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Entries in Mad Men (56)

Thursday
Jul102014

Emmy Nods 2014: Full List, First Impressions

The Emmy nominations have been announced for your viewing pleasure... unless your favorites were snubbed in which case here's the list to enrage you. Cable continues to ruthlessly dominate making things very hard for network shows - even hits like Scandal and The Good Wife. And Emmy proved again, as they often do, that they are very slow to change, largely embracing the same performers / shows they've always embraced as if they're only ever voting on the entirety of a show and not its current season.

I know people are very upset about Tatiana Maslany's ongoing snub for Orphan Black. She basically embarrasses every critic that's ever over-used the word "chameleon" to describe an actor; we should've saved the word for her. But this is not remotely surprising in any sense and I'm confused as to why so many people thought it might happen. The show is...  

a) ...not on a prestigious network like HBO
b) ...a genre show and awards bodies from Oscar to Emmy only deign to honor those when they're insanely popular and never just because they're great or an actor is great on them.
c) ...filled with actors (including Tatiana) who are not well known in Hollywood.
d) ...not as good as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica and those genre shows were egregiously snubbed for YEARS despite endless enraged fanbases and critical pleas

BUT ON TO THE NOMINEES...

COMEDY

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May292014

We've Hit The Emmy Eligibility Wall. Who Are You Rooting For?

Saturday May 31st marks the final day of Emmy eligibility for the 2014 ceremony. Given the wildly varying schedules of television series in our modern 1,000+ channel world, episodes airing after this date will still apply if the season has enough episodes out to qualify. Eligibility periods can get confusing. Take Penny Dreadful on cable and Black Box (with Kelly Reilly and Vanessa Redgrave) on ABC for perfect examples. Both debuted before the cutoff date but neither of them have aired more than half their first season episodes yet so do they qualify or do they have to wait until next year? (Any Emmy trivia experts out there know?) 

Simpler examples that can still be a bit headscratching to the flow of the calendar happen over at Netflix. [Lots more after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
May262014

Mad Men @ the Movies: That Wild Bunch and Their Waterloo?

Last night we said our final goodbyes to Mad Men. Oh wait, no. Our penultimate goodbye to Mad Men but boy did it feel like a series closer. There are seven episodes to go, ruthlessly delayed until 2015 which will serve no one but AMC executives, but I wouldn't blame anyone for saying their goodbyes now. You'd be going out on such a well earned high, a breath-taking, teary-eyed, conflicted-emotion farewell in two episodes.

I want to go to the movies!"

Peggy whines in "The Strategy" as she struggles through her doubts about a campaign pitch for potential new lucrative client Burger Chef. Mad Men almost always hits its peak whenever it zeroes back in on the long form pas de deux between Don and Peggy. In this episode they refind each other as Don (Jon Hamm) helps Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) trust in her own creativity and Peggy learns to forgive her hard-to-love mentor. It even ends with a weary actual dance. 

Don's other girl, Megan, also wants to go to the movies in the mid-season finale "Waterloo".  I adore that the movie referenced by name here is The Wild Bunch (1969) which she plans to see with a girlfriend even though Don pathetically implies that she wait 'but I want to see it, too'. Megan is done waiting as that curtain closing wordless airplane scene in "The Strategy" implied and she breaks up with Don in what seems like an amicable surrender, both parties too tired to keep fighting off the inevitable death of their marriage.

Nine men who came too late and stayed too long."

That tagline!

Let's try not to read too much into it even though the episode is also called "Waterloo" which didn't end so well for Napoleon; in Mad Men's timeline ᗅᗺᗷᗅ has yet to be invented to make final defeats sound adorable and fun again. Let's try not to read too much into it even though Mad Men has lasted 8 seasons (or 7 whatever. I hate this bifurcated bullshit). That tagline could describe just about any ensemble series then dared venture past season 5. (Season 6 is typically when even the greatest of tv series start to stumble. That's my story and I'm sticking to it)

Aside from Roger Sterling's business maneuver to keep the company and team he knows and loves together - the title implies this might not be the big save everyone thinks -- the big events are all piggybacked into one night and morning, the simultaneous moon landing (which everyone watches on TV) and the death of Bert Cooper (Robert Morse) and Peggy's next day Burger Chef pitch which she improvises to include the Moon landing awe. A hearty "Bravo" to the Mad Men creative team that figured out a way to braid all of this together with a bravura but atypical fantasy sequence in which the ghost of Bert Cooper sings "The Best Things in Life are Free." It's a wink to the long shadow impishness and prickly warts-and-all personality of the Cooper character over the tone of the whole series and a tip of the hat to Morse's own history as a song & dance man and the original Tony winning star of the 1961 musical "How To Succeed in Business Withour Really Trying". A tearful Don watches in stunned silence. 

I would like to file a class action lawsuit against AMC for intentional infliction of emotional distress for making us wait another entire year to see the last seven episodes of swansong to television's greatest series, even though they're already in the can gathering dust until 2015. But if the world suddenly ends between now and then, this would be a lovely send-off for the entire brilliant series.

Mad Men belongs to everyone,
The best thing in life on TV... ♫ 

The StrategyA-
Waterloo

Thursday
May152014

Mad Men @ the Movies: Mutilations, Model Shop, and Mojo

Don't open the box, Peggy, don't open the box! DON'T OPE

Too late. With so much time, cameras and distance between us Peggy didn't hear the shouting from my apartment. Yeah, I was actually shouting. I am generally as quiet with the TV as I am in movie theaters... unless the show calls for raucous participation like, oh, Election Night or Drag Race. And though Mad Men invites gasping and laughter and speculation and veritably lives to provoke responses those responses are generally of the sort that take time to unpack. 

Which is, perhaps, why I never write about the show. Or at least not weekly as intended. I'm always still unpacking; the show seems denser than ever what with its ever expanding universe (now bicoastal and double-floored in NYC) and ever growing cast of characters to populate the agency which has tripled (at least) in size since Season 1. That's a lot of baggage to unpack. And not just of the personal damage variety... though there's always been plenty of that in Matthew Weiner's masterwork.

A trip to the movies, intruding showbiz, and a couple of stray observations after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr142014

MM@M 7.1 Time Zones and Lost Horizons

As Mad Men at the Movies returns for its final bifurcated season so do we for Mad Men @ the Movies. 

Mad Men seasons never begin with a bang. They take time to gather momentum for their emotional, psychological, and thematic impact. The seventh season opener "Time Zones" proved no exception. Though we aren't clued in to a specific date I believe we're at the end of January 1969 given references to events of the previous season being "a couple of months" back and the weather which is pleasant in Los Angeles and frigid in New York. One smart out of time detail: Peggy, who lives alone much to her agony but spends all her time at work, still has a Christmas tree up in her apartment well past the holiday.

At the close of last season the newly merged ad firm was going bicoastal. We begin checking in with the New York characters before we return to our anti-hero lead, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) who is tellingly tied to neither coast and thus in limbo. 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Apr102014

22 Link Street

actually there's only 15 links... 15 link street. Lots of reads for you today, here and elsewhere

My New Plaid Pants has a wonderfully incisive review of Joe starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan
The Film Doctor nostalgia in the Smithsonian. Notes on Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Empire brilliant stage actor Mark Rylance will play Johnny Depp's father in Eyesore in Wonderland's sequel Through the Looking Glass
The Wrap Matt Damon planning to go solo on Mars in the sci-fi thriller The Martian about an astronaut marooned there. Remember when Matt got lost in the desert in Gerry? That was intense. I'm so ready for Matt to impress me again but honestly he's been a little dull onscreen of late. Needs a role that will shake him up.
Cinema Blend 22 Jump Street gets a final red band trailer

The Front Row on dream projects and Darren Aronofsky's Noah
Theater Mania Bullets Over Broadway opens on Broadway today in the effort to make the Great White Way an all 90s film adaptation monopoly. (Seriously there are so many) 
The Wrap The Truman Show (my #1 of 1998) which was about a reality tv show starring a man who didn't know he was the star of a tv show may well become a tv show. The levels.
THR Taylor Kitsch talks about his, uh, crotch in his pants on The Normal Heart. Costume design by Daniel Orlandi
Coming Soon the posters for How to Train Your Dragon 2 have arrived. I love that first film muchly but I worry about a sequel as I always do
Pajiba Mae Whitman (Parenthood, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) inexplicably cast as Designated Ugly Fat Friend in new comedy
The Wire has done a smart thing, surveying where we've been with each crucial Mad Men characters these past six years as we begin the final season this Sunday 
Vanity Fair Kierna Shipka (Mad Men) can't promise she won't break our hearts 

Anniversaries
The Wire Joe Reid ranks the cast of indie hit Go (such a good one) long after that road trip movie on its fifteenth anniverary. My favorite part was always the subtitled cat. 
Film School Rejects looks back at Shaun of the Dead on its 10th anniversary. What does it teach us about relationships?  

Today's Watch
Jon Stewart educates the Christian Right / Fox News axis of evil on the Bible and Noah. I seriously would lose my sanity dealing with the news if it weren't for Jon Stewart

 

 

 

Thursday
Mar272014

"The Last Days of Mad Men" (I'll Just Be Over Here Crying)

In 17 days the final season of Mad Men begins. 

 

Time Magazine is already prepping us for the end though the final season will be annoyingly severed at the center and stretching well into 2015. We live in such extreme pop culture times, right? Movies and televison both are now in the habit of splitting endings into two parts. On the other side we have binge-watching. Sensible pacing, somewhere inbetween, may well soon be extinct. 

I'll just be over here in the corner crying when the show wraps up whenever it does. Generally speaking when a successful show wraps up we should be happy to say goodbye. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for example, was part of my soul but it was time for Sunnydale to crater. Too many shows overstay their welcome (shows that maintain their quality past season 4 or 5 are as rare as unicorns) but Mad Men. Are you ready? I am not. Maybe by 2015?

Which shows were hardest for you to say goodbye to?