Thursday, May 21

What I've Watched #4: End of an Era

Mad Men

I'm sad. I don't think I've ever been sad about a TV show ending before (in real time at least), of course I miss them or I'm disappointed that they are ending, but so many shows reach a point where they flail and it seems inevitable. But with Mad Men I am genuinely sad. Since the first time I cram watched seasons 1- 4 in order to catch up with BBC4, I have been obsessed and in love with this show. There are very few TV shows that manage to maintain consistent interest and quality, but Mad Men has somehow manage to do it.

I'll try not to spoil too much for those who aren't as far as me, but I apologise if there are a few in the following paragraph. At the point of writing I have not seen the finale.

 I've come to terms that the one thing I'd hoped for since, I think it was first mentioned, season two - Ken and Peggy setting up their own advertising firm, is never going to happen. I adored how much Ken grew from his sleazy "Ken. Cosgrove. Accounts." start in season one, to becoming a sweet, honest person, and at times Peggy's only ally. Although at this point with, one episode to go, I feel like we've seen the last of Kenny, I really hope not, but it may well be. I'm actually intrigued to see who from the original Sterling Cooper team will be left standing at McCann Erickson by the end of the the final episode.

I feel like Joan and Betty's trajectory is pretty much sewn up, although not obviously happy endings, they feel quite conclusive and 'in character'. As well as Joan, Betty, Pete and even Roger, I would be reasonably happy leaving Peggy where we left her (swaggering down the halls of McCann Erickson with octopus porn). Although I'm still keeping my hopes up for Peggy and Stan; I feel like Matthew Weiner has been building up to them together, but I suppose Megan/Dr Faye is proof that you never really know what Matthew Weiner is building up to.

I want to know more about Sally, we almost certainly won't get any semblance of a Sally ending (although we got an idea of her immediate future from the penultimate episode), unless Matthew Weiner does some sort of flash-forward, which again is unlikely and completely out of character. But I think I can live with not knowing about Sally and creating my own ending - Sally's life growing up in the 70/80's could be a whole other show.

And of course, there's Don, who will either have to grow an immense amount in this final episode or who will continue to revert to character and continue on the road back to California or Dick Whitman; run away, melt down, rebuild. Eat, sleep, rave repeat. I like to imagine he'll do a bit of both, like we saw at the end of season six, when his two lives collided and he presented his true self to his colleagues, and more importantly to his children. I'm hoping he takes his children somewhere West and starts again, but again I'm not sure if that's in his nature.

Ultimately I don't expect a happy ending, I don't even expect an 'ending'. So much of Mad Men has been about less than perfect people carrying on and building their lives the only way they know how; people, on Mad Men at least, don't really change (not even Ken), they just learn a little from the past and try not to repeat the same mistakes. Life goes on.

I really don't want much at all. I'm just really sad to see it go, but can't wait for the inevitable full series box-set, so I can watch it over and over again.

And what do you do when the TV show you obsess over ends? You find a replacement, obviously.

Madam Secretary

I'm still deciding on this, but I'm enjoying it so far, very much in a similar way to how my love for The Good Wife developed, so for the moment I looking forward to see how this develops. I've also discovered that I love Tea Leoni, my mind draws a blank when trying to think of things I've seen her in (other than paparazzi pictures with David Duchovny), but I really do enjoy watching her. Bebe Neuwirth also stars, who is amazing, underrated and somehow in so many things, yet not enough things. My love of all these strong lady, political/legal dramas is actually starting to make me think that I really need to start watching Scandal to round out my viewing.

Jane the Virgin

Right when I was thinking about re-watching Ugly Betty, came Jane the Virgin. Like Ugly Betty (particularly it's first couple of seasons), Jane the Virgin is loosely based on a Telenovela - 'Juana la Virgen', from Venezuela - and borrows a lot of the storytelling styles typically used in Telenovelas. I have to say I love these kinds of soapy dramedies, the more dramatic and overblown the better. English soaps are so depressing and grimy in comparison, that I'm sure if actual Telenovelas came on in England it would be life ruining for me - I would be the person staying home midday to watch them; the closest I've ever been to watching a Telenovela is watching Sunset Beach in the 90's, which was so ridiculous and nonsensical that it can only really be talked about in hushed tones with people who loved it too.

I find it a lot easier to form an initial opinion on comedies, than I do out and out dramas - you either appreciate the humour or you don't - so I know that I definitely love this show already. Jane the Virgin has the same mix of double take, sentimental teary-eyed and laugh out loud moments that made Ugly Betty so special to me. It also has Gina Rodriguez in the titular role, who is so wonderful that I want to see her in everything I watch.


Speaking of dramatic, over-blown ridiculousness... That's always a compliment in my eyes, I am loving Empire so much, it's like the Nashville of Hip-Hop. I will argue with anyone who suggests that this is anything but a soap opera - a glamorous, raunchy one - but a soap opera all the same; I've never seen Dynasty, but everything I've heard about it suggests Empire's drama isn't too dissimilar.

At the moment all of my interest is taken up by Jamal and (obviously) Cookie, I actually don't care enough about any of the other characters to even remember their names at the moment, but I definitely want it to develop beyond this point - I can't spend the entire season waiting for Cookie deliver all of her funny and/or dramatic lines.

The Good Wife

 I'm feeling annoyed with The Good Wife at moment - if I had a choice, I would have Will Gardner die on a weekly basis, over Alicia's political career. If anyone in fake Cook County knew what they were doing, they would be voting for Frank Prady.


What are you watching (and loving) at the moment? If you hadn't noticed I'm on the lookout for a new favourite, so I'm all ears!



  1. I loved the ending, my only disappointment was Joan ending up along woulda loved her a Rodger to get together finally. I'm now watching madam secretary and empire too, always a plot her series to take the lady ones place

    1. I really loved how Joan's story ended in comparison to how it started - she was so convinced that a man would 'save' her and be the only thing she needed, so for her to find independence and satisfaction outside of a relationship was pretty cool. I really loved seeing her and Peggy's friendship at the end too!


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