American Movie Classics, or AMC, is an American cable TV network
that was established in 1984, originally
as a movie channel. Most of the movies it showed in its first twenty years came from The Golden Age of Hollywood
and the years immediately after
, such as Marx Brothers
comedies and film noirs
. Starting in 1993, it began running the annual Film Preservation Festival, a multi-day marathon of rare, restored films that were previously lost
, in order to raise money for film preservation. In 1997, AMC also started running Monsterfest, a weeklong marathon of horror
movies that ran before Halloween
; this was replaced in 2008 with Fearfest.
Starting in the late '90s, AMC began to undergo a famous case of Network Decay
. In 1996, the network debuted its first scripted series, the dramedy Remember WENN
, about people working at a 1930s-'40s radio station
, and in 1999 it premiered the series The Lot
. Around the same time, the network ended its long-standing policy of showing movies uninterrupted and began running commercials during movies. AMC also had a short-lived Panel Game
, The Movie Masters
, moderated by Gene Rayburn. The biggest change came in 2002, when AMC became a general movie channel, adding films from the last 30-40 years to its lineup and pushing pre-1970 films to late night, morning and late afternoon. It's been suggested that rival network Turner Classic Movies
was responsible for this shift, as that network's establishment cut deeply into AMC's selection of classic films (the vast Turner, Warner Bros. and MGM libraries were now exclusive to that network), along with Fox taking their rights for the Fox Movie Channel, but the main reason for the shift was an effort to appeal to a younger demographic.
The final sign of AMC's decay — and perhaps proof that Tropes Are Not Bad
— was the network's investment in original series late in the Oughts
. In 2007, AMC debuted Mad Men
, a critically acclaimed drama that entered the public consciousness and established the movie network as a purveyor of high-quality television shows. AMC followed this up with Breaking Bad
in 2008 and Rubicon
and The Walking Dead
in 2010. In 2011, it premiered the shows The Killing
and Hell on Wheels
, the former about the investigation of a girl's murder and the latter a period drama about the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. AMC has also crafted two mini series
: the 2006 Western Broken Trail
, and the 2009 remake of The Prisoner
. At this point, it's more or less accurate to say that AMC has become HBO
on basic cable with commercials
: forgettable movies during the daytime, awesome original series in prime time.
Not to be confused with movie theatre chain AMC Theatres, or All My Children
, the long-running Soap Opera
known by its AMC initials in Fan Speak
List of AMC shows and mini series:
- The Movie Masters (1989-1990)
- Remember WENN (1996-1998)
- The Lot (1999-2001)
Tropes Associated with AMC as a whole
- The Artifact: The only trace left of their past as a classic movie channel comes during the odd times they use episodes of The Three Stooges as filler. They would have about an hour of stooge shorts a day in The Nineties.
- Network Decay:
- A case of a Shift That Fits as the channel transitioned from a channel of old time movies to a large variety movie channel with some original programming. However, this did bring some good shows on the table, so perhaps Tropes Are Not Bad.
- And then Talking Dead (which moved Hell On Wheels out of the cushy post-The Walking Dead slot) became a success and a new form of Network Decay has started in the form of reality shows.
- "Monsterfest" originally featured more traditional monster movies (vampires, werewolves, the occasional Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever or Alien Invasion flick), but as time went on and the network decayed, it shifted to slasher films and more recent remakes and sequels, to the point where they renamed it "Fearfest".
- Sliding Scale of Continuity: Most of the various dramas fall into level 5 (Full Lockout).
- Take That: If the network airs an advertisement for one of their shows, it was followed by a short blurb highlighting the fact that AMC was not available on Dish Network during its parent company's five month dispute with Dish.
- White Male Lead: The current original series on AMC feature a particular type of protagonist: The Strong White Man Who Dares To Be Badass. Recent AMC ads are practically hanging a lampshade on this by drawing explicit comparisons between Don Draper (Mad Men), Walter White (Breaking Bad), Cullen Bohannon (Hell On Wheels), and Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead). The Killing is currently the sole exception to the rule.