I wasn’t too excited about the first couple of episodes of Mad Men this season, but finally caught up this weekend, and I’m really, really, really liking it a lot. I think what’s really grown on me is how much of what happens on the show isn’t on camera — it’s implied, or happens in the characters’ heads. There’s a ton that the team isn’t making explicit, isn’t doing some sort of corny exposition of, isn’t condescending to viewers. As a result, I think it’s really capturing a lot of what it’s like to live in our own, modern world.
In the show, this season especially, you can see most of the main characters struggling to figure out who they are, and who they think they should be — or need to be — in a world that’s changing in ways that they don’t quite understand yet. (Some backstory for folks who haven’t been watching: this season is set in 1962 and centers around a second tier Madison Avenue advertising firm — and some of the characters are just beginning to see glimmers that the future is going to be pretty different than what’s come before.)
And so there’s a lot of characters posing as something; trying out lives they think they should be living, but not always with great success. It’s a sadder show this season, seems to me, but I think there’s something incredibly modern about each of the characters as they try to make sense of the changes around them, as they try to read (and draw) maps of the world, as they try to figure out which way is home.
Anyway, I was pretty blown away by the last 2 episodes — great season so far.