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Friday, July 20, 2007

Drinking, Lying, Cheating, Smoking and Making Dreams Come True (Mad Men, the Show)

10mDid anyone catch last night's premiere of "Mad Men," the new show on AMC about the adveristing industry's evils and excesses in the early 60s? I'm curious as to what people thought of it...and if there are any good discussions on it, please point me to them.

In a nutshell, I thought some was well done and some was waaay overdone. Insofar as characters, I like the lead, the lead's mistress and, most especially, the head secretary--I'm not being politically incorrect, this was 1960 and women in administrative roles were given the title of secretary (and smoking and drinking at work, in the ad industry, is portrayed as not only permitted but very much encouraged...well, at least for the men).

But I can't quite transition the youngest ad man's character, Pete, played by Vincent Kartheiser, from his days being Angel's son Connor (while not a huge fan of Angel, the series served as a quick fix when Buffy left the airwaves).

Overall I give the premiere a 7.5-8 out of 10. Here's the NYT Review.

The press and ad campaigns? Quite good. In fact, it's due to the great signage treatments done at Grand Central (specifically at the GCT/Times Square Subway Shuttle location) that prompted me to watch the show. An interesting comment from the Mad Men blog--which is far from riveting--was that the between-commercial advertising factoids kept one viewer from TiVo-ing over the commercials. And I understand each factoid tied into the commercial that followed it. So they seemed effective for this episode. I personally found the factoids annoying because while trying to fast-forward through the breaks I kept thinking I was missing the show and ended up watching a lot of commercials from pharma companies which claimed "these are not actors" (which just made me say "Am I really supposed to believe that?").

But here's a very interesting factoid: all episodes are available via iTunes the day after they air. So AMC is due a BIG thank you for letting viewers have what they want, how they want it, and, more to the point, not making them wait to have what they want when they want it. While that seems common sense, it's a big move by this network to move this show and AMC's new "original drama series" programming format forward (and at $1.99/episode, gives the cable network a new, near real-time revenue stream). Watch for more to follow.

According to AMC: "Offering our content on iTunes gives consumers the unique ability to view Mad Men episodes when and where they want, providing the show with the ability to have a stronger voice to reach a wider audience," said Charlie Collier, EVP and General Manager of AMC. "We couldn't be more excited about Mad Men. This is an important series for AMC as it marks the first time the network is delving into the original drama series arena. Leading up to the premiere, Mad Men has already received industry wide critical acclaim. We are thrilled by the critics' response and are eagerly awaiting the premiere."

Anyhow, for those that watched it let me know what you thought of the show and the campaigns--and where people are chattin' it up. Thanks ;-).

Comments

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Overall, I liked the show and I'll probably watch it again. The stereotypes are so obvious, but it was fun to watch them.

Yes, the factoids between commercials made it trickier to fast-forward through the ad pod. But that's the idea. They want/need you to watch the ads, after all.

My rating -- it ain't The Sopranos, but it's good TV. I'd give it a 7 or 8.

@David: Yeah, the stereotypes are way obvious. Was thinking while it grated on our nerves a bit, it might be necessary for this show to be a true "large audience" play. Otherwise, it might be too trade. I would think shows like ER and LA Law felt the same ways to docs and lawyers.

But I could be wrong.

Also, the young smarmy guy's character needs to get stronger or something. He's the outlier IMO.

CK: I just did a whole post on it, which you all can read at:
http://tangerinetoad.blogspot.com/2007/07/mad-men.html

George Parker, who's been working in advertising since the mid-60s has an interesting take on it at AdScam

Toad

CK: I have a couple of posts and dozens of comments from many people about the show on...
www.adscam.typepad.com
Some of the comments are from old farts like me who were actually in the business in the 60's... Unlike the writers of Mad Men, who can be forgiven for some of the factual errors in the show, but not for the cliche ridden and somewaht expected dialogue... I'll keep watching though, to see if it improves.
Cheers/George

PS: Putting the show on iTunes the day after isn't a novel idea: lots of network TV shows do that. Helps make money, but messes with the ratiings: Studio 60 was a top download on iTunes and also big on DVRs, but the ratings were mediocre. Much was made over that- did the more educated upscale audience the show reached in those formats make up for the low ratings. NBC said no. (I think it was on NBC)

AMC made the initial episode of MadMen a free download, which is something other shows have done to build an audience: get them hooked on iTunes and they'll come back for more. It's a smart move, especially for a network like AMC, that isn't known for its original programming.

I think Mad Men's a gem ... this Thursday's episode was especially powerful ... http://paullevinson.blogspot.com/2007/08/mad-men-4-and-5-double-mad-men.html

I was in the mall shopping for a picture frame for a relatively close friend of mine. She had just come home from her honeymoon and we were getting together this coming weekend to catch up and look at her photos . As I was walking into the store I made eye contact with her husband, surprisingly he approached me and we began speaking to one another. Now, I had only met him about three or four times before because after they met she stopped seeing many of her friends as with most new relationships. It was a brief dating period for them, in fact, they were married within five months of meeting each other. He was very pleasant, in fact he was overly nice and was leading into conversations that were making me feel a little uneasy. He started asking personal questions about my relationships and made an inquiry about me going out with a newly married man and how he could really show me a good time. He asked for my cellphone number and would not stop until I gave in,"WHAT A FOOL I AM" Now I don't know what to do, I can't tell my her because it will end my friendship for sure and I can't possibly go to her home and pretend this didn't happen. I confided with another close friend of mine and she told me about this site http://urajerk.com/ At first I thought is was just another one of those sites that pop up here and there but I checked it out. I must say I like it and thats why I am spreading the word. I was able to send him a few cards with some personal anonymous messages, he will know they are from me, but no one else will. I love this site because I can at least tell him that he is a F#%//ng JERK. Has anyone else gone through this crap before? How can men be such assholes? I mean JERKS!!

I watched the director and actors talk about the filming of Mad Men and the early 60's cultural context of the series.let's see this show http://download-mad-men-episodes.edogo.com here.......

I must say that the directors of this show has used lot of brain while produce this show. Its an outstanding show. The storyline, characters and costumes are really very very fabulous. I just love to Mad Men TV Show online.

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