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Good but I get the formula...

  • Sep 21, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3
Mad Men is well casted, well acted, well written and well directed - it's pretty much everything that regular TV is not. And while the first season was really addictive, I've spotted the formula which has meant we've more or less lost interest in the show. This was mainly due to the fact that we had a weekend marathon of watching all the episodes (thanks, Amazon Video-on-Demand!).

Mad Men catches viewers' interest by injecting story lines that never get resolved: the lead character is doing a Martin Guerre by capturing a dead soldier's identity, one of the ad executives is flirting with his homosexuality, the New York company gets bought out by the Brits. Essentially, every time there's a new to pump life into the office drama, some new and relatively implausible thread gets thrown into the mix, and it can take an entire season - or two - to play out.

From a writing point of view, I like the approach, since it practically guarantees no end in sight for an episodic TV show. But as a viewer, I feel manipulated and would really like the show of the first season to come back. Plus, AMC and Showtime seem to have an unspoken rule to have at least one pushing-the-boundaries-of-TV-but-lame-for-the-Internet sex scene in every show (the red-head secretary gets practically raped by her fiance, and the gay executive experiences, ahem, you know what) and in the same way that Californication lost its clever edge in exchange for lewdness, Mad Men is trending down the same path.

Still, I was an addict for 24 even though I spotted the formula there too ("I going dark!"/"Put it on my screen!"/'There's a mole in CTU!"/"They've kidnapped your daughter... again!"), before it became completely insane. I fear that Mad Men will drift into the 24 territory of utter nonsense, but hopefully it won't come before another series or two.

PS - The whole thing must be sponsored by Marlboro given the number of cigarettes per scene!

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September 22, 2010
I would say that so far with Season 4, there's no danger of what you describe. Don being divorced has opened up a whole new world to explore with him.
 
November 21, 2009
Did you continue to watch the show into the 3rd season? If so, did you like the finale?

Fun fact: since real cigarettes are prohibited on tv shows, I read that they use all-herbal 'butts in the show! Crazy- I never knew! That's a whole lot of little teas/flowers/weeds they must be burning up on the Mad Men set! :)
November 21, 2009
Mad Men is a weekly staple in my household, so I continued to watch - I think the last two episodes of the season were really good actually. It's like they switched the writers or something. It looks like they're writing Betty Draper out which would be a plus: her storylines aren't really going anywhere, and I think the characters in the ad agency have infinitely more scope. Still, we'll see in series 4! I had no idea about the cigarettes... how ridiculous you can't show smoking in TV but you can show drinking, drug abuse, fighting and shooting! Still I bet those menthol cigs are helping the actors deliver the lines :-)
 
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James Beswick ()
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Mad Men is an American television drama series created and produced by Matthew Weiner. It is produced by Lionsgate Television and is broadcast on the cable network AMC. It premiered on July 19, 2007, and completed its second season on October 26, 2008. The third season is scheduled to begin August 2009.

Set in New York City, Mad Men begins in the early 1960s at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on New York City's Madison Avenue. The show centers on Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a high-level advertising creative director, and the people in his life in and out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America.

Mad Men has received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for its historical authenticity and visual style, and has won numerous awards, including three Golden Globes, a BAFTA and six Emmys. It is the second cable series to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series and the first basic cable series to do so.

Lead characters

  • Don Draper (born in 1925 as Richard "Dick" Whitman) (Jon Hamm): Creative director and eventual junior partner of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency; Draper is the series' protagonist.
  • Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss): She began as the ostensibly naïve "new girl" at Sterling Cooper. Starting as Draper's unassuming new secretary, Peggy showed a talent in advertising strikingly similar to Draper's own.
  • Peter "Pete" Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser): A young, ...
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