It seems impossible to imagine, but in two more episodes we’ll say good-bye to Walter White and Breaking Bad and next season will be the last for Donald Draper and Mad Men. The two shows elevated AMC to a near-HBO level of popularity and broke ground for shows that have followed like The Killing, Hell on Wheels and, the most popular show on cable, The Walking Dead. Those are two giant holes to fill and, hopefully, AMC is up to the task. They’ve announced a stand-alone, spin-off of The Walking Dead that will be set in that universe independent of the comic and the Breaking Bad spin-off “Better Call Saul”. Neither has me very excited. The Walking Dead burned a lot of my good will in the back half of last season by ruining one of the best characters in the comic, but it’ll still pull in huge numbers.
Mad Men and Breaking Bad, though, are probably the two defining dramas of the last decade, so you can’t replace them so much as you hope to survive their absence. It’s going to be weird not having alcohol-drenched meetings, horrible Draper decisions and sad-sack Betty to watch. At one point, I heard they were planning to bring the series all the way to current day, which seemed way too ambitious. I did, and DO, however want a Sally Draper spin-off of the most damaged kid on TV hitting the 1980’s as an adult. That’s your spin-off, AMC! Coke sniffing, shoulder pad toting Sally Draper!
AMC’s official announcement is below. Mad Men’s exit will be carefully scripted with seven episodes in 2014 and the final seven in 2015. That same strategy has been masterful for finishing Breaking Bad (which I’m trying very very hard not to rave about and spoil here), so I can only hope it sends Mad Men off on the same high note.
AMC announced today that the final season of the Lionsgate series “Mad Men” will be expanded to 14 episodes and equally portioned with seven episodes airing in spring of 2014 (“The Beginning”) and the final seven episodes of this iconic series (“The End of an Era”) airing in the spring of 2015.
“This approach has worked well for many programs across multiple networks, and, most recently for us with ‘Breaking Bad’ which attracted nearly double the number of viewers to its second half premiere than had watched any previous episode,” said Charlie Collier, AMC president. “We are determined to bring ‘Mad Men’ a similar showcase. In an era where high-end content is savored and analyzed, and catch-up time is used well to drive back to live events, we believe this is the best way to release the now 14 episodes than remain of this iconic series.”
“We plan to take advantage of this chance to have a more elaborate story told in two parts, which can resonate a little bit longer in the minds of our audience,” said Matthew Weiner, creator and executive producer, “Mad Men.” “The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”
“‘Mad Men’ has had a transcendent impact on our popular culture, and it has played a prominent role in building our Lionsgate brand,” said Kevin Beggs, Chairman, Lionsgate Television Group. “We anticipate a remarkable seventh season thanks to the brilliance of Matthew Weiner, the entire creative and production team, and our tremendous partnership with AMC. We’re all working to ensure that the series will have the kind of powerful send-off it so richly deserves.”
The first half of the final season of “Mad Men” will premiere on AMC this spring.
“Mad Men” stars Jon Hamm, January Jones, Vincent Karthheiser, Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, Aaron Staton, Rich Sommer, Robert Morse, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica Pare and Kevin Rahm.