstract befuddlement” to “meanderous ambivalence” to “existential perambulation.” But they’re all doing it while air-traveling! Let’s take a look, shall we?
WARNING: Spoilers ahead. Do not read if you have not seen The Walking Dead!
Discuss Sunday’s episode below! Here’s a breakdown of what went down during the fourth midseason finale… READ FULL STORY
During AMC’s ongoing marathon rebroadcast of the Breaking Bad series, I caught the episode “Salud” and found myself wondering something strange: Walter White has cancer — but does he also have Huntington’s Disease?
Toward the end of the episode (while recovering from an impromptu beating at the hands of Jesse), Walt tells Walt Jr. that his father suffered from that very condition, rapidly declining in the hospital until his death. It’s clear that Walt’s childhood memory of his father’s body slowly disintegrating still haunts him. He admits that he can still hear the man’s labored breathing, a “rattling sound like if you were shaking an empty spray paint can—like there was nothing in him.” Certainly, this could be another of Walt’s lies. But this story seems real.
The children of people with Huntington’s Disease have a 50 percent chance of getting the gene for the disease, though Walt insists that he was screened as a child and came through with clean results. Whether he’s bluffing about that detail isn’t clear, especially since so much of what he tells Junior isn’t true. Either way, symptoms don’t usually begin until mid-adulthood, and now that he’s in his 50s, Walt certainly seems to suffer from some of the classic ones. Obviously, I’m not a doctor. But a few things on the checklist stand out, especially since this is a fictional show in which every tiny detail serves a narrative purpose. Behavioral disturbances? Well, we do often see Walt wandering around in his underwear. Irritability and moodiness? That pretty much defines Heisenberg’s hot-tempered decisions and sudden bouts of rage. Restlessness or fidgeting? Think back to “Hermanos” and “Buried,” with their close-up shots of Walt’s fingers twitching. (Of course, maybe he was just foreshadowing Gus’ death, since Gus’ middle finger twitched, too.) Odd grimaces? There are so many of them. Paranoia? Just remember Walt telling Jesse in “Cornered,” “This whole thing, all of this, is all about me!”
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