AMC is a network that’s been home to some of the best TV shows of all time. Offerings like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead made it into a proving ground for some of the innovative and interesting series ever made, garnering massively loyal audiences along the way. Both Breaking Bad and Mad Men are all wrapped up and off the air now though, leaving TWD as the last of AMC’s “Big 3″ of smash hits. In the wake of this, the network has done all they could to continue capitalizing off its beloved properties. Spin-offs like Fear the Walking Dead and Better Call Saul have found mixed results, with only the latter of the two really managing to stand apart as a long-term property.
For AMC’s next generation, it’s clear the network has realized the need for an evolution past its original trio of hits. It’s now beginning to break new ground on genres it’s never explored before, delivering some truly innovative ideas with a whole lot of potential. After failing to recapture the heavy drama of Breaking Bad and Mad Men with similarly cerebral shows like Low Winter Sun and Rubicon, AMC has opted to make a sharp left into something different. With that, here are the shows proving the network’s ready for a change, as they venture into the world of Westerns, sci-fi, and beyond.
Adapted from a Swedish series, Humans tells the story of a society where servile humanoid robots are as common and pervasive as iPhones. The show wrapped up its 8-episode first season this last August, and has already been picked up for second season airing in 2016. Throughout its initial run, it explored themes of humanity, technology, and more, garnering a sizable audience both in the United States and in Britain. On the British network Channel 4, it even became the station’s highest-rated drama since 1992.
More than anything, Humans represents AMC’s first foray into true science-fiction, going far beyond the decidedly more reality-based feel of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Even with some criticism labeling the show as par for the sci-fi genre, it’s still a necessary step into a much wider universe for the network. TV needs more good science-fiction, and Humans gives us exactly that.
2. Into the Badlands
Into the Badlands takes its cues from Humans, and builds an even richer sci-fi universe in line with something we’d see in shows like Firefly. The basic story follows Sunny, a trained warrior serving one of five Barons that rule over a steampunk-esque wasteland. Early viewing shows us a series that blends the kung-fu elements of Crouching Tiger with a classic Western appeal. The end result is something unlike anything else you’ll find on TV. In the hands of AMC’s skilled creative minds, Into the Badlands has the potential to lead the charge for the new age of the network.
It only seems natural to delve into the world of comic books as part of the latest run of new shows, and that’s exactly the role that Preacher will serve for AMC when it debuts in 2016. The series is based on a DC comic by the same name, following the exploits of a jaded preacher with mysterious powers he uses to vanquish evil. Based on the early trailer, it looks like an interesting mix of the quiet sensibilities of AMC’s dramas, mixed in with a decidedly comic book appeal. If Humans and Into the Badlands covers the network for sci-fi and Westerns, Preacher is worth watching if for no other reason than to combine elements of both.
Not to be outdone by sci-fi and comic books, Turn takes us into the territory of American history, as the true tale of our country’s first spy ring that came to life during the Revolutionary War. Starring Jamie Bell as our main spy, it provides us with a story of our nation’s birth from an angle we know all too little about. The show’s already two seasons in, having found a fair amount of success as AMC’s strongest period drama since Mad Men went off the air. Set to the backdrop of America’s war for independence, it rounds out four shows that officially are ushering in AMC’s innovative new direction.
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