Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mad Men Review: Shut the Door. Have a Seat.

With two weeks left before Fringe starts up again, I've decided to take up a new show which I feel I'll be involved enough with to actually give intriguing and active commentary on it. I really regret not taking up Mad Men sooner, as I probably should have gotten to it after it won its first Primetime Emmy two years ago. Not even the beautiful season finale of Lost can touch on how brilliantly crafted this show is. As Lost took on the non-linear storyline, Mad Men takes on the 1960's drama, truly bringing something cinematic to the table, which is what each television show should strive to do.

After catching up on the majority of the previous three seasons through recaps and summaries, I started on last year's finale, and it grabbed me almost instantly. I was initially foggy on a few details, but its impact was the same. This episode changes the rules of the series in a way, with things moving faster, becoming more competitive, and important matters are at stake. Sterling Cooper is being sold, and Don isn't willing to give up without a fight. While his family is crumbling around him, he wants to keep the most important thing he has left.

This episode is paced brilliantly, touching on all sides of the story without feeling too bloated or rushed. Every conversation feels like a necessary asset, and despite everything that's at stake, both the characters and the writers display amazing confidence that everything will work out. It's a little bit heartbreaking that, while Don is putting together a new agency with a bright future, his family is falling apart. This episode wraps up all the affairs of the previous season, while setting things up for the next.

The acting here is spectacular, but regrettably not worthy of awards prowess. Though Don Draper is already a fantastic character, he's about to get a whole new layer added onto him. The rest of the characters fill out an ensemble who do their part. Each character gets their own time to shine. This is a spectacular place to start watching the show, and if you aren't yet associated with this masterpiece of modern television, I suggest this as a launching point.

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