Mad Men Season 4

#1
Hey folks,
AMC has scheduled the 4th season of Mad Men to begin on July 25th.

If you need to catch up on prior seasons this would be a great time to do so. AMC has season-marathons coming up, the first season airing on July 5th, the second season airing a week later on July 12th, and the third season airing another week later on July 19th.

Finally, here is the 4th season promo poster. http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2010/06/21/first-look-mad-men-season-4-poster/

Re: Mad Men Season 4

#2
Curious to gauge everyone's excitement level going into season four.

(*****SPOILERS BELOW*****)





I still really like Mad Men, and am excited to see what direction it goes in after completely blowing things up in the season finale, but I can' t help but feel that I should temper my expectations a bit after last season.

I felt the first two seasons did a great job of slowly ratcheting up the level of tension which directly lead to some of the payoffs of last season, namely the breakup of Don's marriage and Betty discovering Don's identity. The problem for me was, I don't know, expecting a certain level of dramatic intensity that the show wasn't able to get to.

I keep going back to the scene where Don spills the beans to Betty about his true life. It's a scene we've all been dreading, expecting, wondering about, and there is something just kind of flat about the whole thing. It boils down to Hamm being good, and January Jones just not being able to keep up. And so one of the defining moments of the show's history is really nothing that memorable.

It's not just Jones; there are some characters on the show that are given a lot to do that are not as captivating as everyone would like to make them out. And as the show wants to expand and dig into the nuances of these other characters, the results are kind of mixed.

I dunno, it's a show about an ad agency, am I expecting something that I shouldn't be? But when I consider the great dramas (Sopranos, Wire) you get an emotional/dramatic impact that I want to get out of Mad Men, but I don't think the show is really capable of it.

Is it because the stakes are not life and death?

Re: Mad Men Season 4

#3
I guess I'll start by saying I really liked the premiere. I think there was a sense that creatively, the show needed to shake things up before everything got too stagnant, and that's what it looks like they're trying in season four.

At this point, I think I can safely say the only emotional investment I have in any character whatsoever is Don (maybe Peggy to some degree), and that's not entirely wonderful in a drama depicting this many characters. I think certain critics would say the same about The Sopranos, but there were several characters I cared about, or was happy to see enter a scene. It's a tough balance to strike, especially when you're depicting such a morally ambiguous universe, but that's where it's at for me at this point.

Interested to see where this all going. In a dramatic sense, this could be the season I was hoping we were going to get last year.

Re: Mad Men Season 4

#4
I agree. with most your thoughts AJ. I thought the third season was pretty uneven. Some great moments, and a couple stellar episodes, but others were pretty bland and boring. With that said, I re-watched the third season and enjoyed it better the second time around.

There are small spoilers in this review which covers both the first and second episodes of the fourth season

As for moving forward on the fourth season, my favorite character so far, is the new office. It really has given the show a new lease. It is great to see characters that were insubordinate in earlier seasons, like Peggy, now having more power and control in things. I also love that she seems to have found a somewhat decent guy. It was classic Weiner to have that line about him being her "first" treated as a throw-away line, while viewers know full well that Peggy has had many...firsts. All from guys she has worked with, mind you (or at least that we have seen). I do like that she appears disinterested in him, and as many have mentioned, with each episode, gets closer and closer to a mirror image of Draper.

Excellent to see Freddy back. I always liked his character, and thought he was lost to us. I can't help but feel a tad melancholy, he had a perfect exit two seasons ago, and his return kind of dilutes that awesome episode. But I am willing to bet the writers have a special job for him this season, and I can't wait to see what that is. Though I do wonder if other characters will be returning, such as Sal. As much as I like him, this could get old.

I love seeing Draper struggle at his job. It is actually very similar in tone to the very first episode of the series, where Don is struggling to get Lucky Strike off the ground, and then eventually hitting it out of the park by the end of the episode. Very similar to this season's opener in that respect. Draper continues to wrestle with his interactions with clients. This is interesting yet frustrating, at least for me. Either way, Draper continues to be a great, likable lead, and easily the most fleshed-out, haunted character currently on tv. I also really like that the writers are having Draper strike out with women, because he could very easily fall into self-parody.

It is interesting that Betty is quickly becoming the villain of this show. I have never liked her, but at least earlier in the show, she was more reigned in, and viewers could identify and empathize with her plight. But unlike Don, she has not made any attempt to change her behavior. It is interesting how much I love to hate her. That Thanksgiving scene was brutal to watch.

I absolutely adore Sally Draper, and think the writers did an excellent job early in the show of making her a forgotten child, but now that she is older she is getting more screen time. The actress does a pretty great job too. I love her more and more with every scene. And the return of Glenn was unexpected, but predictably cringe-worthy and all-in-all amazing television.

The very last scene of the first episode with Draper interviewing, is magnificent. And while Mad Men does not have as many iconic endings as The Sopranos (at least right now), I think this is one of the better ones.

Re: Mad Men Season 4

#5
Garth wrote:The very last scene of the first episode with Draper interviewing, is magnificent. And while Mad Men does not have as many iconic endings as The Sopranos (at least right now), I think this is one of the better ones.


Yes, yes, and yes. This is an example of something that's an obvious connection to the Sopranos, and a little moment that the show captures really well. I also enjoyed the "Let's begin 1965" ending as well. Perfect mix of music and tone. Weiner does that really well.

With my adjusted expectations, I've been enjoying the season. As I said before, the new office fits in nicely with the upheaval of the changing times.

I also think it's been a weirder and moodier season as they try to capture the feeling of the times. The long, drawn-out scenes between Don and Lane and Peggy's dabbling in the counter culture come to mind, and I've been enjoying that aspect of the show.

"The Rejections" was less Don-focused, and those are the episodes that will always stand out as being a little weaker, but I've been enjoying the season.

Re: Mad Men Season 4

#6
Yeah, this latest episode was lighter than the one prior (thank god, that one was incredibly heavy). I have to say Peggy peeking over Don's wall to see the disturbance is easily one of the funniest, most restrained comedic moments I have ever seen on tv. It was great.

This episode was one of those that while solid, does seem to be just SLIGHTLY treading water while setting up the rest of the season. I love hating Pete, and this episode gave plenty of opportunity to do that. Especially when he used his wife's pregnancy as a step to get his father-in-law's business.

I really am enjoying Don's realization that outside of his marriage he is struggling with women. His secretary is a great example of this. Not sure if we have ever seen someone stand up to him in this way and leave him with his jaw dropped like she did. Also interesting to see such a lack of Betty so far. I was wondering how they would balance her this season.

All in all, good stuff so far! Looking forward, as ever to the next episode, and the later episodes when they bring all the plot parts together and as things start to speed up.

Re: Mad Men Season 4

#7
I'm not quite with you, Garth. Though I did enjoy this last episode a lot, I actually found it to be much more interesting and had more potential for future developments than the previous three episodes. Part of this has to do with my frustration with the Don character - as good as Hamm is, he's not on the level of a Gandolfini or a Falco, and as interesting as Don was, I'm finding that now that his past has been revealed and most of his secrets are out, he's not quite as compelling. I think he's essentially hollow at the core - the identity switch and his upbringing aside, he doesn't have a hell of a lot going on. Much like the Sopranos, the show is built around him as the central character, but at the moment, I'm finding Pete, Peggy, Joan, even Lane more fascinating. So here's hoping there's more to come in those areas this season.

Re: Mad Men Season 4

#9
AJColossal wrote:It means next to nothing, but with Mad Men's Best Drama nod last night, it has now won that award more times than our beloved Sopranos -- 3 to 2.


It does mean next to nothing. Interesting though. I also read the other day that the show FlashForward has earned more Emmys than both The Shield and Wire combined in its one season on the air. Now, I know this board has its allegiance to the Sopranos (naturally) and takes fault with the idea that The Wire would be better than Sopranos...but think about that.

The Wire, an almost universally renowned quality show, The Wire, that was on for 5 seasons. The Shield (which I watched and never thought it was anything special at all) which ran seven seasons, and combined they have not earned as much as Fast Forward did in one season.

In all fairness, I have never watched FlashForward, but...it does seem a bit unbalanced. In one seasons (which by many accounts seemed like a lackluster season as a whole) they won more than a combined 12 seasons of other quality television did.

Re: Mad Men Season 4

#10
They won one Emmy. The Shield also won one, while The Wire won none. I'm not really sure what that proves, though, as FlashForward won for stunt coordination. I don't mean to dispute that the Emmys are ultimately worthless, because I think that they are, but it's not like the academy deemed FF to be better written, acted or directed than the shows you mention.
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