Mad Men (2007-present) is a TV drama about a creative director at a small up-and-coming ad agency, set in a 1960s New York. Before I watched it, I heard TV nerds gushing over the historical accuracy of Mad Men‘s 1960s, I became curious. Then I saw advertising directors posting Mad Men clips on their blog, and not long after I gave the show a go myself. I was not unsatisfied. The characters are fantastically written, and the depiction of the creative tensions in the workplace definitely resonated with my experiences working in design.
Beyond being one of my favorite shows, Mad Men is also a specimen of what pundits called the “fragmented media” in the US. This is to say:
- It’s a show written for a niche, medium-sized audience.
- The production budget is relatively low and airs on a medium-sized channel.
- So it can continue to succeed with moderate popularity, and need not compete with other shows for the highest ratings/most viewers in the US.
And I forgot to mention, Mad Men is also a critic’s favorite: It has won multiple Emmy’s and Golden Globe awards in the US as well as other awards in the UK.
- The Carousel clip (Season 1, Episode 13), most popularly cited by advertising geeks. (You have to watch it directly on Youtube, as embedding as been disabled.)
- Download from iTunes
- Buy DVDs from Amazon or the AMC store
- Watch it when it airs on the AMC channel in the US
Article by Jason Li, June 1, 2010.