A gem is about to leave the Prime Video catalog. Mad Men, a veritable revolution in the audiovisual landscape, recounts both the end of an era, the fall of its hero and the advent of advertising. A series not to be missed.
What is it about ?
In 1960s New York, Don Draper was one of the big names in advertising. A master manipulator, he has enemies around him who await his downfall.
Why is it great?
Created by Matthew Weiner in 2007, madmen arrives across the Atlantic on the cable channel AMC, which then embarks on the creation of original in-house series. The first attempt is a masterstroke. Historical series but terribly modern by its subject, Mad Men is a classy drama which skillfully questions the figure of the anti-hero.
But the series also offers a gallery of characters who each deserve to have their own spin-off. In addition to Jon Hamma real revelation in the role of Don Draper, Mad Men also allowed the talent toElizabeth Moss to burst thanks to the role of Peggy Olson. Here are 5 good reasons to (re)discover the series.
1. Mirror series
Matthew Weiner situates his series at the end of the 1960s, which really correspond to the United States at the end of an era. The transition to the 1970s is the approach of the war, that of Vietnam, the increase in tensions between the eastern and western blocs and the approach of the first major economic crises. It is also the end of a style, that so elegant of the sixties to move towards the colorful colors and the hippie fashion of the 1970s that the series approaches as a form of renunciation. Of course, by recounting the end of a golden age, Weiner echoes our own time and underlines the transition that is taking place on all political and cultural levels… since the entry into the 21th century.
2. A cinematic aesthetic
With its millimetric reconstruction of the 1960s, ranging from sets to costumes and hairstyles, Mad Men is a perpetual wonder for the spectator. On a purely aesthetic and production level, it enters directly into the pantheon of the most beautiful series. Each episode contains perfectly composed shots where lighting, framing and actor performances combine perfectly to tell a whole story in one frame.
3. The relationship between Don Draper and Peggy Olson
Peggy starts out on the show as Don’s secretary, and she was cast because Joan (Christina Hendricks) knew Don wouldn’t want to sleep with her. And although Peggy and Don were never romantically involved, their friendship – which has grown over the seasons – is one of the most romantic relationships we’ve seen on TV. Don fell in love with Peggy, but in a completely different way. He took her under his wing, protected her, became her mentor. She knows how to be very tough with him at times, but the bond that unites them is almost indefinable as it is intense.
4. Chalkboard writing
Everything in the series means something, from a stack of documents in the background, to a character’s tie. The writing is like that of a book. It’s a literary journey because each episode comes down to delving into these characters. Each episode feels like a new chapter, and each scene feels like a new page. Matthew Weiner and his team of writers refined their characters and worked them like living material. Captivating and therefore sometimes unpredictable. This is how we see episodes devoted to secondary characters, and some focusing only on the main cast. They are the ones who lead the action (and its urgency) and not the reverse, as in a life scene whose outcome cannot be predicted.
5. The Golden Age of Television
Mad Men is part of a blessed period when serial creation reached a real artistic peak with series like Breaking Bad, The Wire, The Sopranos… All these series marked a turning point in the history of television by featuring anti-heroes or “difficult men” as the American journalist and critic Brett Martin called them in his book tormented men. With Don Draper, Matthew Weiner paints the portrait of a man not only tormented but that of an impostor whose fall is certain. A melancholic and existential portrait of an advertising genius who could sell mittens to an Eskimo, and who is a bit of the king of the world, but who never finds meaning in his life. Poignant and grand.
Mad Men is leaving the Prime Video catalog on July 2.