Despite its eclectic programming, AMC’s full name is American Movie Classics. It needs to change, maybe to something like “The Whatever the Hell We Want to Put on TV Channel.”
Many of the movies are hardly classic: 88 Minutes, Never Been Kissed and Overboard mixed in with High Plains Drifter and Rio Bravo. Then there are original dramas adored by critics such as Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Killing intermingled with Three Stooges episodes.
Nothing about AMC makes sense. The drift toward a chaotic schedule began when the channel added commercials between movies, then during movies, then started airing programs that aren’t movies at all, then new movies that aren’t classics, leading up to its current focus on original shows. On any given night, it’s a place to watch—in no particular order—an award-winning drama that everyone’s talking about, a Drew Barrymore movie nobody remembers, two Humphrey Bogart films separated by Rambo: First Blood Part II, several late-night infomercials and then a marathon of Larry and Curly poking each other’s eyes. Plus, the channel has announced upcoming reality shows about advertising and Homeland Security.
We all know that the initials “AMC” still stand for “American Movie Classics,” though. It’s like when Kentucky Fried Chicken decided, “We’re just KFC now—that can mean anything, right?” No. It still means “Kentucky Fried Chicken.” Watching AMC nowadays is like going to KFC for a bucket of chicken and discovering it’s full of asparagus-wrapped scallops, a Chocodile, a Slap Chop coupon, lobster bisque, a Whopper with extra Skittles, one piece of chicken and a picture of Janet Napolitano.