Posts Tagged ‘Jon Hamm’

Hindsight 2010: Top Five Most Memorable Episodes of TV

5. “God,” Louie

One of the reasons the superlative in the title of this post is “memorable” and not “best” is to make room for episodes like “God.” It wasn’t the funniest episode of the first season of Louie—and it wasn’t even necessarily my favorite—but it was certainly the most distinct and memorable episode of a show that was consistently original. I remember watching the scene in which the creepy, nameless doctor tells a young Louie to stab Jesus Christ in the wrist and thinking, “It’s very unusual that this is on television.” The dark humor, the nuanced take on religion, and the controversial point of view are all things rarely seen on TV, and yet they were precisely the kinds of things that made Louie such an innovative and enjoyable show. Continue reading

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Mad Men Season Four Review

Am I the only one who thinks Don Draper made the right choice? As Chuck Klosterman tweeted the day after Mad Men’s Season Four finale: “There’s always social pressure to disagree with Don Draper’s personal decisions.” This is oddly true in a way that’s not true of other television protagonists. In a television landscape that is littered with antiheroes, including serial killers, drug dealers, and mob bosses, Don seems to anger the audience the most for, basically, being a bad husband.

It is true that Don can be a rather lousy significant other—even during a season in which he wasn’t married he somehow managed to find a way to cheat, spurning Dr. Faye Miller, his primary love interest this season, to propose to his secretary in Sunday’s finale. This choice angered many fans, since Faye had become such a popular character and, well, we don’t know all that much about Megan the secretary (as Roger says when Don announced the news, “Who the heck is that?”).

And yet this choice is a great illustration of all the things Season Four did right.  Continue reading

Reviewing the 2010 Emmys

FlashForward ended its run with more Emmy nominations and wins than The Wire. That should pretty much destroy any semblance of credibility the Emmys ever had. But other than the Golden Globes (which didn’t do so great themselves this year), there really isn’t another awards show that is taken seriously for television, so we have to deal with Emmys and all of its mistakes.

And while this year certainly had its fair share of mistakes, it was generally better than expected: Continue reading

Mad Men Returns

In case you haven’t heard, the fourth season of AMC’s Mad Men premieres tonight at 10 PM. But you’ve probably heard. As I mentioned last year, Mad Men is quite the buzzworthy show, which means promotional material and spoilers are somewhat hard to avoid.

Luckily, I have been able to stay somewhat sheltered from the released information about this season—I prefer to enter new seasons with no preconceptions. This is particularly exciting in the wake of last season’s Mad Men finale, which set up a totally new realm for the characters to inhabit.

Season Three ended with almost all of the main characters—Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Peggy Olsen, Pete Campbell, etc.—leaving Sterling Cooper to start a new agency. Meanwhile, Betty was flying off to Nevada to marry Henry Francis. In other words, there are a lot of things to be explored as the new season picks up.

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The Not-So-Golden Globes

The Golden Globes were last night and since, as host Ricky Gervais kept reminding us, actors are the best and most important people in the world, we here at NPI cannot let that the occasion pass without some commentary. As usual with awards shows, it was a mixed bag.

The Best Three Things:

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Aught Lang Syne: The Best TV Characters

John S already called the Aughts the “Golden Age of Television.” Now, he’s joined by Tim to help further justify that statement by recalling some of the most original and memorable characters the medium has produced over the last 10 years. We had one criterion: The character had to debut this decade. Some notable characters who did not make the cut include Gil Grissom (CSI), Mr. Bennet/HRG (Heroes), and Walter White (Breaking Bad).

As for the ones who did, we’re not saying we ranked them, but we’re also not saying the order is random.

Adrian Monk: The character of the seemingly all-knowing master detective has been around for some time now, dating back to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, at least. Adrian Monk didn’t reinvent the wheel on Monk, but in giving the detective a compelling backstory and severe psychiatric disorders—the latter usually played for comedy, except in the context of the former—it added a depth to what could otherwise be a stale cast character.

Furthermore, it’s hard to think of an established actor who has engrossed himself in a television role as much as Tony Shalhoub did for the eight seasons of Monk.* As the eponymous detective stricken with a severe case of OCD, Shalhoub mastered the portrayal of the neurotic genius, even if the show too often settled for being a network procedural that just happened to air on cable.

*There is one other guy on this list that has a case.

–Tim

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Mad Men Season Three Review

Mad Men Guy Walks

Warning: This review contains spoilers….obvs.

Well, let’s begin at the end: The Mad Men season finale was excellent. Practically every scene had something important, and every plot twist, even the ones you could see coming like Roger recruiting Joan to the new agency, was welcome.

Most great finales are the ones that shake things up, and this one did exactly that. Once news got out that PPL had been sold, and Sterling Cooper with it, Lane Pryce “fired” Don, Roger and Bert so they were free to start their own agency. As a result, much of the episode involved recruiting others to the new company. Many of these recruitments took the form of confrontations that were long overdue: Pete’s worries about his place in the company, Peggy’s about her relationship with Don, Roger’s about how expendable Don now views him. All of these scenes allowed characters to hash out things that had burdened their relationships for a long time, extending back into Season One. And all of them were executed well.

What may have been the most interesting thing of the finale, though, was what it had the potential to set up. With Roger, Bert, Don, Lane, Joan, Pete, Peggy, and Harry all working together—and in the close confines of a hotel room—in a new, upstart agency, the show can integrate the business aspect of the show in a totally fresh way next year.* And while it worked very well in this instance, this is not necessarily the best strategy to pursue in a finale. Continue reading