Its lack of nostalgia is what makes Mad Men, an AMC original series, the most interesting show on television. Considering it is set in the early 1960s wealthy Manhattan business world, this is a major feat.
On one hand, the show makes it easy to be impressed with the art and look of the times, but, on another, it repeatedly shows you why today is a whole lot better. Bad things fill its scenes constantly and to repeat them would sound like a sociology lecture.
The ringmaster of this circus is Donald Draper, played by Jon Hamm. He is the perfect business man: A creative genius who also can craft cunning strategy. And he’s as handsome as stylists can make ‘em.
Draper will almost always do the wrong thing but has been able, up to this point, to continue to live his life’s lie. He still needs his comeuppance, which will be mirroring America as the show progresses through the 1960s social upheaval. I am waiting to see how Draper and the others will react, which is half the fun and half the dread.
The show’s opening credits provide the correct tone up front: A heavy, black shape of a man falling from a skyscraper through a delicate sea of light, pastel-colored feminine advertising. Obviously, this is no Man in the Gray Flannel Suit—our man has no hope for redemption.