Monday, April 08, 2013

Mad Men

The one thing that last night's season premiere of Mad Men has made me realise is how terribly-written everything else on TV is.

Not only is every character interesting and witty and realistic, they're all different characters - so many shows seem to have two or three archetypes in different outfits, and rarely delve into what makes them the way they are. Mad Men is all about personal histories, how they've shaped characters and what they're doing to embrace or reject the journey they've been through.

A huge amount of credit also has to go to the directors and actors, who can string together four slow shots of John Hamm looking at a cigarette lighter and make it an important character moment.

The episode seemed to be edited really oddly, though - I'm not sure if it's just the file we watched (there seemed to be some weirdness with the download), but some of the cuts between scenes were very disorienting. One jump in particular went from an apartment building doorman having a heart attack straight to a conversation after he's back at work, apparently weeks later, with no indication of what happened in the meantime.

It's maybe because of the two-hour running time, but it actually felt like this episode was doing more than setup - more than can be said for the first two episodes of Game of Thrones so far, which still seem to be putting pieces on the board rather than doing anything interesting with them. Maybe it's because the focus in Mad Men is on the characters' inner conflict and turmoil rather than GoT's broader scope that it's able to just tell a story - which is also helped by its episodic format, while Game of Thrones is a serialized, ten-hour movie.

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