American TV Classics: The Best Shows on AMC

Premium cable networks like HBO and Showtime used to have a monopoly on small screen storytelling, but ever since the basic cable channel American Movie Classics (AMC) branched out into producing television shows, they’ve been giving their subscription-based competitors a run for their money.

Some of the most critically acclaimed series in the last decade were produced by AMC and can be enjoyed by anyone with a basic cable package. Here are the 12 best AMC shows that are just waiting to be binge-watched.

Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad is widely considered to be one of the best shows to ever grace the small screen and Bryan Cranston’s Emmy award-winning portrayal of a mild-mannered science teacher turned drug kingpin is nothing less than captivating.

Created by Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White, a family man whose cancer diagnosis forces him to cook and sell meth in order to support his family and pay his medical bills. What unfolds is a six season long epic tale of a good man’s decent into the criminal underworld and his transformation into a complicated, and at times despicable, anti-hero.

Critics and audiences went so wild for Walter White that AMC green lit the spin-off series Better Call Saul before Breaking Bad had even ended.

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Better Call Saul

Despite being very different from its parent show, Better Call Saul manages to scratch the itch we were left with after finishing Breaking Bad while also carving out its own place in the realm of great TV.

Starring Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul shows us Saul Goodman before the sleazy billboards and cheap commercials, when he was just Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer who champions underdog clients while employing some questionable methods. Alongside Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks returns as the no nonsense “fixer” Mike Ehrmantraut who delighted us so much in Breaking Bad. But the real stand out performance comes from Michael McKean in the role of Jimmy’s shut-in and mentally ill older brother Chuck.

Image via TV Overmind

Mad Men

On the surface, this award winning seven-season masterpiece depicts the highs and lows of Madison Avenue ad execs in the ‘60s, led by the impossibly suave hero Don Draper who is played by the impossibly handsome Jon Hamm. But in the subtext of this brilliantly penned show, it’s the story of a man coming to terms with both his own checkered past and the immense social changes brought on by the present.

Aside from the superb cast, poignant writing and masterful direction, Mad Men‘s vintage costumes and sets inspired a mid-century revival in everything from men’s clothing to home cooking to decor. Honestly, who didn’t start ordering Manhattans more often after being introduced to Don Draper?

Image via Good & Co

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