Sunday, July 22, 2007

Will success spoil... uhm, this guy?

(Above: Steve Carell, the beefy version)

If watching a dozen or so characters on John From Cincinnati enact their own personal "Waiting For Godot" each week isn't doing it for you, and if you're like me and have come to the cold, hard realization that once The Wire is done, HBO's golden age of dramas is offically kaput (have you heard about their softcore, utterly tedious-looking , relationships-are-hard show?), you might find something watchable on AMC, of all channels. The first episode of Mad Men (check out that blatant HBO ripoff website design), Matthew Weiner's new show about advertising executives in 1960, shows promise of developing into something good. Weiner was a writer and executive producer of The Sopranos, and if you're guessing a Sopranos writer's take on early 60's ad men might be a bit jaded, well then perhaps you can tell me whether or not magic plays a role in the new Harry Potter book. Even for the time period, the first episode overdoes it a bit with the "hey toots" office sexism, and revels too easily in the irony of a prominent tobacco campaign (see this disappointed Slate review for more gripes), but compellingly square-jawed protagonist Don Draper shows enough flashes of Tony Soprano-like duality and shading - mainly during scenes with a female client - that you'll probably want to know where Weiner is taking his character within the context of the boozy, socially uneasy time period. By the final scene, the glimpse of the seemingly unattached Draper's home life even constitutes something of a surprise. The show's production values are also easy enough on the eyes to make us think we're in capable hands. Strong, burly, capable hands. What? You said something? No? Huh. Man, that redheaded secretary is stacked.

The next encore of the premiere is this Wednesday @ 10. As you can tell by the opening paragraph, The House Next Door is pretty enthusiastic about it and has promised the next few episodes turn it up a notch. And hey, what's that in the preview for episode two, a therapist's couch? Oooh, they really are trying to ease my Sopranos withdrawl.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I should note that after writing this post I haven't felt the slightest bit compelled to watch episodes two and three yet. So, uh, never mind, I guess.