Did you ever notice that almost every Mad Men episode ends with Don Draper staring blankly? [more inside]
The Four Worst Types of TV Critics In all four cases—the Theorists, the Activists, the Purists, and the Partisans—we’re treating the inherently subjective fields of art and art criticism as things we can be objectively right about. We’re taking work that’s complex and capable of conveying multiple contradictory meanings and reducing it to a simple either/or, yes/no proposition. In other words, we’re fucking up.
Perhaps the most dangerous effect of the Big Crunch mentality has been to make television creators think of themselves as auteurs, to convince them that in spite of the massive interference with their work, they can somehow create a work of aesthetic integrity and sociological insight even if they don’t know where it’s going. Well, sometimes you get lucky, but more often, the result is disaster, and the effort spent toward that failure is redirected from where it would be better put: creating great trash. An essay on the challenges and pitfalls of writing serialized TV plots from The American Reader. [more inside]
Legendary Mad Men blog "Mad Style" sets out to explain Bob Benson to a twenty-first century that is apparently ill-prepared to understand him. [more inside]
In Defense of Betty. "I’ve always thought that the whole point is that Betty is a victim of her time and circumstances, of the very narrow, constricted gender roles (remember the ill-fitting dress she’s holding up against herself as she contemplates being a political wife) that she and women like her were forced — expected, if that seems less loaded — to assume. Those roles were deforming, and, sure enough, they’ve deformed Betty." [more inside]
Mad Men Season 6 (and simultaneous saturation coverage) begins again tonight. As the show winds down, along with the decade that defined it, the 1960s, critics are wondering "What's the best ending for the best series on TV? Can it survive the onset of the 1970s?"
Mad Men + Mean Girls = Mean Mad Men.
"First of all, we almost had no battle at all. For budgetary reasons we came very, very close to having all the action take place off-screen, the way plays have handled battle scenes for a few thousand years." - How the epic battle at the heart of the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Blackwater, written by George R. R. Martin and directed by Neil Marshall, came to be. Mentor relationships in Game of Thrones (and Mad Men). The National's Lannister song. And, perhaps sriking closest of all to the central themes of the show, Jezebel plays Game of Thrones: Marry, Fuck, Kill.
Linda Holmes, NPR: "It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep." (spoilers in links) [more inside]
"TV is where writers get to tell interesting stories right now, because writers, for the most part, run television." Matthew Weiner of Mad Men, Vince Gilligan of Breaking Bad and David Milch of Deadwood talk to GQ about writing for television. Also: The New Rules of TV everything you need to know about the Golden Age of Television. Want to hear even more about the world of writing rooms, showrunners and screenwriting? Check out the Nerdist Writer's Panel Podcast.
The success of The Walking Dead, paradoxically, has left the network with an unusual dilemma. Like the executives of Mad Men’s Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, AMC is facing an existential question: How do I grow my business without sacrificing who I am? The Zombies at AMC’s Doorstep. TL;DR version: How AMC Explains the Brutal Economics of Cable Television
"This family album isn't all-encompassing. 'The Sopranos' had many parents and grandparents, and it spawned many more offspring than can be covered in one slide show. We've just focused on some of the more colorful ancestors and descendants in the family tree."
The first episode of season four of Mad Men (so much previously [meta-previously]) aired tonight. Shortly after, the first "Mad Men"': A Conversation blog entry was posted on the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy blog. There will be a post for every episode. [more inside]
Mad About Mad Men: The flaws in Mad Men's period detail and the show's greater triumphs. [more inside]
The Footnotes of Mad Men explores and discusses the historic events, themes, and cultural mores of the show.