Mad Men: Season One Blu-ray: Review By Paolo Sardinas

Season One of this great show is an absolute joy to watch. It features some of the most interesting characters on TV living in the most interesting decade.
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
AMC's new hit is probably the best show on television. Though it may take you a few episodes to get hooked, once you do, you'll never let go.
The special features are a bit boring and plain despite the fact that they offer some plentiful information about the show's production.
Every now and then we, as in those of us who actually watch the TV, receive something which is absolutely groundbreaking. No it's not the new talk show premiering next week or what happened on Oprah. Every once in a while a show comes along that can define that little rectangular device we watch, also known as "the tube". These "out of the box" shows consist the likes of Miami Vice, The Shield, and The Sopranos. The writer/creator of the latter, Matt Weiner, has outdone himself again. His new "ground-breaker" is breaking ground over on AMC. Mad Men is impacting practically every single award show available for TV wins. Centering on the lives of some fairly interesting characters, Mad Men

: Season One, was an absolute joy to watch. Well made and extremely addictive, this show about ad-men is a delight.

Don Draper(Jon Hamm) is the ad executive for Sterling Cooper, an ad agency. The show revolves around this agency and lives of those who run it. From the first shot of this crisp freshly shaven man with dark hair hiding underneath a Brooks Brothers suit and puffing a cigarette you know he's got power, presence, and undeniable mystery. Those who literally engulf the life of Draper are an array of finely tuned stars who each have their own story arcs which makes the show extremely slow burning, but well worth your patience and viewing in the end. Now I don't want to sound like someone whose been around and knows everything, since I don't, but for an age of instant gratification it's nice to see a show which takes its time in unraveling the nice little surprise hidden throughout and manages to offer us something new exciting and fresh. No lame CGI and/or useless plots will be found in any of Mad Men's future seasons to come.

Some of these "engulfing" characters consist of mostly Don's fellow co-workers at the agency (where most of the action occurs). In the first season you have Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), the new secretary of Sterling Cooper who gets a higher role in Season Two but we won't worry about that one for now. Then we have the beautiful and voluptuous Joan (Christina Hendricks) whose basically the queen of the office. Her gorgeous looks are enough to fool even the smartest men. Vincent Cartheiser stars as the weasel Pete, junior exec whose only as brilliant as he thinks he is. Though he's a bit self centered and concerned about no one but himself, he still manages to get the job done. John Slattery as Roger Sterling, one of the head honchos of the company. Robert Morse(the Cooper part) is the other head honcho.

Now Janurary Jones plays the other very interesting and very entertaining part of the show. Her character, Betty Draper, is quite obviously the wife of Don Draper. Her role at the beginning of the show isn't entirely clear as she starts being kinda strange yet sexy. But her housewife persona is quite the other half of Don. The two have a children together and have a wonderful normal 60's American family together. By the second season things are heating up. There's my little spoiler for everyone.

Despite the strong characters and leads, the other strength of the show lies in its great attention to detail. Everything from the cars, to the rooms, paintings, clothes, fashion, everything is fully recaptured in this homage to the 1960's and all of those ideals. Hell even the milk cartons look the same. Even, of course, the ads used are original vintages of the early 60's. A time when everyone thought that space was the answer to man's problems we also have problems which are a bit more down to earth. Family values, relationships, work ethics, racism, and just life in society are general topics which are questioned all throughout the entire first season of Mad Men. Though now most of those original family values are gone, nonexistent some might say, its great to see them re-lived through the acts and lives of these finely tuned characters.

Matt Weiner has truly done it again. Just like his previous success, The Sopranos, Weiner has created another groundbreaking, critically acclaimed show which will continue to set the bar. Though it may be slow to get in to, if you give it a few episodes you will surely be hooked to this riveting and truly amazing show.
The best special feature which is offered is the Zippo lighter case which contains all four discs. Yes in re-creating the 60's smoking is a big deal. An interesting commentary for all 13 episodes is a pretty basic and generic but still fairly interesting. Disc 1 features an interview with the composer Carbonara as well as some music that is features throughout the entire first season. Disc 2 contains the very short "Advertising the American Dream" doc*mentary which probably one of the other better special features featured on the DVD. Disc 3 features the hour long doc*mentary "Establishing Mad Men" which obviously consists of the shows production and future productions. The special features are fairly entertaining. They're great in terms of material and information but I'm not to sure that anyone whose not an already fan of the series is going to really care for them.
The video of Season One is presented in a crisp and clear 1.78:1 transfer with crisp colors, saturation, and presentation. Definitely one of the finer jobs done within the realms of the TV season DVDs.
The sound is presented in an equally impressive Dolby 5.1 soundtrack. Now you can hear all of David Carbonara's amazingly moody compositions and scores for the show in perfectly crisp sound. Even the numerous songs used throughout the entire season, mostly at the end of an episode, are heard in great quality and help to bring back those good ol' days of the 60's.
Overall this Season One DVD is a fairly good deal. For the price you get plenty of special features and very good picture & audio quality. Though the special features will only entice fans of the show they're still good enough for the first timer to watch. So go ahead an give it a shot. A couple of episodes and I promise you will be hooked on this great show which redefines what it means to be a TV show.

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