The AMC Network began its foray into television series as well as any cabler of all time ever, with “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” and “The Walking Dead,” three of the best dramas of the decade, before faltering somewhat with “Rubicon” a slow burn that I understand redeemed itself in the end before it was cancelled (the burn was a little too slow for most, including myself). Most recently, AMC has been dragging us through the mud with “The Killing,” a show that worked on its viewers the opposite of the way “Rubicon” worked, which is to say: Pulled us in, then let us languish. Now with a taste of success, AMC wants to grab more viewers, as well. And what better way than reality shows?
The combination, however, an unlikely one, as AMC has enrolled soon-to-retire-from-directing Kevin Smith to produce a workplace reality show set within his New Jersey comic-book store, the Secret Stash. There’s even been a casting notice put out for the series, asking “real people who live and breath[e] the comic book lifestyle.” What would a reality show set in a comic-book store look like? I have no idea, but I imagine a more geeky version of Dick and Barry from High Fidelity, although Kevin Smith will undoubtedly show up frequently to plug his podcast, to plug Red State, to plug his production company, and to plug his wife.
More dispiriting, perhaps, is that this isn’t AMC’s first reality show: It’s already greenlit two others, “The Pitch,” about advertising, and “Inside DHS,” about the Department of Homeland Security. Sure, they sound like a higher-brow brand of reality, but it’s a slippery slope from a show about comic book retailers to “Flip this Pawn Stars.”