A low-key guy finds life behind the lodge door

Chances are, you really want to see the "Better Call Saul" season-opener Monday (Aug. 6) ... so you might as well stick around afterward for the debut of "Lodge 49." It's slow and quiet, as a low-key guy stumbles into a new direction for his life. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Television is full of hard-charging, high-octane types.

Cameron has seen sci-fi soar out of the basement

The science-fiction world has delivered some of the worst movies I've ever seen -- from "Plan 9" and "Creeping Terror" to films that had  bigger budgets but not better ideas. But sci-fi has also delivered greatness, all the way up to "ET" and "Terminator." James Cameron has worked on some of the bad ones and directed some of the great ones. Now he has a new series, talking to people about sci-fi; here's the story I sent to papers.

By Mike Hughes

Into the bad and bloody (but good and artful) world of "Into the Badlands"

You may remember the bad old days of cheap martial-arts films, when hordes of villains would politely attack one at a time, so our hero could dispatch them. Then something happened -- artistriy came to martial-arts movies, just as it did to zombie films and more. Now the impressive "Into the Badlands" starts Sunday (Nov. 15); here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

In the days days of
drive-ins and B-movies, films seemed to be split in two ways.

"Mad Men" found the perfect time for a long shot

Some evil force must have planned the Easter night TV line-up in an effort to blow out our DVR's. In an overcrowded crunch at 10 p.m., three series or mini-series will debut ("American Odyssey," "Wolf Hall" and "The Lizzie Borden Chronicles") and another will start its season ("Salem"). Yet all four are overshadowed: "Mad Men" -- winner of four Emmys for best drama series -- is starting the second half of its final season. Here's the "Mad Men" story I sent to papers:

It's time for spy master of (really) the Revolutionary War

On Sunday, our cable-TV attention turns back -- way back -- to spies in the Revolutionary War. Here's the story I sent to papers:


"Breaking Bad" is readyto rumble (or hug)


TV shows never used to have exit plans. Even the great ones would simply disappear, with little preparation.

Now that has changed. Cable dramas are handed long lead times for their finales -- four episodes for "The  Big C," a season for "Breaking Bad," two seasons for "Dexter," etc. After  being gone for 11 months, "Breaking Bad" returns Sunday (Aug. 11) for its final eight episodes. Here's the story I sent to papers:


"Mad Men" triumphs over obscurity and gloomMa

This Sunday (April 7) is one of those overcrowded TV days. "Mad Men" starts its season, "Shameless" ends its season, "Game of Thrones" has the second show of its season. Also, the Academy of Country Music hands out awards. Here's the "Mad Men" story I sent to papers; an ACM story is coming:


When “Mad Men” started, it could
have been an exercise in obscurity.

"The Killing": It's a killer episode

So an episode of "The Killing" arrived this morning, bringing mixed feelings: Hey, that airs at 10 p.m. Sunday on AMC; I sent Sunday's column to papers two days ago.

Then I pop it in the DVD player and soon stare in respect. This is so good that I still have to tell people about it. The revised column is listed here under "TV column"; I sent a shortened version of it to papers, but it probably arrived too late for many.

Wait, I haven't figured it out yet


This qualifies as the day's (or year's) most inexlicable announcement:

1) The AMC cable network has announced it won't bring back "Rubicon" for a second season. That part is understandable; the next one isn't:

2) AMC said the following: "'Rubicon' gave us the opportunity to tell a rich and compelling story."

It did? Then I must have missed something.

Two MUST-sees -- "Mad Men" and "The Prisoner"

This is going to seem like a plug for AMC, but it's not. (Until now, I've never mentioned the cable channel in this blog.) I have two requests, however, both relating to AMC:

1) Definitely catch the season-finale of "Mad Men." It just aired tonight and is, very simply, a deal-changer in every way. Lives change; business changes. Everything we've seen on "Mad Men" before this gets spun around. You can catch it Monday night (10:15 p.m. or 1:15 a.m.) or Tuesday night (2:15 a.m. and 3:17 a.m. on what's technically Wednesday morning). Please catch it.