Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TV: Mad Men Season 2 on DVD

Just a quick notice that Mad Men: Season 2 comes out on DVD today, and everyone should watch it. Not to sound too dictatorial or anything, but I'm serious. I say that even as I acknowledge it's a hard show to describe in a way that makes it sound particularly appealing, but here goes anyway: the story centers around a man named Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm, above) who works at a New York ad agency in the 1960s, and it details the lives of him and his co-workers, as well as his wife and kids. And that's basically it. I know, it sounds exciting, but just watch it and try not to get sucked in. The performances are excellent across the board, the look and feel of the show is spot on, and it's amusing to see everyone smoking and drinking in the office, littering with impunity, and marginalizing women to the point of absurdity. I'm not advocating that last point, just bringing it up to show how authentic the show is as a period piece. That said, the women are some of the best characters on the show because they have so much more to overcome, and they wrestle with trying to advance themselves or building their own niche within the existing societal constraints. Simply put, the show is a study of human behavior in a particular setting, and the writing makes you care about these people, even as some of them do deplorable things. There's a reason it's been called the heir apparent to The Sopranos as the best drama on television. (The Wire was actually the best drama on television, but let's not pick nits.)

Season 3 premieres on August 16, so you all have plenty of time to go back and watch the first two seasons. So what are you doing still reading my nonsense?


Dan said...

I agree with everything Brian says in this post...though I have never seen the Sopranos.

The particular appeal to the show for me is the exploration of "what makes a man a man" to quote the Who.

I look forward to watching season two.

Hatfield said...

Obviously I'm much more focused on the women, since I didn't even mention the point about manhood that the show also focuses on. Good lookin out, Dan

Tom said...

Draper telling the guy to take his hat off in that elevator scene -- classic, understated, full of tension, a fight in plain sight without violence, and a further wrinkle of complexity to this womanizer's concept of respect for women. (Hope I didn't spoil your upcoming review post.)