Search - Mad Men: Season Two on DVD


Mad Men: Season Two
Mad Men Season Two
Actors: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks
Director: Matthew Weiner
Genres: Drama, Television
UR     2009     0hr 45min

Genre: Television: Series Rating: TV14 Release Date: 14-JUL-2009 Media Type: DVD
     
     

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Movie Details

Actors: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks
Director: Matthew Weiner
Creators: Robin Veith, Christopher Manley
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Drama
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 07/14/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 0hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 6
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Mad Men Living in a World Gone Mad.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 10/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sopranos' writer, Matthew Weiner's Mad Men series is arguably the best reason to own a television these days. Set in 1960s New York City, the show involves a group of Madison Avenue ad executives and their secretaries working, smoking, drinking, and socializing together at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency. In the show's first season, Mad Men provided viewers with a window into an American culture of Nixon-era social taboo-isms: alcoholism, sexism, racism, and consumerism, which is mainly what made Mad Men so fascinating. It's easy to see why the show won two Golden Globe awards in 2007 for Best Television Series - Drama, and Best Actor in a Television Series - Drama and the Emmy Award for Best Outstanding Drama Series. Imagine the "Mad-ness" of a bunch of complicated, alcoholic, Nixon-era, GQ ad men in starched white shirts, spending their workdays in a fog of cigarette smoke, and you'll have the basic premise of this highly-acclaimed, must-see show.

Mad Men's characters are a truly well-drawn bunch. For instance, the protagonist, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), is not only the creative director and junior partner of Sterling Cooper, he is also the illegitimate son of a prostitute, now living an assumed identity to hide his inner "whore child" from his wife and competitive Madison Avenue colleagues. Don is unhappy with his life. He drinks Jack Daniels, chain smokes Lucky Strikes, cheats on his trophy wife Betty (January Jones), and constantly dreams of escaping his life. He is known to sneak away from work to see afternoon foreign movie matinees. Betty, a former model, represents the classic '50s homemaker, but suffers from profound loneliness, sexual frustration, and dissatisfaction with her "perfect" life. (In Season One, we learned that household appliances literally give her orgasms.) With aspirations of becoming the agency's first woman copywriter, Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) was a new secretary at Sterling Cooper, who was unexpectedly confronted with an unwanted pregnancy. Italian bachelor, Salvatore Romano (Bryan Batt), is Sterling Cooper's macho art director, a homosexual afraid to come out of the closet, and equally afraid to act on his sexual impulses.

Season Two premiered on July 27, 2008 and picks up on Valentine's Day, 1962, two years after the first season during the Kennedy administration, an era marked by the growing civil rights movement, Bob Dylan, free love, increasing feminine discontent, crumbling marriages, the threat of nuclear annihilation, Leave It to Beaver, and New York poet Frank O'Hara's ever-ominous 1957 message of mortality: Meditations in an Emergency. Much of Season One's comic edge is now gone, and the tone of the show is more melancholic. While Don and Betty Draper experience marital problems, enigmatic Don experiences a full-blown existential crises while away on a business trip to sunny Los Angeles. Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) becomes disillusioned with his own "perfect" marriage and realizes he is in love with Peggy (Moss). The series ends under the cloud of the looming Cuban Missile Crisis. Mad Men remains television at its best.

12/12/08 Update: Mad Men and Jon Hamm received Golden Globe nominations this week for Season Two of Mad Men.


G. Merritt"
One of TV's best shows gets even better
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 01/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Update (1/11/09): MAD MEN just won the Golden Globe for the second straight year for Best Drama. Well deserved.

Frankly, I'm pretty despondent about the future of quality TV on the major four networks. The recent cancellation by ABC of the breathtakingly brilliant PUSHING DAISIES was the first major blow. When a show this great can get cancelled for weak (not genuinely bad, merely weak) ratings, you feel that something has gone wrong with commercial television. For one thing, TV history is resplendent with shows that started off weakly and then succeeded a couple of years into their run. THE X-FILES, SEINFELD, THE OFFICE, and 30 ROCK all started off with weak ratings, only to build an audience later. The second horrific piece of news undermining my confidence in commercial TV was NBC's announcement that starting next year Jay Leno will get FIVE HOURS (!) of prime time for a more politically oriented version of his talk show. First, why would we want Leno when we already have Stewart and Colbert? Second, this means losing FIVE HOURS (!!!!) of scripted programming on NBC each week. This is a recipe for disaster. And an act of despair. NBC clearly doesn't think it can produce 15 hours of quality TV a week, so it is trying to produce only 10 and then take the super cheap option with Leno. NBC, I have news for you: you get what you pay for.

MAD MEN could well be the model for successful quality TV shows in the future. Although it gets very low ratings, on AMC it is safe from cancellation because of its widespread critical acclaim. More and more, niche cable networks seem to be the place where quality TV series manage to thrive and avoid the constant threat of cancellation. AMC in fact has two superb series, MAD MEN and the very promising BREAKING BAD (which was seriously truncated by the writers' strike last year) and they've announced a new Sci-fi series based upon Kim Stanley Robinson's acclaimed Mars trilogy, about the settling of colonies on Mars. The series is taking its title from the first of Robinson's novels, RED MARS.

So, while I'm on the verge of giving up on ABC, NBC, and FOX (though under new head of programming Kevin Reilly its shows have become more interesting and he has so far resisted to kill shows prematurely as his predecessors did). CBS I gave up on years ago, since the network seems content to churn out an endless number of bland police procedurals. AMC, F/X, Showtime, HBO, ABC Family, the Sci Fi Channel, and similar networks may be where we all go in the future for the best shows.

MAD MEN became the first show not on one of the big four networks or HBO to win the Emmy for Best Drama this past summer. It will almost certainly win again this coming summer, since Season Two was even better than Season One. Moreover, during Season Two the show started building a buzz, culminating with a great appearance by Jon Hamm on SNL, including a skit with some of his MAD MEN guest stars. The show became part of our cultural sensibility, inspiring magazine photo spreads. I still think the show is one that people tend to know about rather than know. Thankfully people who do not have access to AMC can catch up on DVD (I watch it as it comes out, but my cable company shows AMC in low-def rather than high-def, so much of the show's physical beauty can only be recaptured on DVD or Blu-ray).

As good as the show was in Season Two, the sophomore season was even more brilliant. In my review of Season One, I mentioned that Jon Hamm's character Don Draper exemplifies Thoreau's statement that most people live "lives of quiet desperation." In Season Two, Hamm and his carefully constructed existence gradually begins coming apart at the seams. His Stepford Wife Betty begins to come apart at more than the seams. I really enjoyed January Jones in Season One, but primarily she was a beautiful manikin. In Season Two the human being inside is psychically rebelling against the roles she is being forced to play and the result is someone who is on the verge of collapse. One scene in particular was compelling. As she prepares for a dinner party she notices that one of the dining room chairs is wobbly. Moving the chair back and forth gives way to anger, as she displaces the stress of her life onto the chair and she begins to destroy and obliterate it. Indeed, the many moments where Betty loses control are among the season's finest.

January Jones's amazing performance as Betty gets a bit less acclaim than she deserves in part because of Elizabeth Moss's job as Peggy Olson. I think many people watching MAD MEN began in Season Two to realize that Peggy, as much as Don Draper, was central to the meaning of the show. I have very little evidence for this, but I believe that the show will end with Peggy Olson heading Sterling Cooper. The show started with her first day as an employee of the company, working as Don Draper's secretary. We've seen her become a successful copywriter for the company and at the end of Season Two even has the office next to Don's. I believe that a logical ending of the series, mapping al the changes that took place in national sensibilities in the sixties, would be for Peggy to become head of the company that at the start of the year was so completely male dominated. This does not mean, however, that Peggy's personal life has kept pace with her professional life. In fact, Peggy remains a bit of a mess. The season did end, however, with perhaps the best scene in the entire run of the show so far. Peter tells Peggy that he hates his marriage and that he loves her. Shockingly, Peggy tells him that she had had his baby and given it away. My feeling was that in telling Peter she was not trying to be cruel so much as she was trying to definitively close the door on one part of her life and open another. Peggy is one of the most wonderfully complex characters on TV. While Don Draper has artfully created a public self, Peggy has not. She has primarily resisted the roles that people have tried to provide for her. She has not yet become her own person, but you feel that she might. I also find her and Don Draper's relationship to be delightful. They are not close friends or perhaps not even friends. But a flashback in which Don visits her in the hospital when she is suffering from post-partum depression (intensified by the fact that she didn't even know she was pregnant) and essentially orders her to get her act together and get out of the hospital. Don is not always presented as a good person, but he has his moments, and the tough love he gives Peggy at the moment helps her turn her life around.

I mention Don, Betty, and Peggy, but one of the delights of MAD MEN is the very deep cast of characters. Joan Holloway (played by the beautiful Christina Hendricks) has a new fiancé, but it doesn't appear to be the healthiest of relationships (one of the most shocking moments in Season Two occurs when he rapes her in Sterling Cooper offices). The deeply closeted Salvatore starts gradually to confront his own sexuality and his attraction to men, including a coworker, while his "beard" marriage struggles. Roger Sterling struggles to overcome health problems in order to marry a much, much younger woman.

But at the heart of the show Don Draper remains the dominant character. Jon Hamm's performance as Don has been brilliant from the very beginning. On "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" series creator Matthew Weiner explained that Hamm instantly stood out in auditions, but the network wanted an established actor in the role. They were adamant that they did not want an unknown actor in the show's central role. Weiner finally issued an ultimatum, that without Jon Hamm as Don Draper, he was unwilling to proceed with the series. Weiner's wisdom in casting Hamm has been proven many times over. It is almost impossible to imagine this show without him. Don is one of the most artificial and complex characters in the history of TV. Just as he creates ad campaigns, so he has created the persona Don Draper. Season Two shows Draper having serious doubts about whether he wants to persist in playing the character he has created for himself.

I read a bit over a year ago that the plan for the show was to move a couple of years into the future with each ensuing season. If so, Season Three should pick up sometime past the Kennedy assassination, perhaps with the early part of the Vietnam War. Clearly the show intends to reflect the enormous social upheaval that took place in the decade. It also represents many of the now almost comic aspects of the pre-sixties world. For instance, in one scene Don, Betty, and their kids are enjoying a picnic on a blanket in a lovely country locale. As they finish, Don stands up and shakes all of their trash off the blanket and onto the ground. This was very definitely before Lady Bird Johnson's attempt to beautify America by picking up trash. I'm sure that Season Three will show many new changes.

This is easily one of the 3 or 4 best shows on TV. I put it up there with my own favorites PUSHING DAISIES, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, and LOST. Notice that of those shows PUSHING DAISIES was on ABC and has been cancelled, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was on DirecTV in the fall and will be on NBC in the winter and spring, and LOST begins its penultimate season on ABC. I think in the future fewer and fewer of my favorite shows will be originating on the big four. AMC, with MAD MEN leading the way, is one of the last, best hopes for television"
Don't Think Twice
Reconnecting To My Childhood | 03/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The second season of this AMC series is in story/character sense a lot like the second season of Sopranos was for itself. This season spends it's thirteen episodes expanding upon what has already been established at the same time as it balances sudden new story devices and taking things to their next logical (or sometimes illiogical based on the character) extensions. I found it very enjoyable and while it may not be a full reflection of life in the sixies it truly shows the aspects that it aspires to quite well and shows flawed characters who are full of unfortunate parallels with people in the world today.

This is a show that is telling a specific story while exploring specific character's in an attempt to disect certain issues within our world today. I look at this show as a reflection of recent times, the issue of never being happy with what you have and looking for happiness in the wrong places and feeling lost and unsure of your place in the world is something I see a lot of people dealing with in the world around me. The setting of the sixties is almost the perfect era to pair with such seemingly lost and depressed character's because of it's ironic nature at the same time as the literal sense of reinvention and change that occured in that time.

I feel the first season did a fantastic job of setting up this series. The second season acheived it's goal of expanding, elaborating and extending upon the world and character's we were introduced to. The third season is set up, like most shows, to take the best from the first and second seasons and finally show us a complete vision of the show without being tied down by these mandatory practices.

The second season contains the following 13 Episodes:

1 For Those Who Think Young
2 Flight 1
3 The Benefactor
4 Three Sundays
5 The New Girl
6 Maidenform
7 The Gold Violin
8 A Night to Remember
9 Sixth Month Leave
10 The Inheritance
11 The Jet Set
12 The Mountain King
13 Meditations in an Emergency

This DVD release will be a 4-disc set presented in Anamorphic Widescreen Video, English Dolby 5.1 Audio, with Subtitles in English & Spanish along with closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

The Packaging for both the DVD and Blu-Ray is described as being "available as a limited-edition sleek shirt box with see through window".

Special Features Announced So Far Include:

-Audio Commentaries With Cast & Crew on all 13 Episodes
-"Birth Of An Independent Woman Parts 1 & 2" - Featurette examining the rise of female independence in the 60's.
-"An Era Of Style" - Featurette exploring the fashion of the 1960's and it's lasting influence on designer's today.
-"Time Capsule" - Interactive featurettes paying homage to historic events on the 1960's and the daring generation that lived through them.

I will update my review when/if any more special features or information are given closer to July, when this will be released. I will also update my review when I have actually seen the special features on the set, but for now I have seen these episodes and think there is a lot to be found here for those interested and on top of that this show looks beautiful. Thanks For Your Time.

*Rather than further clutter up this review page I have included a list of short non spoiler giving episode descriptions in my comments section for those interested."
One of TV's best shows gets even better
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 04/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Frankly, I'm pretty despondent about the future of quality TV on the major four networks. The recent cancellation by ABC of the breathtakingly brilliant PUSHING DAISIES was the first major blow. When a show this great can get cancelled for weak (not genuinely bad, merely weak) ratings, you feel that something has gone wrong with commercial television. For one thing, TV history is resplendent with shows that started off weakly and then succeeded a couple of years into their run. THE X-FILES, SEINFELD, THE OFFICE, and 30 ROCK all started off with weak ratings, only to build an audience later. The second horrific piece of news undermining my confidence in commercial TV was NBC's announcement that starting next year Jay Leno will get FIVE HOURS (!) of prime time for a more politically oriented version of his talk show. First, why would we want Leno when we already have Stewart and Colbert? Second, this means losing FIVE HOURS (!!!!) of scripted programming on NBC each week. This is a recipe for disaster. And an act of despair. NBC clearly doesn't think it can produce 15 hours of quality TV a week, so it is trying to produce only 10 and then take the super cheap option with Leno. NBC, I have news for you: you get what you pay for.

MAD MEN could well be the model for successful quality TV shows in the future. Although it gets very low ratings, on AMC it is safe from cancellation because of its widespread critical acclaim. More and more, niche cable networks seem to be the place where quality TV series manage to thrive and avoid the constant threat of cancellation. AMC in fact has two superb series, MAD MEN and the very promising BREAKING BAD (which was seriously truncated by the writers' strike last year) and they've announced a new Sci-fi series based upon Kim Stanley Robinson's acclaimed Mars trilogy, about the settling of colonies on Mars. The series is taking its title from the first of Robinson's novels, RED MARS.

So, while I'm on the verge of giving up on ABC, NBC, and FOX (though under new head of programming Kevin Reilly its shows have become more interesting and he has so far resisted to kill shows prematurely as his predecessors did). CBS I gave up on years ago, since the network seems content to churn out an endless number of bland police procedurals. AMC, F/X, Showtime, HBO, ABC Family, the Sci Fi Channel, and similar networks may be where we all go in the future for the best shows.

MAD MEN became the first show not on one of the big four networks or HBO to win the Emmy for Best Drama this past summer. It will almost certainly win again this coming summer, since Season Two was even better than Season One. Moreover, during Season Two the show started building a buzz, culminating with a great appearance by Jon Hamm on SNL, including a skit with some of his MAD MEN guest stars. The show became part of our cultural sensibility, inspiring magazine photo spreads. I still think the show is one that people tend to know about rather than know. Thankfully people who do not have access to AMC can catch up on DVD (I watch it as it comes out, but my cable company shows AMC in low-def rather than high-def, so much of the show's physical beauty can only be recaptured on DVD or Blu-ray).

As good as the show was in Season Two, the sophomore season was even more brilliant. In my review of Season One, I mentioned that Jon Hamm's character Don Draper exemplifies Thoreau's statement that most people live "lives of quiet desperation." In Season Two, Hamm and his carefully constructed existence gradually begins coming apart at the seams. His Stepford Wife Betty begins to come apart at more than the seams. I really enjoyed January Jones in Season One, but primarily she was a beautiful manikin. In Season Two the human being inside is psychically rebelling against the roles she is being forced to play and the result is someone who is on the verge of collapse. One scene in particular was compelling. As she prepares for a dinner party she notices that one of the dining room chairs is wobbly. Moving the chair back and forth gives way to anger, as she displaces the stress of her life onto the chair and she begins to destroy and obliterate it. Indeed, the many moments where Betty loses control are among the season's finest.

January Jones's amazing performance as Betty gets a bit less acclaim than she deserves in part because of Elizabeth Moss's job as Peggy Olson. I think many people watching MAD MEN began in Season Two to realize that Peggy, as much as Don Draper, was central to the meaning of the show. I have very little evidence for this, but I believe that the show will end with Peggy Olson heading Sterling Cooper. The show started with her first day as an employee of the company, working as Don Draper's secretary. We've seen her become a successful copywriter for the company and at the end of Season Two even has the office next to Don's. I believe that a logical ending of the series, mapping al the changes that took place in national sensibilities in the sixties, would be for Peggy to become head of the company that at the start of the year was so completely male dominated. This does not mean, however, that Peggy's personal life has kept pace with her professional life. In fact, Peggy remains a bit of a mess. The season did end, however, with perhaps the best scene in the entire run of the show so far. Peter tells Peggy that he hates his marriage and that he loves her. Shockingly, Peggy tells him that she had had his baby and given it away. My feeling was that in telling Peter she was not trying to be cruel so much as she was trying to definitively close the door on one part of her life and open another. Peggy is one of the most wonderfully complex characters on TV. While Don Draper has artfully created a public self, Peggy has not. She has primarily resisted the roles that people have tried to provide for her. She has not yet become her own person, but you feel that she might. I also find her and Don Draper's relationship to be delightful. They are not close friends or perhaps not even friends. But a flashback in which Don visits her in the hospital when she is suffering from post-partum depression (intensified by the fact that she didn't even know she was pregnant) and essentially orders her to get her act together and get out of the hospital. Don is not always presented as a good person, but he has his moments, and the tough love he gives Peggy at the moment helps her turn her life around.

I mention Don, Betty, and Peggy, but one of the delights of MAD MEN is the very deep cast of characters. Joan Holloway (played by the beautiful Christina Hendricks) has a new fiancé, but it doesn't appear to be the healthiest of relationships (one of the most shocking moments in Season Two occurs when he rapes her in Sterling Cooper offices). The deeply closeted Salvatore starts gradually to confront his own sexuality and his attraction to men, including a coworker, while his "beard" marriage struggles. Roger Sterling struggles to overcome health problems in order to marry a much, much younger woman.

But at the heart of the show Don Draper remains the dominant character. Jon Hamm's performance as Don has been brilliant from the very beginning. On "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" series creator Matthew Weiner explained that Hamm instantly stood out in auditions, but the network wanted an established actor in the role. They were adamant that they did not want an unknown actor in the show's central role. Weiner finally issued an ultimatum, that without Jon Hamm as Don Draper, he was unwilling to proceed with the series. Weiner's wisdom in casting Hamm has been proven many times over. It is almost impossible to imagine this show without him. Don is one of the most artificial and complex characters in the history of TV. Just as he creates ad campaigns, so he has created the persona Don Draper. Season Two shows Draper having serious doubts about whether he wants to persist in playing the character he has created for himself.

I read a bit over a year ago that the plan for the show was to move a couple of years into the future with each ensuing season. If so, Season Three should pick up sometime past the Kennedy assassination, perhaps with the early part of the Vietnam War. Clearly the show intends to reflect the enormous social upheaval that took place in the decade. It also represents many of the now almost comic aspects of the pre-sixties world. For instance, in one scene Don, Betty, and their kids are enjoying a picnic on a blanket in a lovely country locale. As they finish, Don stands up and shakes all of their trash off the blanket and onto the ground. This was very definitely before Lady Bird Johnson's attempt to beautify America by picking up trash. I'm sure that Season Three will show many new changes.

This is easily one of the 3 or 4 best shows on TV. I put it up there with my own favorites PUSHING DAISIES, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, and LOST. Notice that of those shows PUSHING DAISIES was on ABC and has been cancelled, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was on DirecTV in the fall and will be on NBC in the winter and spring, and LOST begins its penultimate season on ABC. I think in the future fewer and fewer of my favorite shows will be originating on the big four. AMC, with MAD MEN leading the way, is one of the last, best hopes for television."