Mad Men - Complete Season 1 [DVD]
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The complete first season of the Golden Globe-winning TV drama from 'Sopranos' writer Matthew Weiner, set in a prestigious advertising agency in early 1960s New York, where sexism is a way of life and everyone smokes like a chimney. In this highly competitive, all white, male-dominated environment, the indefatigable Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is the top ad executive, but there are plenty of young guns eager to topple him from his perch. The episodes comprise: 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes', 'Ladies Room', 'Marriage of Figaro', 'New Amsterdam', 'Five G', 'Babylon', 'Red in the Face', 'The Hobo Code', 'Shoot', 'Long Weekend', 'Indian Summer', 'Nixon Vs. Kennedy' and 'The Wheel'.
Welcome to a world where Monday has a three drink minimum. Mad Men exists here and it's a fabulous place to visit, back before Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique really made much of an impact and before there were health warnings on cigarettes. It was an America on the brink of social explosion and Mad Men, which tells the story of a group of Madison Avenue advertising executives in the early 1960s, captures that surface stillness perfectly, complete with the growing tension barely contained below the surface. The show succeeds on every level. HBO famously passed on Mad Men, created by former Sopranos executive producer and writer Matthew Weiner. AMC picked it up, and thank goodness they did. From the first episode, season one becomes an essential, utterly addictive television-watching experience. Beautifully filmed and masterfully written, the show manages to present the period honestly but with little nostalgia, and as soon as you get over the constant smoking, drinking and treatment of women as little more than "girls" who get coffee and answer the phone, the complexity of these characters (especially the dashing Jon Hamm as Creative Director Don Draper) will leave you completely captivated. Season one features clandestine office romances, shadowy pasts, a ton of adultery, closeted homosexuality and a lot more drama that seems risqué even now. But again, one of the most impressive things about Mad Men is that everything is executed with absolute class, style and elegance. A bonus for the DVD viewer is that, like The Sopranos, Mad Men has a ton of little moments and hints leading up to character revelations and plot twists that make watching the episodes over and over continually rewarding. –-Kira Canny
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Top Customer Reviews
Although set in the 60's it easy to relate to the men & women in the show, times have changed a lot, the men all smoke & drink in the office and think nothing of making a sexist remark to their P.A. Now these things don't get said in front of women in the office anymore, but they are still thought and said behind closed doors, so the issues they create are still very much in the work place. They just said it out loud in the 60's.
The ad men are hard driven and determined to be top dog at work and find it difficult to transfer their work personalities to home where they suddenly have to take off the suit and attend kids birthday parties or paint the fence. The wives are complex people stuck in their domesticated perfect wife routines, slowly being driven crazy by suppressing their personalities.
It's pure class all the way, forget Desperate Housewives and get watching Mad Men, it's the best thing on TV for years.
The series revolves around an ad agency on Madison Avenue in the 60s, and its strength lies in the slow building of the characters who inhabit this shady world of cigarette sales and illicit office liasons. The central tenet of the series is office politics as the "Mad Men" vie for advertising sales of products which define the 60s,ranging from the first disposable diapers to the carousel slide projector. Set against a backdrop of an America on the edge, we are treated to original footage from, for example, the Kennedy/Nixon election campaign. We are left in no doubt that this is an accurate portrayal of a world which now seems so out of touch: where smoking and drinking to excess in the office is normal, where women are objectified and dismissed (pre 60s feminism at its most disquieting), where the billboard presentation of a sinister American Dream shaped by mass production is as much a facade as that presented by many of the characters to their nearest and dearest on a daily basis.
And it is this which keeps you hooked: there is a gripping sense of something disturbing lying just under the surface - as it does with so many of its characters- and we are never very sure when the explosion will happen. It is very real, very unsettling and above all, a harsh reminder that we have a long way to go before we can really leave behind the legacies of this era.
Visually there certainly is a "wow" factor but just because the show is executed with style does not mean there is artistic worth to the actual content. What matters as a viewer is getting emotionally involved with the characters and being moved by their stories. That's where I think Mad Men struggles a bit.
Having just finished series 1, I'm struck that the show is really little more than a kitchen-sink drama: all the characters are unhappy, projecting an image that fails to match the sadness of their real feelings. A 60's society striving for "perfection" but which, like advertising, sells an image not the reality.
So far, so obvious - it's yet another dissection of the American Dream & that's been done before in various artistic forms. Quite a lot in fact.
How is this central conceit played out? We get the 2 main characters, the "apple pie" perfect American couple the Drapers: him successful, powerful & dashing (possibly even more square-jawed than Stan from American Dad) and her: doll-like, beautiful and the perfect mother. But what's this? The reality is that he's actually vulnerable and confused (and in the Don/Dick storyline quite literally projecting an image of who he is) and she feels trapped, unfulfilled and inadequate. He's giving vent to his frustrations by hitting the bottle at work, playing power games with his colleagues or cheating on his wife. Meanwhile, she's stuck at home, propping herself up with alcohol or getting intimate with the spin dryer cycle.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was persuaded to watch this tv show and was told how brilliant it was!! Oh boy who knew breeders could be so tedious??Published 1 month ago by David Spanswick
Really? So everyone in the 50s was either evil or stupid and he woman were miserable and downtrodden. Very 2 dimensional and low brow. What a load of over the top tosh.Published 2 months ago by Donald Duck
I watched 5episodes in the hope something exciting would happen... it didn't! So boring I have given up on it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by S Leeves