Farewell Mad Men – how America has regressed since the age of Don Draper

18 05 2015

That’s the title of a provocative essay by Sheffield University historian Sarah Miller Davenport on the Conversation website.

It is no surprise that historians are among the biggest fans of the show, not only for its famed, almost neurotic, attention to period detail, but because Mad Men uses its characters to explore the impact of historical developments on a human scale. Mobility, both physical and figurative, has always been a core theme of the show – and it is one that speaks directly to the mood of postwar America.

New Season of “Mad Men”

16 08 2009

The season premier of the hit TV series Mad Men was broadcast on the US cable channel AMC tonight. Sadly, AMC isn’t available in Canada (unless you have a grey market satellite dish), so I will have to wait a bit to see this episode, which will eventually be carried on the Canadian channels Showcase and CTV. (Episodes from the first two seasons of Mad Men can be downloaded from the CTV website).

In case you don’t know, Mad Men is a TV show set in New York advertising agency in the early 1960s. I’m told by somewhat who was an adult at that time (my father) that the show captures the feel of the period quite well. The most striking thing for the modern viewer is the casual sexism the male characters display for towards their female co-workers. Unlike so many period pieces, this show goes beyond recreating the period and gives us believable characters and a very compelling story line. Mad Men is one of my favourite shows. It’s also one of the most popular dramas out their. Indeed, the show is so popular that it has a started a mini-trend of people emulating the 1960s fashions of the Mad Men characters. Banana Republic, a US chain, has launched a Mad Men line of clothing, which is being promoted by actors from the show.

Frank Rich had a piece about the launch of the third season of Mad Men in Sunday’s New York Times. Today’s Toronto Star carried lavish praise of the show.