Tuesday 9 February 2010

Mad Men - My new favourite drama

Having loved the The Sopranos and become obsessed with The Wire, there's been a gap in my life just waiting to be filled by another critically acclaimed US drama series. Well it's been filled now, I've discovered Mad Men.

I've actually known about the show for a couple of years, but I never really found the time to get round to watching it. It was on BBC4 which I don't always get a chance to watch on a regular basis, and there's only so many of these award winning US dramas you can watch at one time. But I always knew it was probably the sort of thing that I'd like.

Set in New York as the beginning of the 1960s the show focuses on the lives of a group of advertising men on New York's Madison Avenue. At the centre of the show is the mysterious Don Draper, the main character along with his bored suburban housewife Betty.

It's an incredibly stylish programme particularly in the way it's shot, and I just love the opening sequence. Plus I've always loved 60s fashion which they've really captured the best of.

Because it's set in the not too distant past it presents a world that's still vaguely familiar to us but at the same time shockingly different.

Season One Trailer

Within the first couple of minutes of watching, I couldn't get over the fact at just how much people smoke in the show. You never see people smoking on telly anymore, but this is the early 60s and that's what it was like.

In the show you have pregnant women smoking like chimneys you almost want to shout at them 'What are you doing?'

Along with the fact that characters rarely appear without a cigarette or drink in their hands, it's also quite shocking the level of outright sexism and casual racism.

Part of the show's appeal is definitely one of slight nostalgia, in terms of looking at a world where political correctness didn't exist, where smoking and drinking all day wasn't frowned upon, but practically encouraged!

Of course it wasn't all a bed of roses back in the early 60s and we should remember all the social, political and cultural advances we've made since then.

If you haven't seen the show, Season Three is currently running on BBC1 on Tuesday nights, and you can also watch it on BBC iplayer. If not you can get the box sets like me.

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