There are a few TV dramas that take pride in their slow but confident pacing, notably “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” and “Rectify.” There are dramas that hold back connections and critical information, like “The Wire,” to force the viewer to experience the chaos of the world they’re portraying. And there are dramas that twist up morality until you find yourself rooting for cold-blooded murderers — “The Sopranos” and “Dexter,” of course. These celebrated series are often the best that TV has to offer, as they experiment with narrative and as they challenge us both intellectually and philosophically.
AMC’s “Low Winter Sun” really, really, really wants to be one of those shows. It dabbles in the quiet spaces, plot leaps, and complicated antiheroes that are all signals of TV greatness. It features actors from prestigious series, including David Costabile, who was Gale Boetticher on “Breaking Bad,” and James Ransone from “The Wire.” And it airs on AMC, the respected channel that has lifted basic cable to the top of the Emmys. But the 10-episode show, which is based on a two-part 2006 British miniseries, just doesn’t reach its ambitions. It comes off as a straining, overly serious wannabe.