|I am going to miss the hell out of these two characters|
The second half of the final season of AMC's Mad Men begins this evening.
Of all the shows that have marked the transformation of television in the past 10-15 years, something that looks, on paper, like a sudsy soap opera, free from gun play or spies or gangsters or even the threat of violence, has been the show that's genuinely surprised me the most over the duration of the program.
You don't need to jump to the comments to tell me you tried it and just couldn't do it. I know. I've heard that a lot over the years. I don't expect everyone to all like the same thing. I'm sure AMC wishes that the show had the greater appeal of a prime-time soap, and for all I know, that's what they thought they were green lighting. Instead, they produced one of the most nuanced, long-running, multi-character character studies to ever get broadcast.
One of the funny things is reading articles or posts on legitimate news sites and pop-culture reflector sites from writers who are clearly longtime viewers, and so often their criticism of the show boils down to you really wanting to just raise your hand and say "you're describing your own baggage you're bringing to the show. The problem isn't that the show didn't do that well, it's that this aspect of the character gets to you." Next time you see a Mad Men puff piece in Salon or Slate of Huff Po or whatever site likes to write about the show, just look for it, for I assure you, it's always there.
It's a difficult show in that it does not ask you to sympathize with a Walter White as he goes down the well. You aren't up close feeling his desperation and tasting his victories or understanding his horror at some of his own choices.