AMC Desperately Splits Final Season of ‘Mad Men’ into Two Parts

By September 17, 2013

Mad Men - Jon Hamm

If there was any doubt that AMC is desperately trying to keep their hit shows alive after announcing spin-offs of both “Breaking Bad” (Bob Odenkirk will lead “Better Call Saul”) and “The Walking Dead” (a companion series will take place in the same universe), there won’t be now.

Following in their own footsteps, AMC has just announced that they have split the final season of “Mad Men” into two parts, much like how they handled the final season of “Breaking Bad” as its currently winding down. We just hope the split doesn’t result in another iTunes Season Pass lawsuit.

The good news is that the split has resulted in an extra episode as the two parts will each have seven episodes. The bad news is that there will be a whole year in between the two halves. The first half, called “The Beginning,” will start airing in the spring of 2014 while the second half, called “The End of an Era” will air in the spring of 2015.

Mad Men - BannerWatch the first five season of “Mad Men” on Netflix Instant now!

Don’t get me wrong, this is a smart move economically for AMC and for the show itself since it gives viewers more time to find the series before it ends, but it also smells of extreme desperation to hold onto one of the last hit shows the network has running before having to rely on all-new original programming. AMC president Charlie Collier says:

“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. 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.”

In the long run, this could make the final season better since the writers are given more time to polish their scripts and finish what they started. Series creator and writer Matthew Weiner says:

“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. The writers, cast and other artists welcome this unique manner of ending this unique experience.”

But at the same time, it’s not as if production was being rushed and there was a concern of not ending the show on a high note. The strongest argument for this split is that “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan has said that the extra time given to them because of their season split made it possible to achieve what viewers are seeing now. We just hope “Mad Men” delivers the same kind of satisfying final episodes that the crime drama has been dishing out.

The split has been a divisive move with some fans glad the series will be around longer with the promise of a tighter storyline to finish the series, while others (like myself) are frustrated with this mostly economical move that just draws out the series so AMC can milk more out of their cash cow before having to rely on their new programs.

What do you think?

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.