Ever since shows about a mob family (THE SOPRANOS) and corrupt cops (THE SHIELD) hit it big, we’ve been seeing a lot of attempts to do other series about anti-heroes. Most of them have been about bank robbers and thieves, and most of them have failed.

But now there’s a new breed of anti-heroes on TV. On WEEDS, we have a housewife who sells pot. On DEXTER, we have a detective who is a serial killer himself. And now comes word  from Variety that AMC is developing a series about a high school chemistry teacher who manufactures and distributes crystal meth.

Pilot script, which previously was set up at FX, concerns a
desperate man who discovers he is terminally ill and tracks what he’s
willing to do to ensure his family’s survival.

AMC execs say
they’re confident that "Breaking Bad," should it go to series, will
have the support of Madison Avenue — in spite of a protagonist who is
both a teacher and a drug maker.

"It will be much more about the
storytelling and the way we handle the material that will make it OK
for advertisers," net exec VP-general manager Charlie Collier said.
"The story is about a guy who turns to a life of crime because he’s
trying to change his life. … In the classic antihero sense, you’re
rooting for him to figure it out."

Rob Sorcher, AMC exec VP of
programming/production, said the network is willing to take more risks
because of its commitment to find "cinematic" series to pair with its
arsenal of theatricals.

Why is it when networks want to be "cinematic," they think it means going very dark? I find it especially odd considering that whenever you hear movie executives talking about dramas now, they’re saying they want projects that are as compelling as the shows on TV… where all the best drama is being done now (and why so much movie talent….writers, director and actors… are migrating to television).

3 thoughts on “Anti-Heroes”

  1. It strikes me as being really, really trick from a business sense, no matter how effective the show is. Since it’s supported by advertisers, you’ve got to wonder about what company would want to support a TV show about a chemistry teacher who sells meth on the side. Hmmm…
    Pfizer? Merck? This show is brought to you by:
    Cialis. If you should have an erection lasting longer than 4 hours…
    Or maybe some PSAs: This is your brain on drugs…
    This TV show about a pot-selling suburban housewife is brought to you by:
    Doritos and Betty Crocker. When you’ve got othe munchies…
    Ah well.
    Anti-heroes are hard to pull off.
    Mark Terry

  2. I think Dexter was a novel, or series of novels, first, wasn’t it?
    And cable does seem to be pretty fearless when it comes to surfing the dark side, doesn’t it?
    Of course, Monk is on cable and that’s fun without being dark, so maybe cable is just plain fearless when it comes to creative risks . . .

  3. I really don’t like the current trend of anti-heroes getting the glory on TV. I guess thats why I am a big fan of the TV show Heroes where we can actually look up to some good guys.


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