This is one of the best TV dramas from a long list of illustrious contenders. The profound sense of doom and futility is perhaps difficult for Chinese viewers to grasp---especially young, white-collar Chinese, who grew up in an economy that has seen not even one serious downturn, let alone crisis, and whose education would not allow them the moral imagination that registers any deep psychological complication or comprehends the consequence of their ambitions and practices. But for those who understand it, "Mad Men" is retrospective yet fraught with contemporary relevance; dark in mood, yet generous enough to allow transient moments of "limited" and deeply-moving joy; relentlessly penetrating, yet never leaves out the more noble aspects of the characters' impulses and endeavor. The acting from Jon Hamm and January Jones is simply magical (frankly, the interviews these actors gave offline do not really support my earlier assessment of their talents, which then points to a higher order of accomplishment by the directors and editors of the show). Basically, this TV drama demonstrates practically everything a great movie should have but could seldom boast of
It is interesting to note that, in recent years, the very best of American entertainment seem to be less often from Hollywood than New York. Amrican films have been at best mediocre and frequently infantile, but TV drama has thrived like never before: it has more thoughtful subjects and plots, better written dialogues, and frequently gets better acting out of the same actors and actresses who tanked on the big screen. Think about "Band of Brothers", compared to "Saving Prt. Ryan"; "Rome", to "Gladiator"; "Mad Men", to "Insider" (or "Thank You for Smoking"); "6 Feet Under" to......whatever.