Welcome to a Mad New World. Season Four of Mad Men, 3-time Emmy winner for Outstanding Drama Series and winner of 3 consecutive Golden Globes, returns for a new year rife with possibilities. Last season stunned fans with its cliffhanger finale, as Don Draper’s professional and personal lives unexpectedly imploded. In Season 4, Jon Hamm and the rest of the breakout ensemble continue to captivate us as they grapple with an uncertain new reality.
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The 4th season of the classy TV drama Mad Men, set in NYC during the mid-sixties, is more concentrated around the core characters than previous seasons. Some of the characters that you could see in the first three seasons were left behind in the cliff-hanger between season three and four. In my opinion this is to the benefit of the series. Mad Men is a slow paced drama which slick and cool style keeps you on the edge of your seat. The dialogue and acting are top notch. Highly recommended!
This season was definitely a mixed bag, with several high points and low points. Don Draper, in particular, showed marked changes in character and demeanor. Apparently, he's showing his "true inner self" and is no longer the "Be all/ Know all" whom we've all come to expect. The other characters continue to grow and develope as well, and there is enough residual suspense to heighten our anticipation of next season's offerings. Overall, this season wasn't quite as good as Season 3 --down from 5-Stars to 4-Stars. But it was still a heckuva lot better than a lot of the other stuff found on TV.
This season represents a tide change for the cast of Mad Men. Now in the mid-60s, we see Don and company haunted by the past, most notably in Roger's anti-Japanese sentiments, the resolution of Don and Betty's relationship, and the loss of one of Don's closest companions. These closures leave the characters hanging in the present, against the backdrop of the black civil rights movement and embryonic feminism, and the sense of frustration the characters have from having their desires made unobtainable is palpable. However Don does what Don does best, which is to reinvent himself and his environment, and this moves the Season forward to a surprising ending. Best bits? For me, Don looking at the newspaper article about the Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston fight, with the iconic photo of them in the ring, and realizing that he was witnessing history in the making was just great. Also, it may sound weird, but the fact Don started a journal was a really cool idea. Don, the 'man of his time', who perhaps represents the postmodern ideal, making an attempt to communicate with himself and skirt his sub-conscious is fascinating.
Superb. As enjoyable as the first three series were, Series 4 hits new heights. This is one of the best things I have seen in a long, long time. Buy it now.
I accept that Mad Men has become a high class soap. Probably it always was, but in series one, it hinted at drama of a different level. However, the distinctions between soap and drama are often far from clear (Tennessee Williams, Faulkner, Edward Albee all share a taste for melodramatic situations and family squabbles, for example). Directors like Douglas Sirk used soap situations to make beautifully shot films and explore social issues. Mad Men 4, soap or not, continues to be excellent television, still beautifully scripted, always compelling viewing. The first couple of episodes start slowly, but once the series gets into its stride, charting Don's loss of timing as a business and creative ad man and with the women he chases, it exerts its previous dramatic grip. Don, separated, goes into partial decline, until saved by Peggy, the character with whom he is most closely aligned - spiritually. The magazine articles like to focus on Don (and Joan), but the Peggy character is really at the heart of Mad Men - her intelligence, her attention to her work, her strength and the way she deals with her problems. If I may offer some film comparisons: A Star is Born, the aging male pop star in decline, the young female one in the ascent. Another analogy to consider is the relationship in Saturday Night Fever. A well dressed talented man, with a troubled personal life and a feisty girl on the up in Manhattan. He wants her as a lover, but in the end they shake hands and become friends. Are these too the trajectories of Don and Peggy - a fine romance or a moving friendship? As in previous Mad Men series, the secondary characters all get their own stories in different episodes. Pete, Roger, Joan, Lane - superbly acted, excellently scripted. There is also much fun and drama to be had from Don's many and varied secretaries. Series 4 takes us into the mid sixties, with the clothes, sets, music all changing. Beatnik parties and Simon and Garfunkel. Where Mad Men is ultimately going after this series I don't know, but I hope the show goes out in a blaze of glory, dying young, like a 60's pop star, because I never want to see Don in big lapels and a kipper tie, drunk, the wrong side of middle-aged and not cool anymore, slavering over women half his age. Jeez, I've got my own life if I want that! Mad Men 4 - it's still 'must watch' television.
great series, this one was just as good as previous seasons if not better!