Mad Men Season 4 (Blu-ray)
When season 3 of AMC’s hit show ‘Mad Men’ ended, the gang at the former Sterling Cooper ad firm was in disarray. Our hero, Don Draper, was about to get a divorce, start a new company and was still struggling to hang onto his secret as more people started figuring it out. For the characters involved, this was a tough time, but to the fans of the show, this was a very exciting time. Seasons two and three had lost some of the luster from the first season and this upheaval was a chance for the show to come back strong in season four.
We pick up a few months after the end of season three and most of the dust has settled as far as starting the new company Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Price. They have new offices and new clients and things are going somewhat well, even though they’re not as big as they were. As the season progresses, they reach back and grab Ken Cosgrove, who brought with him a few decent accounts, including Mountain Dew. But trouble soon creeps up when their biggest client, Lucky Strike, threatens to jump ship. This prompts an unusual response from Draper, which sets us up well for season 5.
The previous two seasons stumbled by focusing too heavily on the relationship between Draper and his wife Betty. The show went from being a great, original drama about advertising in the 60’s to feeling more like a daytime soap opera. But in season four, she’s already remarried and doesn’t even show up for some episodes. When she’s there, I hate her with a fiery passion, but she doesn’t distract from the overall show, which is a welcomed relief. The simple act of reducing Betty’s role in the show was enough to make the entire fourth season better, and it allowed the filmmakers the opportunity to go back and cultivate some of the relationships that had gotten lost earlier on.
Most notably, the relationship between Draper and Peggy Olson was developed to a point that I can declare their dynamic to be the strongest in the show. It’s strictly platonic (and should remain so), but Draper has more of a connection with her than anyone else. I loved watching as their respect for one another grew. Of course, we couldn’t get to this point without some serious character development with Draper, which we finally made strides on in the fourth season. It’s a little disheartening to see our hero become more human as some of us want him to remain a cold, calculating man that likes his liquor and women, but it’s important for the show that the audience sees some layers to the main character. Don’t get me wrong, Draper is still as cool as ever, but his character has definitely changed.
If you were like me and had grown tired of the relationship drama between Don and Betsy, then you’ll be happy to know that season four focuses the majority of its time on the ad business and the relationships in the office. It solidifies ‘Mad Men’s position as one of the best dramas on television and Don Draper’s place as one of the coolest characters around, despite the fact that Jon Hamm went to Mizzou.
Video (1080p High Definition): ‘Mad Men’ always looks great, but there were a few shots that looked like they missed the transfer process. I don’t understand how that happens, but it’s frustrating when it does.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): This is a dialogue heavy show, but it’s crystal clear.
Commentaries: There are commentaries on each and every episode of this season. They range from directors to writers to actors. Some are entertaining and some are not, but if you are a true MAD MEN fan then you’ll have a good time reliving each episode with some insight.
Divorce: Circa 1960’s (1:19:36): This is a documentary broken down into three parts that discusses the divorce problem in the 1960’s and how it affected the family lives. Clips from the show are thrown in for emphasis and there are experts to expand on the topic. It’s very interesting to watch.
How to Succeed in Business Draper Style (56:29): A featurette broken into two parts that has real businessmen talk about Don Draper’s business style and whether or not it’s effective. Don Draper junkies or wannabe’s should enjoy this.
Marketing the Mustang: An American Icon (27:07): A feature on the Ford Mustang and its impact on America in the early 60’s.
1964 Presidential Campaign (31:12): This is an in-depth featurette about the presidential campaign between Johnson and Goldwater, it’s very informational and history buffs will really enjoy this feature.