AMC's New Show 'Turn' Is the Latest In Its Uninterrupted Stretch of Male-Lead Series
Thanks to the success of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and The Walking Dead, AMC, once a channel devoted solely to showing old movies, has become one of TV's biggest networks. Over the last several years, AMC has transformed into the rare station that features series that were both acclaimed and popular, winning Emmys and gaining viewers at lightning speed. As their success has increased, the network's branched out into even more scripted shows. In July, it was announced that AMC had picked up two new series set to air in 2014, and on Monday, the trailer for the first, Turn , was released.
If the trailer is to judge, Turn will be another success for the network, thanks to its Revolutionary War setting and known-but-not-yet-huge star (Jamie Bell, i.e. Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, etc). As for the second series, Halt & Catch Fire, the show also has promise; starring Pushing Daisies' Lee Pace, Halt will focus on the personal computer boom of the early 1980s.
Yet as good as these shows sound, they emphasize a problem that's plagued AMC since it first began airing scripted shows back in 2006 — its lack of women.
Of all the shows that AMC has aired over the last seven years, not a single one has featured a female lead character. Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Killing — all of them have male protagonists, with women appearing only in supporting roles. Sure, some of these female characters have been great (Breaking Bad's Skyler or Mad Men's Peggy, for example), but nonetheless, they're supporting figures on male-led shows. Unfortunately, AMC's preference for male leads is a pattern that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon; in addition to Turn and Halt & Catch Fire, the network has another series in the works — the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul.
It's highly disturbing that in this day and age, a major network can't be bothered to greenlight a show with a female lead. It's no longer a question of whether a woman protagonist can hold a show; just look at Homeland on Showtime or Scandal on ABC, or a dozen other high-rated series with female lead characters to prove that theory wrong. The lack of women is just pure laziness on AMC's part, and it's enormously frustrating.
It's a shame that the network refuses to acknowledge the opposite sex, because their shows are, in general, some of the best on TV. Most likely, if AMC greenlit a female-led show, it'd have a good chance of being high-quality television and earning the network even more praise and viewers than it already has. Yet judging from its current and future lineup, gender equality isn't happening for the network anytime soon. In order to see a woman leading a TV show, we're better off turning to HBO (Girls), Showtime (Homeland), Netflix (Orange Is the New Black), or really, every other major network, because as it continues to prove, AMC certainly isn't the place to go.