The TV landscape is awash with so called talent shows, dating shows, reality TV that pokes fun and casts a snobbish eye on the supposed under classes and general fluff that fills in the schedules. TV drama is not so bad; there are interesting dramas tucked away on BBC 3 and Channel 4 even ITV has got its act together in its production of mainstream drama’s that are actually aimed at intelligent rather than absorbent viewers. Into this landscape comes the returning Mad Men on Sky Atlantic this evening; a show that firmly states the case for the best in US drama. Our cousins across the Atlantic are ahead of us in seeing the start of Season 5 and this has precipitated something of a Media lockdown for me.
The bar had previously been set high by The Sopranos and The Wire, Mad Men has formed a holy trinity with these two shows. While many like to draw comparisons on content I find it a redundant exercise; they are each different but high on quality.
Mad Men has taken subtlety to a new level and has been rightly lauded.
I’m one of those people who generally view overwhelming praise as the Emperor’s new clothes syndrome, but Mad Men is fully deserving of the adulation and critical reception.
Much in the way that The Wire and The Sopranos give characters space to breath and room to grow Mad Men allows us access to a world unto itself; a slow seduction.
At its best Mad Men puts its viewers inside a world where nuance is king, a world where each sip of Alcohol, each inhale and exhale of a cigarette, each line of dialogue is loaded with meaning.From it's dreamlike opening to it's final scene each episode is a journey.
The world of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is a sometimes dark, sometimes light but wonderful world and Mad Men is currently king of the airwaves.