While binge-watching has become the hot topic of when it comes to television-watching habits, AMC has other ideas. The cable network has become a bit of an experiment as it approaches a new phase in its lifetime, and its latest practice would make fans of Netflix's all-you-can-watch model starve to death.
AMC has decided to split the final season of Mad Men into two halves airing over two years. The upcoming seventh season, the show's final, will consist of 14 episodes, with the first seven airing in spring 2014 and the final seven airing a year later, in spring 2015. It's similar to what AMC has done with Breaking Bad, whose final 16-episode season was split into two batches of eight episodes each. But this time, AMC has named the two half-seasons ("The Beginning" and "The End of an Era," respectively), so it's totally different, right?
Mad Men fans should at least be kinda happy, because the decision means that Season 7 will get an extra hour; the original season order was only for 13 episodes. But other than that... yeeesh, I don't know. I wasn't a huge fan of splitting up Breaking Bad, which created a disjointed feel between Seasons 5A and 5B (although the condensed 5B has paid off, with one of the series' best seasons yet). Mad Men will be dealing with even shorter halves, which will make it feel like things are ending almost right after they begin. And Mad Men's style serves the slow build, which will be lost when it's chopped off right in the middle. The flip side to this is that the writers will have a lot more time to focus on fewer episodes, and can condense things, which should improve each episode's individual quality. Silver lining, maybe? [UPDATE] According to multiple reports, all of Season 7 will be shot in one production cycle, meaning that the entire season will be shot and completed well before the second half of Season 7 airs. That means everything will be written at the same time instead of two chunks (like Breaking Bad was) and everyone involved will be holding major spoilers for a loooong time. It also means the burden of a 14th episode falls on the writers to complete in the same time it took them to write 13 previously. So bunk to that silver linings, I guess. [/UPDATE]
However, other than prolonging a critically acclaimed show's demise, I can't really fathom a practical reason for what really is two seven-episode seasons. But at least one person has an idea:
This a brilliant way for final seasons of BREAKING BAD and MAD MEN to not compete against each other for the Emmys.— Damon Lindelof (@DamonLindelof) September 17, 2013
What do you think? Can anyone out there defend splitting a season in two?