Mad Men season 5 Blu-ray Review
Don Draper is one of, if not the, coolest characters in the history of television. I’m sure I’ve said something like that before, but as I’m watching the fifth season of Mad Men, I can’t help but be enamored with our favorite ad exec. Over the past five seasons, the show has come a long way and is a perfect example of how great a show can be when its show-runners actually listen to fan feedback. The show is now less of a soap opera and much more a drama about advertising executives in the 60’s, all revolving around Draper. Season five picks up where season four left off and continues the upward momentum.
Don is now remarried to the beautiful and sexy Megan (Jessica Pare), whom we met towards the end of the fourth season. But now she’s more of a star and creator Matt Weiner has turned her into a sex symbol, embodying every man’s fantasy, complete with doing housework in lingerie to doing a sexy rendition of the French song ‘Zou Bisou Bisou’. The show focuses a lot on the relationship between Don and Megan, bringing Don’s eventual discontent to a simmer throughout the season. Don is a conflicted character and the theme of the entire series is his inability to find the happiness he’s looking for. Megan is another aspect of Don’s life that we thought would bring him happiness, but as the show progresses, we realize she’s not the answer. Speaking of non-answers, Betty (January Jones) is barely an afterthought in season 5, which eliminates one of the worst aspects of the show from previous seasons. She’s essentially been replaced by the much more talented and interesting Megan. The downside is that when Betty does show up, she brings the entire show to a grinding halt. I’m assuming Weiner feels the way I do and just needs a reason to keep the kids away from Don and Megan.
My favorite aspect of the show is still the business and advertising angles and the fifth season delivers on the business aspects. There’s a great storyline involving Pryce (Jared Harris), who continues to struggle while surrounded by more successful and charismatic businessmen. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) had a bit of a diminished role, but it worked well with the season. A little Pete can go a long way and I’m relieved that his sometimes annoying, whiney behavior has been replaced by a more confident, if still unhappy, man.
If there’s a fault with the subplots in the show, it revolves around the lack of screen-time for Peggy (Elisabeth Moss). I still think the student-mentor relationship she has with Don is fantastic, especially as it was explored in the fourth season. But season five abandons that relationship, culminating in a confusing ending that left me wondering what will happen to the one strong, confident female character in the show.
I’m obviously a huge fan of AMC’s ‘Mad Men’ and for my money, it remains one of the top two or three shows on television. The fifth season, more than previous seasons, showcased some fantastic dialogue that you’ll probably make a note to yourself to use in the future. Jon Hamm continues to portray Don Draper as a flawed, yet likeable and confident character, making every episode of the show a joy to watch. ‘Mad Men’ is television at its best.
Video: ‘Mad Men’ continues to look great on Blu-ray as one of the best looking dramas on the format. Some shows have just a minor difference between the Blu-ray and their DVD counterpart, but the Blu-rays of ‘Mad Men’ look absolutely beautiful
Audio: The audio is also very impressive, especially for a dialogue-heavy drama.
Audio Commentaries: Several of the episodes had commentaries featuring various cast and crew. There are commentaries on twelve of the interviews.
Mad Men Say the Darndest Things (16:40): This is a short featurette about the writing on the series. It’s a fun little bit and worth the watch.
What is There to Love if not the Enigma (17:08): A short featurette about the artist Giorgio de Chirico, his work was the inspiration of the scene where Don Draper sees his reflection between two mannequins in the department store window.
The Party of the Century (23:03): This is about Truman Capote and the background on his Black and White Ball.
Scoring Mad Men: Themes of Season 5 (27: 54):All about the composer David Carbonara and the orchestrator Geoff Stradling who contributed the score to the television show.
Scoring Mad Men: Inside a Session (21:15): Similar to the featurette above, but focuses on one single episode.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 (5:22): A brief history of Daylight Saving Time.
Newsweek Magazine Digital Gallery: a collection of Newsweek covers from the time period.