THE hottest American cable shows-A A +A
Of Snapshots & Zeitgeists
Thursday, August 14, 2014
IN LAST week’s column I talked about how America used culture to “conquer” the world and that despite its global decline, it continues to rule the world, or at least the cultural and entertainment aspects of it, through the amazing movies, music, TV shows, games and apps that it churns out in massive doses.
So midway through 2014, here’s what’s hot, what rocks, what are the “must-haves” and “must-sees.” Last week I covered films and music. This week I’ll talk about three television shows that exemplify the best of this year’s “Americana.”
Breaking Bad from the AMC network just ended its five-year run at the top of the cable and TV charts. The series deals with a struggling high school chemistry teacher who has terminal lung cancer. To survive and ensure his family’s financial security, he turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine (shabu).
The series’ mix of crime, the underworld and American suburbia held many of us captive. Thrilling, exciting, dramatic. The story’s twists and turns were simply riveting.
HBO’s Game of Thrones is perhaps the grandest and most ambitious of the latest American exports. Adapted from George R.R. Martin’s book series of the same title, it is a spell-binding series with production values that rival any of the biggest films Hollywood has produced.
I was a reluctant fan of this series, having read all the books from which it is derived. Like many book-purists, I doubted if it could match my imagination and the world I saw in my mind while reading it. Well, it did. And more.
If you’re not familiar with Westeros by now, you’re definitely missing a whole lot of quality time lying down on that couch and bingeing on your Cheetoses and Doritoses (I know, I know those should be plural words unto themselves but don’t they sound nice, anyway?)
Last but definitely not the least is AMC’s Walking Dead. For the past decade, many experts on culture and pop phenomena have been studying this recent fascination with zombies.
They tie it up to our generation’s fear of an impending apocalypse, to our concerns on genetic modifications and to many other things. I simply tie it up to mind-blowing good old fun entertainment. I’ve always felt that the zombie and the unique, weird culture of fandom that it gave rise to was simply silly. But Danny Boyle’s seminal 2002 movie on zombies “28 Days Later” changed all that.
Zombies that ran like sprinters, the strength of supermen and an “intelligence” all their own – it completely got me hooked.
Of all the three TV series (technically cable series) I have mentioned above, this has got to be my favorite guilty-pleasure. It is based on a comic series written by Tony Kirkman and illustrated by artist Tony Moore. Sure it can be dumb and yes sometimes its internal narrative logic goes all awry but who the hell cares? Because once you started the series, you ain’t gonna be able to turn away.
As they say, once you pop you can’t stop.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 14, 2014.