Show: Mad Men
Star World: Mondays to Fridays, 11 pm
What is it about
An advertising executive Don Draper is struggling to control his problematic love life while preventing his agency from losing a big tobacco account. Mad Men, as the first episode informs the viewers, is what advertising executives who worked on Madison Avenue called themselves.
Set in the 1960s, the plot follows Draper and the people that he works with at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency. Specifically, we view the lives of Draper himself, senior partner Roger Sterling, young account executive Pete Campbell, Don’s secretary Peggy Olson, his wife Betty and the office manager Joan Holloway. At the heart of the story, Mad Men deals with the theme of deceit and mystery. This is a theme that seeps through every character.
Who is in it
Jon Hamm portrays Don Draper, the hunky alpha male we first meet sitting alone in a bar. Betty played by January Jones who acts as the audience’s guide through a typical working day, as she starts her new job under the tutelage of flame-haired Joan played by Christina Hendricks. Also seen is Vincent Kartheiser playing Pete Campbell.
What is good about it
Among the most brilliant things about the show is the visuals. Every single detail is meticulously thought through. The dialogue is written in such a way that you feel as though you are hearing exactly how people would’ve spoken and the show only uses sounds and music from the time in which it is set.
Such fine attention to detail makes Mad Men worth tuning in for. The visuals are captured in a magnificent opening title sequence. We see the silhouette of Don Draper as his world collapses around him.
And it’s quite an eye-opener to see how far the culture has matured in nearly 50 years. It’s a very interesting near-past to explore, superbly brought to life with the attention to detail and utterly convincing costumes, furniture and general ambience. Even the actors all have that retro ’60s-look about them.
What the episode does is create a setting for the series but the overdone smoke-filled sixties isn’t a pleasant sight. Draper’s hookup with Peggy just seems to come out of nowhere, as he turns a deaf ear to her otherwise.
The first episode covers most of the bases. The characters are introduced and drawn well in brevity, the panache of the period is successfully recreated, the relationships are made pretty evident and we get a sense of what future episodes will bring. Hopefully, the freshness of premise, snappy dialogues, and excellent performances won’t dissolve into just another soap opera.
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Show: Mad Men
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