Mad Men (TV Series 2007–2015) Poster


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Start from the beginning - you wouldn't watch a foreign film without subtitles, would you?
crewbie3 September 2009
The brilliance is all in the subtext. There are many hilarious moments that are only funny if you've been paying attention and understand where the character is coming from. There are also many tragic moments that would pass you by if you didn't know what came before. Many lines have double or even triple meanings. Watch this from the beginning, with a friend. Believe me, you will want to discuss each episode afterward to figure out some of the nuances of what happened.

The main Mad Man is the confident womanizer Don Draper, who is head of the Creative department at a mid-sized ad agency in 1960s Madison Avenue. I admit, at first I kind of hated him, but as the viewer learns more about him and his past, I learned to - not love him exactly - but like him and want to watch him endlessly. He is a complicated character who can be a very good man, but also a very bad man.

Don Draper is joined by a rich cast of supporting characters, many of whom deserve a show of their own: The ambitious young Campbell who is utterly sleazy most of the time, but has occasional moments of growth and even cuteness.Peggy Olson starts out as Draper's secretary, but her growth into a strong, confident woman mirrors what is happening for Woman in the 60's. Silver fox Stirling - he may be morally bankrupt but gets some of the best lines. I could go on . . .

The 60's clothes, hairstyles, decor, and current events provide an interesting backdrop for what is essentially a character piece. The setting provides both the occasional laugh (cigarettes being advertised as "healthy") and the more than occasional cringe (how could dumping trash from a picnic in the park right on the grass ever seem okay?!).

If you need fast-paced action or a laugh track, this definitely isn't the show for you. But, if you like character development and subtlety in your television shows, rent the first seasons on DVD and settle in. You won't regret it.
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alexnapo18 March 2017
When I started watching Mad Men, the rhythm of it felt slow.

Pretty quickly did I realize how much more powerful the slow story & plot development rhythm would be, allowing us to discover the characters, mostly in seasons 1 and 2, and then really be in the thick of it in subsequent seasons.

Indeed, this series has pushed character development so far that they are the entire and only reason why this series is interesting. The actual events happening at the advertising agency is a pretext to throw more things at those characters and have them deal with it. In fact, the characters are so interesting that there is practically no violence needed (except a few minor events) over 7 seasons to keep this series going. I find that tremendously respectable to be able to craft a series in this way, not using gun shots and bombs to make it lively.

Finally, I have not lived in the early 60's time period the series is set in, but I can only say that it's all seemed to me very interesting and all these "vintinge" props and costumes, hair style and such made it all the more fascinating to watch.

Absolutely great work.
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Nooshin_Navidi11 September 2010
This is a perfect show in every sense. The opening credits & animated intro are themselves works of art, and the creative direction makes the series so visually exquisite that you can't take your eyes off the screen even for a moment lest you miss one of the many perfect vignettes. The haunting opening music sets the stage for masterful sound design, ranging from each episode's musical selections to the subtlest of ambient sounds. The camera-work is nothing short of stunning; it loves each character and makes even the background action interesting. Talented cast and every character is watchable & believable.

For a period piece, 'Mad Men' is remarkably fresh. The show is set in 1960, following a decade of post-WWII recovery which, with the help of rampant consumerism, transformed America from an industrial society into a "leisure society". One of the most rewarding things about the show is how we get to witness the many cracks which had already begun to form in the manicured facade of the '50s, slowly making way for America's rebellion against the manufactured "good life", and resulting in the social & political upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s.

We get to have intimate glimpses into the various components of this process--money, power, politics, sex, race, gender roles-- in a way that makes us feel as if we're actually there in the room with the characters. The show also does a magnificent job of portraying the simultaneous liberation and objectification of women as consumerism rapidly transformed their role in society.

Each and every well-developed character on this show takes his/her turn to unfold in delicate layers. This unfolding is done with pin-point precision and subtlety, and without ever spoon-feeding us. And every new nugget of information is a highly relevant piece of this very addictive puzzle.

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The serie that changed my life
badenbakker3 November 2018
I only started watching Mad Man since it's available on Netflix, and I'm very happy I did. My most favourite serie ever - and I have a feeling it will remain that for a very long time. Apart from the spectacular 60's decors and the non predictable story lines, it's the topics and the development of the main characters that is showed in such a refined way, that I couldn't stop watching it. It is done so sophisticatedly, that the whole show has become one big pyschlogy lesson for me. One that offered me answers I was looking for. :)
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Ambitious with good cause
John_Truby8 January 2010
Mad Men is one of the best-written and most ambitious TV shows in some time. It is worth close study, not just for learning how to create a well-structured show but also how to write one that is truly original and potentially groundbreaking. Story world, or arena, is one of the key structural elements in any TV drama (see the TV Drama Class for how to create this element, as well as the other essential structural elements of a successful show). It is where the story takes place and it usually exists within some specific arena that not only delineates a recognizable unit but also has a set of rules, activities and values that defines the characters. One of the strengths of Mad Men is its story world. Instead of the usual arena of cops, lawyers, or doctors, Mad Men takes us into a Manhattan advertising agency in 1960. Besides being totally unique in TV, this story world is extremely detailed. And the detailing isn't simply a matter of the set design, which is fabulous. It is written into every episode. The writers weave all manner of cultural icons of the late 50s-early 60s, including TV shows, ads, and fashion. This has two great advantages. One is the pleasure of recognition. If you were a kid at that time, as I was, the show is a virtual time machine. And even if you weren't, the authenticity and texture immerse you in the world and make you feel that "You are there!" The other great advantage is that this past world tricks the audience into believing that this is how it really was back then. The first thing we notice when we see all of these details is how much the world has changed. Everybody smoked back then. The men were in charge and the women were all secretaries and housewives. That sets up the kicker. By first thinking how much we've changed, we then realize, with even more impact, all the ways we haven't. This story, set in 1960, is really about today, or more exactly, the ways that human nature only puts on a new skin and the same fundamental challenges of creating a meaningful life must be faced by each of us, every moment of every day. Another structural element that immediately jumps out at you if you want to create a TV show or write for one is the desire line. In Mad Men the desire that structures each episode is fairly nebulous, and that's probably going to cut into the show's popularity (I hope I'm wrong on this one). Desire is the main reason almost all TV shows are set in the cop, lawyer, and doctor arenas. These jobs give their shows a simple and repeatable desire line that tracks the episode every week. Catch the criminal. Win the case. Save the life. But of course this is extremely limiting. Most people don't spend their daily lives solving crimes, prosecuting bad guys, and saving lives. So while the desire line on this show may be more nebulous, it is far closer to what most Americans do in their daily lives. These Mad Men are in the business of selling, which, as Arthur Miller pointed out long ago, is the archetypal American action. But they aren't selling a particular product. They're selling desire, some image of the good life that, because it is a fabricated ideal, is always just out of reach. Writer Matthew Weiner's brilliant conception for this show is to connect the selling of desire to America to the personal and work lives of the ad men themselves. The ad men want the image of the good life in America that they are selling to be true, even if they intellectually make fun of the poor suckers out there who buy it. Main character Don Draper is handsome and talented, with a beautiful wife and two cute little kids. But he has some secrets he's keeping – like a mistress in the city – and he feels a terrible void he has no idea how to shake. Draper is a master at manipulating desire and creating facades, so when he tries to live the promise for real, the "good life" falls apart in his hands. We are in Far from Heaven and American Beauty territory here. And the second episode even had Draper give his own version of the Existentialist credo of Sartre and Camus that was seeping into pop culture during the late 50s (how's that for a sweet detail on a TV show?). We'll have to see whether Mad Men can extend beyond a few episodes without imploding. Besides the lack of a clean desire line, the subject of hollow suburban existence will make it extremely difficult for the writers to develop the show over the long term without beating a spiritually dead horse. In the meantime, I'm going to sit back and enjoy some great dramatic writing, and nowadays TV is the only place you'll find it.
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Best TV Drama of All Time?
Instant_Palmer30 August 2015
As it stands now, yes. Mad Men is the best TV drama of all-time.

Matthew Weiner's concept alone puts it into a must-try category. Those who have seen every episode in sequence, experience a level of quality TV that sets the bar to the top.

Matthew takes viewers on a high ball roller coaster of human experiences that explore pursuit of bliss, the depths of where one can go, and the winding roads of inner angst one must often travel.

The journey is a most interesting one in Don Draper's universe that occupies a time (1960s) in American cultural when changes occurred in warp speed.

No Pollyanna view of the world, Mad Men explores the full spectrum of human relationships and personality types.

View Mad Men from episode one season one if you haven't already. The trip is worth the time.

My vote for Best TV Drama of All Time
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This show rocks
stephen-105024 July 2009
I also am utterly bemused to see so many negative comments on this show. I haven't taken to a TV drama so much since 'Our Friends in the North' (UK only I think) For those who seem to think the show is about pointing out the improved morals of the 21st century, or don't catch the story lines as being evolved enough, or think the characters shallow - I'm afraid you're missing the (beautifully painted) picture completely.

Mad Men oozes. It oozes class, style, sophistication, cinematic production, dreaminess and the wow factor. It seeps into your mind. It doesn't leave you alone, lingering around the corners of your mind for hours afterwards.

As a bonus (as if all this wasn't enough) you've got Don Draper (Jon Hamm). If there's a better cast character, being better acted elsewhere on television in the 21st century then I missed it. The fact that Don is also, or used to be Dick, just adds to the dreaminess.

It's gorgeous, just enjoy.
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Magnum Opus of the medium TV, Mad Men are terrific and genius.
Ben9914 July 2009
I must admit I'm more likely to be shocked how many users find this drama dull.I remember the night I had the chance to gaze at one of episodes for couple of minutes.Betty posing for a coke ad didn't seem charming or appealing to me at all, I changed the channel...

Long after the series won the Emmies, beautiful tunes of David Carnobora buzzed into my ear via commercials and I thought I might have to get the complete DVD.

HBO absolutely made their worst business move maybe in their history by dissing this show.Cos Made Men is clever, cool, charismatic, sexy but more over it's targeting the audience HBO has created over years.Not random Americans who switch between Idol, a weirdo doctors unpleasant patients who will recover thanks to him or ugly police officers digging a carpet for a strand to discover a guy who you already know committed a homicide.

OK lemme tell you about why I adore this show.Mad Men is ultimately written by people who has a giant caliber of creativity and talent.This show demands the audience to be careful, tedious, curious about what they are watching.This show is not to be figured out in a single episode.After I completed season one I had some feeling towards what Weiner had in his mind while pitching the series to channel executives.Do not let the name fool you, Mad Men is not about ad- business or copywriters, show merely talks about ads, even when they are doing an ad.It is about America, how America transferred itself -and the world which depended on it- through out the sixties.In which manners capitalism can market itself with big lies.

By showing us the differences between 60's and 2000's series easily projects ideas about our time during a past decade.Characters in the show are so real, then I mean not just protagonist Don Draper, every other big, tiny or one time characters gets his/her time on screen and therefore show builds up a magnificent universe which you believe it exits and roam safely.Mad Men is not show yelling or speaking out loud, it politely whispers...We the audience witness a group of peoples lives in NYC, Matthew Weiner cleverly puts mile stone political, social events of USA balanced with everyday life of people as well, balanced fastidiously.The one biggest disappointing down side of Mad Men is that there are almost zero on-location shootings.We never get to see the - city- or anything else.This gives the feeling of being locked in sometimes for the viewer.Cast is totally cool and sexy with their superb retro wardrobe.Jon Hamm is the perfect choice for a lead, January Jones is so sexy that you can't get her out of your mind.Smokey, brownish production design is sweet and elegant.Also soundtrack selecting is so much joyful.

I can't say Mad Men is an easy chew.You have to be patient also alert.As I sad you can get a clear feeling only after watching an entire season.Do you want to watch the same TV shows over seasons or want some fun, intelligent brain gymnastics ? The codes of Mad Men are there to decode for your own sake.Do not miss it...
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some thoughts on the people reviewing this show...
grizzledgeezer5 December 2013
I'm 66, and have been watching movies and TV shows for more than 60 years. I grew up watching films when the audience didn't need a car chase or a gun fight every five minutes to keep its weak minds occupied.

When the MPAA rating system was introduced, producers and directors could finally make the movies they wanted, without interference (other than receiving a rating they didn't like). Though one can think of films that were (perhaps) gratuitously violent or sexual, * that freedom was not generally abused.

This age of mature film making lasted barely a decade. Its decline began with "Star Wars", as studios realized there was a huge youth market devoid of adult taste. This is why Hollywood currently turns out few "serious" pictures. ** When I read reviews of "Mad Men" and similar adult dramas (TV or otherwise), I'm surprised at the high percentage of reviewers who find them dull, badly written, and poorly acted. I can only imagine that most of them are under 30, and have never seen "good" motion pictures or TV shows.

I understand someone objecting to "Mad Men", "The Sopranos", "Deadwood", "Oz", "Justified", "Breaking Bad", etc, etc, //simply because they're entertainment// -- and one might spend one's spare time at more-productive and edifying pursuits. Looked at //objectively//, they are, indeed, time wasters.

But human beings like to hear (or see) stories, and that isn't about to change. I've seen all the series I listed, and all are excellent examples of good storytelling. If you find "Mad Men" dull or boring, it's because you have no interest in stories about human relationships.

Ditto for bad writing and bad acting. I wish I could write as well as David Chase or Robert Weiner. Only "Breaking Bad" has out-and-out bad acting (Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Christopher Cousins). (Their acting might look bad because of how their parts are written -- but I don't think so. Oddly, in season 5, Gunn and Norris get noticeably better.)

A common complaint from the ignorant is that "these people aren't nice" or "they do bad things" (etc). Well, that's the point -- they're not supposed to be perfect -- just interesting. You wouldn't have much of a story otherwise. And -- let's be honest -- if the shows I've listed encourage decent, moral behavior in the viewers, it is only by negative example. ("Breaking Bad", in particular, shows how an otherwise "good" person can be seduced into horrifyingly immoral behavior. If you have teenage children, they really should watch this show and discuss it with you.)

People who find "Mad Men" (and similar shows) artistically worthless just don't know what they're talking about.

* "The Wild Bunch" comes to mind. Sam Peckinpah wanted people to be repulsed by violence, yet he's still thought of as a purveyor of "violence porn". Though violent, "Bonnie and Clyde" is a well-written/acted/directed film, in which the violence is not the focus.

** There seems to be revived interest in good films, possibly because the Academy again allows 10 nominations for Best Picture.
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A Serious Show for a Serious Audience.........
yossarian10020 July 2007
The first episode of Mad Men honestly represents the drinking, smoking, sexist fifties, a time when Madison Avenue's attitude and control permeated our entire culture, including one international political blunder after another, a time before anyone ever heard of political correctness. Gays were still in the closet, women slept their way to wherever they wanted to go, and advertising executives ruled the world. Everyone smoked because we all just looked so damn good doing it.

Mad Men captures not only the look of the fifties, it grabs all the details along with it. Here's a show for Aaron Sorkin fans, a show that treats the audience as adults, smartly written, yet a show that avoids pandering. At first, characters appear one dimensional but there's a hint of turmoil below the surface, a promise of things to come in future episodes. This, my friend, is an expose.'

I suspect Mad Men will be a small audience success story. It's a quality show, for grown ups, and the fact that it's on AMC will mean it can live a full life with less than network audience numbers.

I really enjoyed the first episode and look forward to the next. Good job!
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Painfully great fun!
gpaltrow200113 August 2007
The characters go around completely oblivious to how pointless their lives are. They think they have perfect marriages-- they don't. Perfect jobs-- nope. Perfect health even though they constantly smoke and drink-- nope. We can look back and see how phony it all was-- the advertising, the plastic homes and lives, and the social niceties and expectations. And here's the punchline-- it's US! TODAY! And that's the brilliance of the show. Today we are the same with different clothes and cars. We are jaded, full of irony and smarm, and believe we are self-aware. Imagine how a TV show (hologram show?) will look back at the sad folks of 2007 45 years from now. We tune out, blame others, scan the internet for porn, buy $5 coffee, and still can't fix the health care system. Apart from the amusement of looking into a 47 year-old mirror, the show gives us tremendous writing, acting, set decoration and drama. Let me re-emphasize my favorite part of the show-- set decoration. Kudos all around at the insistence of having the look of every scene strike me as true and accurate to the nth degree. I have watched each of the first episodes three times each. I love it!

(PS to those idiots chatting endlessly about electric typewriters and such: That's the smarminess I'm talking about. What would you rather watch? 'Flavor of Love'? 'The Steve Harvey Show'? 'According to Jim'? Gimme a break! Just enjoy a quality show while you can!!!)
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A perfect cocktail of early 1960s Mad Ave Noir
tranquilbuddha8 September 2007
I don't watch TV drama usually, with rare exceptions: The Sopranos (especially the early seasons) and Entourage, if that counts. Mad Men is one of the most original, refreshingly dark and complex shows I've ever seen on TV. Despite its potential for soap opera story lines, it consistently transcends expectations and explores fascinating characters and a radically changing social environment in a beautifully shot, artfully designed and, above all, excellently acted manner. After watching virtually no TV recently (less than three hours per week), my wife and I have been hooked all week, catching up on every episode - although we have yet to see the first, which a technical glitch in our On Demand service is holding tantalizingly out of reach. I loved Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven, and this is like a generously extended - and in some respects even more fascinating - adjunct to that. Madison Avenue is the perfect prism through which to view the early 1960s, and Mad Men, with its post-noir, Nixon/JFK/beatnik/martini melange, is a hugely enjoyable, finely measured cocktail that leaves just the right taste in the mouth.
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Political correctness was not yet in style...
MarieGabrielle4 September 2007
Women were objects, the steno pool was a sexist source of jokes, and the ad men were (they thought) at the top of their game. They had the world on a string and all was well in America. Eisenhower was brilliant, Communism was evil, Tobacco was good, and drinking in the office was just creative brainstorming.

Performance by Jon Hamm, as Don Draper deserves mention. I had not seen him in prior performances. He fits the narcissistic role of a creative director in advertising very well. A conflicted character, attempting to help his child-like wife make sense of her pointless life in the suburbs. (One may also read Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar" to get the actual effect of the time period on women. Also the film, "The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit", with Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones, addressed the futility and role-playing of that era, particularly for women.) Vincent Kartheiser as an irritating newbie junior ad executive. John Slattery is amusing as Roger Sterling, the agency President and Sr. partner, his ego and libido running rampant. He has some amusing lines and despite being sleazy, is also a rather sympathetic character.

Overall well-written, the genre has been filmed before but certainly for a television series on AMC, this is daringly creative. It is the first non-dated, non-western I have seen on AMC in a decade. Well worth watching. 8/10.
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Mad Woman Falling in Love with Mad Men
katiereil5 August 2007
I'm in love with this new show. As noted in previous comments (correcting other comments), this show takes place in 1960, and not the 50s. I find the criticism of this show funny--it's a television show, folks. I don't think it's meant to be 100% accurate. If it were, it would be pretty humdrum, imo.

A poster said he/she thought all the smoking and drinking was a bit much and contrived. However, I think it's fairly accurate. I'm in advertising NOW, and we always have vodka in the freezer...a couple of the men in the office open a bottle of scotch in the afternoons. Although the drinking on the clock isn't AS pronounced today as it was in 1960, I do believe Mad Men accurately depicts agency behavior during that time. My art director mentioned to me that the 70s in advertising were very similar; smoking and drinking in the office, on the clock.

I think Mad Men is genius. First of all, it's sexy; the colors, the lighting, the costumes, the's hot, hot, hot! It is also inspiring! The first episode's "It's Toasted" epiphany gave me goosebumps; ad dorks like me all know that "ah ha!" moment...we strive for it. We live for it.

So regardless of whether or not the typewriters are period or how despicable the women on the show are treated by the men (btw, there is still a lot of that going on in the work place, and for some reason, I think advertising alums are prone to it--I've encountered a couple creative and client meetings in which I was ashamed of the words coming out of the male mouths), this show is a good one that I plan to continue watching. I'm thrilled to find a show that, although it's not an accurate depiction of real "Mad" men and women, shows how inspiring good BIG ideas can be and that (as noted in another comment) good advertising is still created the old fashioned way...with creative and rational thinking and not computers.
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a losing campaign
gurghi-224 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Three episodes was enough. I got it: the 60s were racist, sexist, unhealthy, and unsafe. (Also, very stylish.) And aren't we viewers today so smart for knowing better?

Must every character be such a louse? So tiresome. Not that they need be likable; The Sopranos was riveting, yet almost entirely devoid of anybody I'd ever want to be actual friends with. The difference, in the 3 episodes of this I saw, is that where The Sopranos insisted that the viewer be held responsible, Mad Men seems content to be superior. It wants to both revel in the tawdry details and be righteously outraged at the outdated mores it puts on display. I don't much care for either, and a television show that asks me to do both pushes the limits of my credulity. I could feel my strings being pulled.

No, Don's 'big secret' wasn't enough for me to keep watching- and when I was told what it is, I wasn't sorry in the least. Snoresville.

Undoubtedly there are many, many shows on television that are much, much worse. I don't watch them, either.
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Matt Weiner, you are no David Chase, you are no Alan Ball
bob_meg9 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I bought the DVD of Season One based on sheer buzz from friends.

It didn't knock my socks off at first --- it's not a show that's so out-of-the-box that it screams to be noticed --- but gradually the characters and scenarios grew on me. The writing was above average and even though the story lines seemed a bit thin from time to time, the acting was so good, the set design was so spot on, it got me hooked. And it did pick up momentum as the season sped toward it's conclusion.

Season Two's premiere episode left me dry. Even looking back, it's a strange one. The dialog is stilted, much of what comes out of the character's mouths doesn't seem to fit and --- ABSOLUTELY...NOTHING...HAPPENS. I kept reading people raving about Season Two, but couldn't quite see what they were enamored of. But Season Two got better...way better....the increase in the tension was elegant, effective. Good plots twists, nice character refinements.

Now Season Three.... As of this writing, we are now a third of the way into this year's installment and still not much has happened. Worse, virtually all of the story lines this year seem as banal and self-indulgent as that on the average soap.

We are just now getting into more Draper back story --- the only thing I could find interesting in FOUR HOURS of footage. Instead we have: -The Sal-in-the-closet plot. Boring...and done to death elsewhere. Perhaps if we were to explore '60s style repercussions or the threat within them that Sal is/might be up against, it might be interesting. So far, that hasn't happened. Nothing has. And the opener with the bellboy? Right, that was believable. Try Red Show Diaries, Matt. It was about that plausible. -The John McCain and Cindy Brady Show --- This grandfather/granddaughter sub-plot is taking up far too much's literally a quarter of every episode and it belongs on Lifetime! The fact that the actors are grating and the characters weak and annoying don't help. I really hope there is a point to including this drivel later on. It's really hard to sit through. Thee you on the thee-thaw never! - Joan's Marriage - This is moving abysmally slow. Christina Hendricks is a great actress. She needs more to do. - Roger's Marriage - Again, standard soap opera fluff. OK, maybe that's too harsh...Doug Sirk standard fluff. That's better.

The exception here are Peggy and Pete. Despite the fact that the baby subplot seems to come and go in the show's writer's minds, almost at whim, Elisabeth Moss has ensured we still care about this character and her travails. Same with Vince Kartheiser's flawed and funny Pete.

All of this is not bad for passing-time-TV. It's the standard we've come to expect from networks that cow-tow to limited attention spans and low intelligence. But that's not why I started watching Mad's now become like EVERY OTHER SHOW.

To listen to Matthew Weiner's excessive self-accolades within his excessive commentaries you would think he'd created a Great Work of Deconstructionalist Art. I just think he was a writer who had a great idea at one time, but now hasn't any idea how to make that idea compelling any longer and has now fallen back on tried and true clichés.
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scvg14 March 2010
This series is absolute genius. Many people on here say they found it boring, which makes me wonder. Who can find this series boring?

From the first episode of season one, this series is absorbing. You begin to understand each character, except Don Draper, who is always a mystery.

This series is not for people who enjoy mainstream series with a pattern, such as House, The Closer, Grey's Anatomy etc. etc. Each episode is unique.

I'd like to refer to user rangeriderrango from Canada. He says "The men wear suits that the nerdiest of nerds wouldn't be caught dead in." Huh? Every suits fits them perfectly. This series is really strong in design and costumes.

A series that is so well made and yet intelligent and makes you think is rare. I highly recommend everyone to watch it.
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Smugfest - more about the makers than the sixties subjects
God-1219 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
'Mad Men' entertaining smugfest. Filmmakers convinced of their intrinsic moral superiority to people in the sixties. Viewers too, presumably. Slickly done eg derided single-mum is superwoman - even discovered exercise before it became fashionable. It'll be a retro cult comedy in 2040.

This is more a reflection of the first decade of the 21st Century than the Sixties. Yes, much of it is accurate, but the joke is the emphasis on what the filmmakers believe the poor people in he sixties didn't know they had got wrong.

It's funny to see how the stereotypes are so fixed in the filmmakers - and they think that they are pointing out sixties stereotypes.

There are none so blind as those that will not see, particularly if they are smug and self- righteous.
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Ran it up the flagpole; everyone saluted
BillK17 August 2010
I caught the tail end of this era when I started work in advertising in a backwater town in 1970. I can say that this series captures the flavor with surprising accuracy. I was there; I know.

Advertising was -- at the time -- an industry that took itself far too seriously --possibly because it was the destination of second rate managers (albeit first rate creative people). From a manager's perspective, advertising could never lead to the presidency of a "real" company. And advertising was a parasitic enterprise requiring a lot of what we used to call "schmoozing." As nobody knew what would eventually work with the public, we had to play golf with the clients, drink and dine with them, and in some cases, facilitate a little bit of sin.

Sexism was woven into everyday's activities. The partners had the window offices and were often 'creating' for hours behind closed doors. One of our partners worked until about 10 every night to avoid dealing with his family. Another had a 'special relationship' with his secretary (who looked a lot like Christina Hendricks) unbeknownst to his wife. One partner was weak and incompetent, but was carried because he was a co-founder.

In other words, this series is very much like revisiting my first ad agency job. I find the anachronisms (like the term 'play date' in the first episode) to be quite tolerable in the context of a big picture look at the 60s ad world.

There was a saying at the time: run it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes. As one who was there, I salute Mad Men.
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Advertisers Love This Show, Hence All The Awards
FoxGarrison1 September 2010
Let me make one thing perfectly clear--Mad Men is not The Sopranos. Now, with that out of the way, I think I can give an honest opinion about this overrated show. Yes, it's overrated, and it's overly hyped as well.

When Mad Men first came out, I read the reviews that stated the show was the next best thing to The Sopranos. After watching Season 1 and half of Season 2, I think not. Don't get me wrong, I'll give proper credit to where credit is due. Mad Men is an extremely colorful take of the Camelot years of the sixties, when the Kennedys were in power and The Rat Pack was conquering Las Vegas. The show is colorful, full of wonderful women to look at, gorgeous fashion styles, glossy cars, and lots of booze and smoking. Oh, and there are lots of affairs amongst the many beautiful characters.

But, that's not what the bother is.

Mad Men suffers from a lack of story, loss of basic thematic elements and mediocre plotting beats. In a word: dull. Some may argue that what is perceived as dull may just be the result of the senses' overexposure to romantic comedies and action flicks. This is not true. One can sit through The Sopranos, yet still feel the plot going forward.

This brings me to Mad Men's comparison to The Sopranos. The key protagonist to Mad Men, Don Draper, has a secret, is torn inside and is trying his best to keep the awkward dealings in his life together. Unfortunately, not only is the character fairly drab, but also the actor lacks the capability to express any type of emotion beyond a sneer or constipated grimace. His face can't seem to shape to articulate sadness, despair, anger or fury. His actions are even worse. It doesn't matter if the scene involves drama, romance or comedy, he just acts the same way in every scene without deviation.

James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano, however, has a vast range of twitches in his repertoire that he can express cruelty and love all with one glance. He can be subtle or in-your-face just by the way he squints his eyes.

By the same token, The Sopranos had a complex set of characters with their own quirks and their own historical story lines. It's only after vigilant research do we discover the intricate relationships between them all and their effect on subplots carefully added seasons prior by the writers. Also, The Sopranos had varying degrees of atmospheres, moods and weather patterns. Mad Men seems to miss out on all this.

Mad Men also lacks basic storytelling techniques. Regardless of all the rave reviews and awards being piled on this show, which is probably because of all the SPP (Strategic Product Placements), the show goes nowhere. Subplots begin, but never really resolve to much of anything. I think the advertisers love Mad Men because of all the notable mentions they receive throughout the show. Guess who pays for the awards shows? You got it, advertisers.

And finally, there is one more thing that needs to be said. Not to give away any storyline, but, when a parent dies, the reaction of an offspring character should be what they're feeling. It's not a monologue, discussing what they should be feeling. Even if the parent is unloved, the child should at least, for the sake of those observing their actions, show some sort of emotion of some kind—even an acknowledgment would suffice. It is not walking into the boss's office telling, and him that he didn't know how he should feel. I get better satisfaction watching Bugs Bunny cartoons than watching elementary school actors deliver empty lines from undeveloped scripts.
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Over-hyped and elitist
vivat120 January 2009
... because producers seem to think that just because they portray this stylish era, they can be sloppy about the plot. One of the most frustrating things I found is that many interesting plot threads are started and are never followed up upon later (or just not enough). A lot of scenes could be just easily left out since they don't contribute to the understanding of the characters or the plot (seriously, do we really need to see Don taking a long walk across the office or smoking leisurely at a restaurant with nothing else going on?). Instead, producers could spend more time on good dialogs, because the dialogs in this show are trite for the most part.

In my opinion, most people give it good ratings because either they like the era, or because it got so much attention from the media. Or they suspect that there's more to this show than they see, and maybe they just "don't get it". I only watched it because I heard about it on NPR. I watched the whole first season and two episodes from the second season. Each episode left me with a hollow feeling: "And this is it?" I'm not going to waste any more of my time on this over-hyped show.
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Lacks depth- spoiler alert-mentions a scene from first season
mrslesleyking15 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I agree that the series lacks depth. I, myself being in advertising and working on Tobacco products, can easily mesh with the Characters: i.e. client-creative-client service relationships. My favorite scene though was from first season, Let me just say "Carousel" If every show was as good as that presentation- I wouldn't feel like I was wasting my life away... BTW why does Betty always talk so slow, it seems like she is on something.

What needs to happen is either focus more on the advertising or more on the 60's, or strengthen both aspects to form a solid story to keep the viewer interested.
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Yet Another Hyped-Up Snoozefest
leonardovanzandt22 September 2008
Amazing the types of shows Hollywood will spend its money hyping...

Mad Men is pretty much the exact opposite of what you'd expect reading the hype.

It's dull, boring, uninspiring and features really, really dull and wooden performances, especially by the lead who is as expressive as a piece of carved wood.

If you need a show to watch to put you to sleep, Mad Men is your show.

If you want quality, you'll learn to avoid shows that get "emmy recognition" for what they are: hyped-up snoozefests.

Just another bad show.
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Vastly overrated politically dishonest snooze fest wins golden globe. Go figure.
cracker12 January 2009
3 stars for great production and period feel. The first show I've ever been tempted to keep watching with the volume off as opposed to not watching it at all.

As usual, the white American businessman is a swinish lout, mired in misogyny, antisemitism, racism, unfaithfulness and ensconced in a dull meandering mess masquerading as a plot.

So this show is politically incorrect? This show is the most politically correct I've ever seen bar none. The political agenda of the writers pounds through in almost every scene, a dull, throbbing hammer banging the "truth" into our addled heads. It's as if advertising is the avocation of characters whose real vocation is actually "keeping the Jews down."

Those looking for an intelligent treatment of the golden era of advertising as I was, please continue your search. This ain't it. The advertising agency here is only a backdrop for a yawn of a soap opera rife with dopey, clichéd leftist subtext. Avoid, just as I will be avoiding the Golden Globes, other award shows, and any other Hollywood treatments of big business going forward.
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jiballini6431 May 2019
I just watched the whole thing start to finish for the second time. I can't believe how much I missed the first time around and how much I loved it all over again. This show is spectacular. Do yourself a favour, to use a famous Aussie quote, and watch this if you haven't already done so.
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