Friday, January 14, 2011

TV review – “Mad Men – Season 2 to 4” (2008-2010) ****1/2

Excellent run of episodes which I’m reviewing all in one lot since the quality was so consistently high across the board.

Highlights of season 2 include Jimmy Barrett, the obnoxious comedian (a brilliant character - where did that actor come from?), Joan mentoring Peggy, Jimmy’s wife and Don getting involved in a car accident and Peggy having to come to the rescue, Joan being affected by the death of Marilyn Monroe, Freddy’s alcoholism causing an embarrassment at work.

Season 3 explores Sal’s love life movingly – I’m surprised that they drop this character at the end of the season. Don has another serious relationship, this time with his kid’s teacher (what happened to her?); an outlandish plot twist – someone having their foot severed – works surprisingly well; Roger has a shock marriage (this was terrific and very believable); the JFK assassination is done very cleverly. There is also a very exciting “office politics” finale, with our heroes battling against unsympathetic bosses.

Season 4 goes up to 1964 at which point you might think the fun starts to fade – but not here. Don keeps having affairs (increasingly close to home) and freaking out; his daughter Sally freaks out (really good acting from the little girl); Don hooks up with a really nice, appropriate lady, a shrink, but goes off a secretary (Jessica Pare), just like Roger; Peggy finally finds love. The season finale isn’t as strong as in previous seasons, although there’s a lovely scene between Peggy and Joan after the find out Don’s getting married to his secretary.

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