Mad Men: Season Four (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I’ve never ever seen a single episode of “Mad Men.” Now this is particularly odd considering that I have a degree in Advertising and I like interesting, thought-provoking, well-written television shows (well, then again – who doesn’t). I’ve even had people come up to me and say “Well, you must love ‘Mad Men'” to which I kind of get shifty-eyed and say “Heh, yeah…love it!” So when I saw the fourth season of “Mad Men” on my doorstep, I figured that it was about time that I gave the show a chance. All I really knew of the show was that the lead actor was Jon Hamm, someone who’s making his appearance in other films like “Howl” and “The Town” and that it took place in the 60’s and the focus was advertising. Oh and there was some top-heavy redhead who also stars. Maybe that’s what finally tempted me to pop the disc in.

Having never seen the show before, perhaps it wasn’t wise to jump right into season four but I’ve never been accused of being the most intelligent person around. So without further ado…we see Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in somewhat of a rundown apartment. He’s got good looks and evidently used to be good with the ladies, but his drinking seems to have gotten in the way of that. Couple that with a magazine writing an article on him aptly-titled “Who is Don Draper?” Don seems to know that he’s living on the edge but it is affecting his work and personal life. Don’s got demons. The supporting cast also does well and ah yes, that redhead I was referring to, she’s Joan (Christina Hendricks). I like Joan. Admittedly I’m sure I didn’t do this season justice and what it really made me want to do is go back and watch the first three. Fans of the show will no doubt gobble this up and as you’ll see below, the audio and video as well as the supplements make this more than worthwhile.

Video: How does it look?

Lionsgate is good to its titles and we get this set shown in its original 1.78:1 AVC HD image that looks nothing short of spectacular. Having never seen the show in its original broadcast I can only assume this is looks similar, though based on what I’ve seen with other television shows on Blu-ray, I’d give the edge to the disc version. The costume and set design of the 60’s looks amazing, with detail being so incredibly meticulous you can see the tweed in their suits. Flesh tones seem a bit washed out, but I think that’s intentional. Contrast is right on and I’m hard-pressed to find anything to nitpick here.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is primarily a front-heavy soundtrack (as are most television shows) and dialogue-driven. The audio is crisp and sharp and a very few instances in which the surrounds come into play. I usually like to prattle on about the audio, but there’s not a whole lot more to say here – it’s a TV show and the sound is faithfully represented on this Blu-ray set.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The supplements are where this set excels. We get a commentary track on each and every of the baker’s dozen episodes. The tracks are forthright and full of information. Admittedly I didn’t listen to them all, but it did help me get a grasp of the series a bit. We also get a three part documentary “Divorce: Circa 1960’s” which is an interesting watch. Divorce, now so common, and how it was looked at only 40 some years ago. Moving onto disc two we get a brief featurette “Marketing the Mustang: An American Icon” in which we see the car and its influence on the auto industry. We get a little history of the car, the man behind it (Lee Iacocca who also “invented” the minivan) and its lasting mark on the American landscape. On the final disc we get a much longer featurette “How to Succeed in Business Draper Style” in which we get some perspective on the character by some real-life CEO’s and what makes him so successful. Lastly we get some archival footage from the 1964 Presidential campaign (Johnson vs. Goldwater) which stands as somewhat of a landmark in advertising as it somewhat gave birth to “negative campaign.”

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