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.