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Mad Men: Season 6 (Blu-ray Review)

mad men s6 whysoblu thumb 2By now, people should know whether or not they are into Mad Men.  Sure the show could perhaps gain some new followers at this point too, but Mad Men has a unique style and handle on how it proceeds, so getting into the 6th season, I was happy to continue on with the journey of these characters.  Coming off the heels of the fantastic 5th season, which may or may not be the show’s best, but still easily has some of the series’ best episodes, this latest season no doubt had to keep up with the high bar this acclaimed series sets, but fortunately creator Matthew Weiner was up to the task at hand.

Film:

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Here’s an official description of the season:  Returning for its sixth season, Mad Men, rife with possibilities, explores the glamorous and ego-driven “Golden Age” of advertising in the late 1960s New York City.  Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and the rest of the award-winning cast continue to captivate as they deal with the aftereffects of adultery, divorce, a merger, and an ever changing social climate.

This Blu-ray set contains all 13 episodes of the 6th season:

1-2. “The Doorway”
3. “Collaborators”
4. “To Have and to Hold”
5. “The Flood”
6. “For Immediate Release”
7. “Man with a Plan”
8. “The Crash”
9. “The Better Half”
10. “A Tale of Two Cities”
11. “Flavors”
12. “The Quality of Mercy”
13. “In Care Of”

Something I enjoyed about the 5th season of Mad Men was the way that Weiner and his crew were making episodes that could essentially glide on what has already been established about the characters.  I do not mean that in an effortless way, but rather a confident one.  Mad Men had done such a great job of setting up its world, the characters, and the various backstories for everyone that the show was able to just have so many payoffs to certain plotlines, interesting turns for characters, and some really unique episodes with ideas to explore.  I can say a lot of the same things about this sixth season.

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Even if I find this season to be weaker, compared to the fifth season, I can say, without a doubt that Mad Men continues to not look like it is struggling to be the show that it wants to be.  It is always going to have its deliberate pacing, adherence to certain stylistic choices, and esoteric takes on certain types of stories, but the show would be surprising if it did not also have a great set of actors constantly delivering, a wonderful look, and some very crafty writing, pushing it forward as a top-tier drama (that can be occasionally very funny).

As far as the acting goes, Mad Men is always in top form, from the eldest member of the cast, Robert Morse, to some of the youngest, like Kiernan Shipka.  John Hamm once again nails everything about the Don Draper character, who does not stop being interesting, even with all we know about him and having so many other colorful characters to follow.  There are choices made by Hamm that really reflect why you want to both support and be incredibly frustrated by this man, even when it goes back into familiar territory for him.

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I could provide a lot of the same praise to the other actors as well, but I’d rather move on to the show’s period and how it handles different situations.  A key aspect of this 6th season is Mad Men’s embrace of the Counterculture, or at least its efforts to really bring that into this season, given episodes like one that revolves around many in the office using LSD or occasionally seeing characters smoking weed.  I do not know how real some of these scenarios may be, but I like how the show makes a certain level of effort to bring this concept in.  More effective is the show’s use of real life events as a backdrop.  “The Flood”, in particular, may be a highlight of the season, as it really effectively delves into how the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. brings out different emotions and opinions of the various members of the cast.  It is this kind of subject matter that Mad Men can work with, in an effort to really deliver on new concepts, given that the show’s structure and style is already so established.

The argument can be made that the show is essentially moving in circles, despite some very large changes that have occurred this season.  Its pacing has led to a lot of fan speculation going to really crazy places, like murder conspiracies and other nonsense.  I guess I can see why, as some may have become so content with what Mad Men is that they suddenly forget what kind of show it is and plans to remain as.  That being said, I relished this season with joy.  Everything I love about the show continues to be on display here and delivered on in fine form.  And few things on TV are more enjoyable than John Slattery’s Roger Sterling knocking out some great, humorous lines of dialogue.

Video:

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Mad Men sits with Breaking Bad as my favorite looking show on TV currently.  It helps that they have the big budgets to look as good as they do, but the Blu-ray really emphasizes how much craft goes into these episodes.  Every episode of the season is presented in 1080p, with an AVC-encoded transfer for the disc.  The amount of detail, be it the clothing, production design, or other aspects all shine in this video presentation.  The colors are wonderfully bright when they need to be or appropriately smooth or darker when the time calls for it.  Mad Men continues to look its best on Blu-ray.

Audio:

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Similar the video quality, the audio for Mad Men is well represented on this Blu-ray, making for a great series to enjoy listening to.  The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is a great way to pick up on all the audio activity going on.  The show is mainly dialogue driven and it is all quite clear.  At the same time, the score for the series, provided by David Carbonara, is great to listen to, whether it is underlining a scene or completely taking over the soundtrack.  Then you have all the background chatter and ambient noise present in this series and given that it is set in a big city, there is plenty of that and it adds to the experience.  With the further addition of songs of the time, Mad Men is a nice audio experience.

Extras:

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This was a big disappointment.  Last year I was caught off guard by how effective one commentary track was, leading me to listen to every single one.  This year, there are now commentary tracks, which was incredibly irritating, given the lack of many extras overall.

Features Include:

Recreating an Era:  The Mad Men Season Six Art Department takes viewers on a virtual tour of Don and Megan’s apartment, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s 1st and 2nd floors, Peggy’s apartment, and much more.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out:  Close friends of Timothy Leary, along with journalist Don Lattin, shed light on the man known as the guru of the psychedelic drug movement.

Summer of Love (Interactive Gallery) – This feature is an ineffective attempt to have the viewer interact with the series, while watching.  It has little popups to click on, when the time comes, but is not all that exciting to dig into.

Summary:

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I love Mad Men, without a doubt.  The series continues to be an incredibly strong one, with great work in designing the show and from the actors involved.  The Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic.  Unfortunately it has a poor set of extras.  Still, the final season coming, so you have a very good Blu-ray set, when it comes to actually watching this season of the acclaimed series.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

5 Responses to “Mad Men: Season 6 (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Hamm was on my short list for new elder Batman choice. I’m just saying!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    He would have been a perfect Superman, depending on the type of film they went for. I’ve been saying that since I first started watching Mad Men.

  3. Brandon Peters

    Yeah, I’ve always thought of John Hamm as a Superman candidate too

  4. Brandon Peters

    Season 6 of Mad Men made from absolutely fascinating internet reads when it came to fan speculation and theories.

  5. William

    What the hell AMC/Lionsgate? Every single episode of the show released so far has had one (usually two) audio commentaries, and this release has none? What’s the point of owning physical media without them? I might as well just download them off the internet! This one Xmas present that’s getting returned the first chance I get.