i decided to check out this series after the hoopla and hype it received by critics and couldnt connect with it due to the slow pacing of the show but i was glad i stick to it . its one of the best dramas out there with elegant production details capturing the 50's superbly with the costumes, behaviors and complete setting. The acting is top notch from the main characters with superb conflict on family drama not witnessed since The Sopranos. A must watch for all in need of quality .
I have to admit that I have a harder and harder time finding anything good on television nowadays. I feel that either the quality of the shows are slowly diminishing and/or the shows that I do watch keep getting more and more repetitive as I keep on watching them. Because of this, I keep getting more underwhelmed by this form of entertainment and get sick of watching television more and more.
I bring this up since it's refreshing to know that there are programs out there that don't exist simply to repeat itself for the sake of its audience, but exist for the sake of bringing something new to the table. I like it when the purpose of a program is to explore the lives of the characters that they follow and the dilemmas that these characters undergo. This is what makes a great television series, and AMC's original drama series Mad Men is certainly a great television series. Not only does it put everything else on television to shame, but it's also probably my favorite television show on right now.
The show is set in the 1960's and follows one of New York's most valuable advertising agencies, Sterling Cooper. While it mainly follows the shady yet talented advertising executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm), it also looks at the people in his life both in the office and at home. Among the characters we follow are Don's secretary Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) whose creative ambitions eventually make her a copywriter, young and spoiled account executive Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) who accidentally learns about Don's troubled past, Don's seemingly perfect wife Betty (January Jones), head of the secretaries Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks), and one of the agency's two senior partners Roger Sterling (John Slattery) who formerly mentored Don.
One of the major reasons why I love Mad Men as much as I do is because of the characters. These characters are not only well developed by the screenwriters and well acted by the performers who bring them to life, these characters also feel like people that exist in real life and I am able to identify with whatever situations that they are going through. I find the character of Peggy to be particularly strong and well thought out. I love how the writers made Peggy a woman who wasn't interested in impressing her drooling male co-workers like her other female co-workers might, but instead just wants to make a name for herself in her profession. Because of the fact that she's also a very likable character, I was able to really hope for the best with Peggy.
I also enjoyed the character of Roger Sterling since he steals every scene he is in. I liked how sharp and straight to the point he was, and I loved how calm he always seemed to be regardless of the stress he is faced with. It's as if he was subliminally not giving a crap about anything and that having a drink is part of the solution. Though he's not in most of the episodes, I enjoyed the character of Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) as well since I liked how he insists on having his employees take off their shoes whenever they're in his office and also how he walks around the agency only with his socks. Basically, I get great enjoyment off of the character's eccentricity.
Furthermore, even though the characters of Don and Pete as well as most of the men at Sterling Cooper commit some despicable actions, the writers were wise in not making them antagonistic. While we may not look up to them in season 1, they eventually start to show glimpses of their inner good come season 2. I am absolutely thrilled whenever television shows like this play with the audience's expectations in that way since it makes the characters more three-dimensional and more real. After all, there are people out there in real life that we meet who we don't care for at first but we eventually start to respect as we get older.
Now, let's talk about the eye candy also known as January Jones and Christina Hendricks. Along with playing smart and likable characters, Jones and Hendricks look absolutely amazing in this show. Whenever one of them is on screen, my eyes are automatically drawn to them they look that spectacular. When one of the characters said that Betty (Jones) looks very much like Grace Kelly, I said to myself, "No truer words were spoken". With their naturally pretty faces, their great physique, and their colorful dresses, I take great pleasure in seeing them every time they're on screen at any time.
What also makes Mad Men such a special television show is that we can make our own interpretations of what the show is about and we wouldn't really be far off. For instance, I believe that the show demonstrates the importance of two simple main ideas. One is temptations becoming addictions and another is the evolution of women's roles in society. When I say temptations becoming addictions, I'm talking about people doing things they shouldn't be doing but having trouble resisting and doing it often as a result. Good examples include Don sleeping with countless other women behind his wife's back and the countless amount of smoking and drinking everyone does in this show. With the evolution of women's roles, Peggy's story serves as the ultimate example of that for obvious reasons in that she is more interested in her work that her love life.
In my opinion, Mad Men does everything right with its acting, writing, and directing, and continues to be my favorite show on television.
The show is top class entertainment with great ingredients: writing, directing, acting, music, fashion, history, you name it.
I love how every season brings me equal anticipation. I fear skipping a minute because I know I will miss a great line or some little detail about some fictitious character that for some strange reason is of great importance to me. It takes a great deal of genius to stretch fiction this far within one's own immigration. This is suddenly the time and place you badly long for although you are not from the Mad Men generation neither you lived in New York City.
I enjoyed seeing how the characters grew in their roles, some to the most unexpected demeanours. I make a special mention of how a new Pete Campbell emerges from the sleaze that he wore flawlessly to this likeable character with this occasional outburst of morality and social intelligence. I admire how the writers and cast are playing with our sense of judgement and it is very difficult to have a favourite character in this show.
It would be impossible to say praises to the cast in few words but I can say that the choice of actors is masterful. Jon Ham has certainly fulfilled his mission on earth by bringing to life the legacy of a Don Draper. That this pure power. The list goes on and on: Peggy Olson, Betty Draper, Joan Harris, Roger Sterling, Lane Pryce, Megan Draper, Lane Pryce, Trudy Campbell, Ted Chaough, Bert Cooper, Ken Cosgrove, Harry Crane, and a very long list of unforgettable characters
The urge to write this review is predominantly to say that it is too early to close the curtain on this show. It still has a great deal of steam and because it will leave an obvious void in the TV landscape.
I get that as times change, so do tv shows in terms of drama or comedy) in how they are I can't help but think that Mad Men is a bit overrated and Matt W is not that creative or a good story teller as he's touted. After watching the premier of season one, I could only stomach the first few minutes of no, I didn't watch the rest. I think J Hamm and Slattery/Elizabeth Moss are talented as with most other actors on the guess so.... (Slattery seems more quality than he should have been Draper?) but the scenes seem crappy (bad editing?) and the story lines can be flimsy. Mad Men basically reminds me of the mediocrity people call show business. :(
I became very uncomfortable (more than usual, that is!) while watching this particular episode of Mad Men. I agree with the reviewer about the self-conscious, and (to me) hypocritical reaction of the white characters to the assassination. I well remember that day and how the reaction of the so-called mainstream (translate: white people) was not so much shock and sadness that a prominent black leader had been killed but rather fear that it would result in race riots - which it did. I'm not looking forward to another episode dramatizing the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
Re Don - like other viewers I'm actually impatient (and will be relieved) when Megan finds out about Don's latest sexual escapade. Hope she throws him out. Have to confess that I don't like her - not sure whether it's my reaction to the actress playing her or the character herself (as she written) - maybe a bit of both.
BTW,Did anyone other than me notice the latest anachronism in the show? Don using a remote, for heaven's sake, to turn off the TV? TV remotes were invented or at least in general use until the 80s - but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong! (I was around in the 60s and to turn off the TV you had to go make the "inhuman" effort of reaching over or getting to your feet to turn off the TV (boob tube)!
While on the subject of Don D and his attitude towards his children (and children in particular) - I suspect that Matthew Weiner is struggling to come up with interesting new and dramatic "insights" into Don's character. Up to now he's been presented as a concerned, caring, if mostly absent father. I didn't believe for a minute his confession to Megan that he didn't caring for his children - how they made him feel "hollow" inside. Balderdash!
I believe in this show, cleverly nothing happens...
I am always eager for a complete change but even the most important events happen without any unnecessary excitement or exaggeration; picturing life for viewer as it is.
Showing everything but not saying it literally is what other series lack to some extent; but not Mad Men, which always leads us to a mysterious personality behind Don Draper and make me follow the show with utmost attention.
Mad Men is a mixed bag for me. Overall, Mad Men has a few great moments, but is mired down by so many negative elements that it makes it difficult for me to endorse. There are good things about the show that helped keep my attention. I thought the dialog was solid, the set pieces interesting, the acting was great, and the overall story had its moments (add agency and the people who worked there attempting to succeed). The downside for me was all the cheating and just nasty moral demeanor of the core host of characters. I recently watched each season back to back and was stuck by how immoral the show attempts to be. In the beginning I was rooting for Draper's wife (which was barely the only likable character), then the show just lost me near completely. As the seasons continued, I discovered I was watching the show more to ensure each character was going to get punished rather than actually enjoying the show.
Season 4! I found that this show to be rather lethargic in the way it's storylines and characters were developed. Mostly in the first 2 seasons. But I began to like it more for some reason in the show's 3rd season, and season 4 has won me over most definitely. I apologize to all the people who had tried to inform me of the elegance in storytelling that this television show wields quite well. I wasn't a fan of season 1, but re-watching it, it is fantastic. Season 2 is pretty good but not amazing, season 3 is a huge step up, and season 4 is the winner. And now Season 5 is I think my second favorite! I like it quite a bit. It's near amazing. The show itself is a little depressing. After an episode, I feel a bit "detached", or gloom. I'm not sure, but it is not the kind of show I could watch a marathon of at all. One episode is enough. I must applaud the storytelling, and the the way the characters interact. Especially the women. The women are my favorite part, and not just because of the voluptuous-curvy Q that is Joan Holloway. The women are the ones that are the most interesting to watch, especially the dynamic between Joan and Peggy in the first seasons, and I hate that that has lingered of in the past few seasons, but there are things that the characters do that are fantastic.
The men are pretty good to, but it's honestly the women are the best part in my non-important opinion. It's not my absolutely favorite show, but it is one that I like to keep up on. Oh, and the writing is "delicious". I find it to be so great! It inspires me very much. 8.5 out of 10.
It seems that no matter how I phrase it, someone takes offence, so I'll try to keep it as brief as possible: this is simply the most boring show in the history of television; and I've watched hundreds and hundreds of all kinds, so should know. That's it.
I am more intrigued and utterly impressed with this seasons storylines and the perfection in everything to do with the fashions,music and interactions. A lot of people have done their homework on the overall re-creation of the 1960's. I think Jon Hamm has a lot to do with this. Every week I feel transported back and lovin' it!
This show has 4 Emmy awards for Best Drama... 4! And now I can see why, this show has probably the best script ever in a drama series and the acting is outstanding, Jon Hamm is a great actor and fits the character of Don perfectly. Another remarkable thing about this show is the depth of the characters, especially Betty Drapper and Peggy. If you like complex and mature shows, you are going to love Mad Men.
In the first two seasons, Matt Weiner was making some very pointed commentary on the world as it existed in the 1960's, and indeed, as it still exists today.
Billed as Madison Avenue's premiere advertising man, Don Draper was supposedly better than anyone at selling America what it wanted most: happiness and security. But ironically, these are two things that Don has failed to find in a rather spectacular fashion. How can Don sell so well that which he himself has never possessed? Therein lies the point: what Madison Avenue has always sold to America is just as fake and hollow as Don himself. It's an indictment of our entire society that we've been willing to buy this hypocrisy. This is seriously heady stuff that goes far beyond the fluff of most programming.
This commentary was told mostly through the contrast between Don's home life, professional life, and the fact that he isn't really Don Draper at all. Understandably, Don's hypocrisy causes the failure of his marriage and he and Betty split up. This made perfect sense and was necessary and inevitable, however, this is also where the analogy breaks down. With Don and Betty living increasingly separate lives during the third and fourth seasons, it seemed as though Weiner had finished saying what he intended to say when the show began and had begun casting about, looking for something else to say, perhaps the next logical thing. Over the course of these latest two seasons he didn't appear to come up with anything solid.
Enter the opening to the fifth season. Unfortunately, it's a bit prosaic, and everyone but Don and Roger don't quite seem to be themselves. Specifically, they seem quite a bit kinder and gentler. They don't play the type of hardball they once played with each other. For example, the plot involving Harry and Peggy upsetting Megan has gone soft. Harry is remorseful and is set up by Weiner to believe he's getting fired by Roger, meanwhile Peggy offers a very sincere apology. In the old days, upsetting a woman was not a big deal, even if it was Don's wife. Pete was strikingly out of character when he accepted the "skirt" of responsibility for Joan's baby from Peggy. Why have these characters gone so twenty-first century on us by only 1966? Lane's false dealing with the applicants in the lobby was the only glimmer of hope Weiner might recover his mojo.
While I suppose the show can continue to cash in on kitschy cool, unless they can find a way to continue what they were onto in seasons 1 and 2, it becomes pointless, empty drama. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I guess, except they've already set my expectations so much higher. Well, that and now it just isn't so much different from a soap opera, or anything else on TV for that matter. I would love for Mad Men to have stayed in its niche. It was in such a wonderful niche.
Unfortunately, I didn't hear Weiner saying much in the kickoff of the fifth season to justify the continued existence of the show. For the most part, it seems the reason it continues is merely because it hasn't been cancelled yet. Nevertheless, hope springs eternal...
And I don't mean the characters are best because they're so likeable, quite the opposite. Yes, there's the 60s context, the sexism and all, but actually I cannot tell any other show that depicts it's main female characters (speaking of Betty and Peggy) so removed from being sexual and really focus on what drives them: Not men, or maybe men only on the surface of things, but I love that it comes to what they wanna make of their lifes, and how they try to find out in those revolutionary years. I understand that to some this is not appealing or exciting to watch, but to me it's the most moving and emotional thing. To write this stuff, even dare to write it in such a quiet, thin-on-action-manner is just outstanding and remarkable.
The title "Mad Men" is not only double clear but triple clear. To begin with, it is a rewrite of the term ("ad men") and most of these ad companies were on Madison Avenue (Mad Ave), where they coined the term. Finally, there is of course the literal sense: mad men, crazy men which the show is built upon.
The main character is Don Draper (Jon Hamm) - an extremely successful advertising agent in the firm of Sterling Cooper.
It isn't one of the major providers but they are still very sucessful, thanks to Draper. And that's why they come over and try to sign him, now and again.
Don, in fact broods on a secret that pops up a few times during the first season, but he does his best to let it remain a secret. Meanwhile it is not the only thing that Don fiddles with. Although he is married, with wife and kids out in the suburbs,
he has - and accumulates - several mistresses, while wife Betty (January Jones) walks around at home and thinks the best of him and gets phased when the neighbor tells of her husband's extramarital adventures. A large part of the season is spent to portray that it is not so good between the couple Draper, and the 'transformation' of Betty is somewhat spectacular.
Women Depictions otherwise is something that really gets our eyebrows wrinkled. Gender was not a key word in the 60s, something that newly hired secretary Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) becomes aware of when she walks into Sterling Cooper in the first episode. Don Draper is admittedly kind to her but there is a clear class difference between the successful ad-men and their secretaries. More than once Peggy runs in on colleagues standing in the ladies' room, crying. And when she least expects it, she's there herself.
As guidance, Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks), who has found the perfect balance between the two camps. This curvy woman has developed into one of the most exciting characters as the series progresses. However, It goes awfully well for Peggy, and soon she is a copywriter, to some men's displeasure.
Among the most entertaining that is going on in the series is Don's relationship with his immediate boss Roger Sterling (John Slattery), where there really is a brilliant chemistry between the actors. Among other things, we get to see what happens when you have fought your way up to the 23rd floor via the stairwell after a couple of dozen oysters with accompanying drinks.
One of the things I like most about "Mad Men" is how they incorporate real events in the story, and as I suspected after season 2 we got to be involved in the assassination of JFK, the entire country to a halt, which is noticeable when Roger Sterling (John Slattery) daughter's wedding falls right after. At the same time it is whispered about Vietnam, something that develops later in the series.
This type of reality and the stories of the 60's century spirit that today feels almost alien (as, for example, the pregnant Betty smokes and drinks without any kind of thoughts that she has a live person in the stomach) is the details that really lift the "Mad Men "to a higher level. It feels so real and believable, while it is just strange and almost unreal.
Five seasons in, there is no sign that the series' quality would begin to slump. It is still as beautiful and well made as it has been since day one, and once you've started watching "Mad Men" it is hard to stop.
What deflects from the blatant "penut butter" flow of the show is the puke-inducing inhallation of what we "now" know to be sickening. Hell, I used to smoke my face off (hardest fucking thing I've ever had to do). Just saying, this may be a little too much puffin' and not enough "make it real by focusing on the story and not letting the main characters get away with murder" stuff. This show has potential... kick it in the ass p.d.t.! P.S. the secretary to the dick is most memorable and should be given more creative licemse. e.
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