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Binge Watchin' TV Review: Mad Men

04.02.2015

Welcome to Binge Watchin,’ where we take a look at some of the best TV shows available on streaming or disc that have a great catalogue of seasons to jump into and get sucked into the beautiful bliss of binge watching! From crime, action, comedy, drama, animation, etc., we’ll be evaluating an assortment of shows that will hopefully serve as a gateway to your next binge experience.

Series: Mad Men

Number of Seasons: 7 (85 episodes aired; 7 final episodes premiere April 5th on AMC)

Where to watch: Amazon Instant, Netflix, Blu-Ray/DVD

What’s the show about?

Set in the 1960s, Mad Men follows the employees of several Manhattan advertising firms through the turbulent decade. More specifically, the series focuses on Don Draper, a debonair and brilliant marketing executive who also womanizes his way through life. As we see Don's life crumble around him, the various friends, family, and colleagues in his life give us a portrait of mid-20th century America as well as a distorted look into our contemporary world.

Why should I watch it?

Before Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead, AMC became a cable destination thanks to Matthew Weiner's drama. After being rejected by every network, including HBO where Weiner was a writer on The Sopranos, Mad Men found a home that would send it on it's way to winning four consecutive Emmy awards for best drama series, and rightfully so. There has never been a show quite like Mad Men before and I doubt there ever will be another.

At the center, Mad Men is the story of Don Draper. Jon Hamm burst onto the scene with his performance as the cool womanizer who can wax poetic for any client that walks through his door. Hamm is stellar as Draper and shows us a beautiful mind with a hollow core as he struggles to find happiness. But, Mad Men is also a workplace comedy, family drama, and period drama wrapped in one. The show manages to give us glimpses at the time period through a contemporary bend while also being impeccably accurate to the era it is set in.

Mad Men can be very depressing and dark but also surprisingly funny. Whether it be a man getting his toes chopped off by a lawnmower, an office fist fight, or someone losing an eye, Mad Men always finds funny moments in the grand scheme of things. We all have our favorite characters and those we loathe and we tune in every episode to see both sides of their personalities. The supporting cast here is stellar, ranging from Elizabeth Moss as the female equivalent of Draper, John Slattery as the quotable Roger Sterling, Christina Hendricks as the alluring Joan, and Vincent Kartheiser as the douchey Pete Campbell.

You will be instantly sucked into this series much in the way fans get sucked into a soap opera but make no mistake: Mad Men is no soap opera. The best comparison that I can make is to say Mad Men is the television sibling of Sam Mendes' REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. You care about what happens to these characters and want to see them get their happy endings even though you know in your heart it is not going to end well for most of them.

Best season:

Each and every season of Mad Men has been spectacularly crafted and equal. But, there is no beating the debut season that introduced the mystery of Don Draper and where he came from. There is definitely something left to be desired with Peggy's subplot but that is a minor oversight. Overall, the first season pokes more fun at the decade with period jokes that are a nod to the contemporary production of the series but there is just something amazing in that this show is an examination of these people rather than a thriller or detective story.

Final thoughts:

Mad Men's legacy will be in the astounding quality sustained over seven seasons of premium television viewing. And yet, there is no anti-hero like Walter White, no feuding families like the Lannisters and Starks, no zombies and certainly no gangsters. Mad Men is a serious adult drama with a wide cast of characters portrayed to the utmost quality by a cast of actors who deserve all of the accolades they have received. This show, like The Wire, is a visual novel. Each season builds on the emotional empire that is Don Draper which is most definitely set to unravel in a Dickensian level ending over the final seven episodes premiering next week on AMC. You may not think Mad Men is your type of show but that is because you haven't experienced it yet.

Source: JoBlo.com

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