The Box Set is I’m With Geek’s attempt to encourage more people to watch a TV series that they may have missed the first time round, then discuss how it made them feel. Happy? Sad? Filled with impotent rage? Who knows…
All that happens nowadays is people shouting at you to watch TV shows. This new program has started, it’s the best thing ever, and you HAVE to watch it. This show is really old, but your friend has just discovered it and you HAVE to watch it. You’re the only person in the world who hasn’t seen this program and you HAVE to watch it. Well, it’s fair to say that the world likes to ramble on about Mad Men.
Thing is, I find it hard to call Mad Men a TV show. It has the same format; seven seasons, thirteen episodes in each, 45 minutes long per episode, with characters, plotlines, script etc. but honestly, Mad Men is more than a TV show. It’s art. Mad Men is stylish, sophisticated, dramatic, funny, sexy and engaging. The costume and setting are all perfect, the direction is beautiful and there isn’t a single cast member to fault, from Jon Hamm’s mysterious Don Draper to Elisabeth Moss’s meek Peggy Olson.
I think it’s a show everybody needs to see, and I say it knowing full well not everyone is gonna like it. Due to it being a very realistic show (Set in an advertising firm in the 1960s), it has to be grounded. It’s not like Game of Thrones where they can just bring in a dragon and have everyone kill each other with swords. But the fact that it’s grounded is it’s best quality. It doesn’t need to be extravagant to be the television masterpiece that it is.
Mad Men is a show everyone wants you to watch, and it’s a show you need to watch. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t. But at least you can finally have your own opinion rather than the world screaming in your ears.
Mad Men feels different. I’m not entirely sure quite what I mean by that, but it sums up my impressions of Mad Men fairly succinctly.
For the first three episodes, I had trouble penetrating the show; the characters and plot felt a little lacklustre; I’ve discussed my feelings on the show up to that point very briefly in our podcast. However, from episode four, I found things starting to pick up steam. The characters start to come into their own, and the era of the series begins to shine through all the more.
The general debauchery that goes on within the office is a bit of a culture shock at first (especially when compared to the modern day rules and regulations.) However, the feeling passes and the smoking, drinking and casual sexism are taken down as par for the course (more or less.)
As of this writing, I still have three more episodes to watch before completing the series. Despite it being an enjoyable ride, I’m not sure if I’ll stay invested for the remaining series. Though, who knows, maybe the final episodes will blow me out of the water in such a way that I can’t help but keep on with the series.
Mad Men has always been one of those “oh, I’ll get around to it” series for me. Yeah, everyone said it was great, but really, it was about advertising men in the 1960s. Was I really going to like it that much?
The answer was yes. Firstly, it’s an absolutely stunning show. People have speculated about the falling man in the title sequence – is it meant to be Don Draper? Who cares? It’s a simple, minimalistic, beautiful animation, completely free of any extraneous clutter. And that kind of sums up the show itself. The plots aren’t generally the most gripping (will they get the ad deal? Will anyone ever remain faithful?), but everyone involved with the look of the show, from cameramen, set designers and wardrobe, deserves a medal.
The writing, while usually brilliant, can be occasionally clunky, most noticeably the scene near the start of the series where Sal’s sexuality becomes apparent. That scene didn’t contain subtext so much as big clanging hammers. But even on those very rare moments, the actors carry it off. Jon Hamm and Christina Hendricks tend to get most of the praise, but for my money, the most interesting actors are Elisabeth Moss, with Peggy getting a great character arc over the season, and Vincent Kartheiser portraying Pete’s mix of idolatry and jealousy with regards to Don.
Given that it’s about to end with the second half of season seven (well, at some point in the next 12 months), it’s worth giving Mad Men a look.
Jon Hamm, in my opinion, is one of those actors who I believe will get sparring roles and then peater out into obscurity. Not because he isn’t a phenomenal actor but because he hasn’t really been given much of a chance to exceed his Don Draper excellence. It’s a curse of actors who have defined a role. Hopefully, I’ll be proved wrong. After all, he has ventured into films and lead the way in Disney’s cheesy Million Dollar Arm. But I think, because he is absolutely breath-taking in this series, he’ll fail to… ha ha… don anything that will help you forget this.
Mad Men is a rather brilliant series about a bunch of chain smoking whisky swilling advertisers in the 1960’s with Hamm in the main role of Draper. The series oozes luxurious drama that is heavily influenced by Hitchcockian suspense and style. The period aesthetics really recreate the era in such a stunning way. But it’s the performances that are a highlight of this series. Perforating the smoke that hazy wraps around the smooth dialogue are some fine actors who dabble in emotions and intrigue. As the affairs unravel, both sexual and underhand scandals, Mad Men becomes insatiable. Each episode curves around the intricate relationships and intense backlash that makes it so ingenius to watch. Well written, with full characters and intense acting, Mad Men is one of the best series on television.
This isn’t just men.
This is Mad Men.
What do you think of Mad Men?
Let us know in the comments!