Mad Men: Season Four Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 3
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: March 29, 2011
- List Price: $49.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Two words, Christina Hendricks, well, one name anyway. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can get on to the review of this terrific and addictive drama from the cable network AMC. For anyone who doesn’t know or has been living under a rock for the past few years, Mad Men is AMC’s multiple Emmy Award and Golden Globe-winning drama about an elite Madison Avenue advertising agency set in the early 1960′s and revolving around the singular, mysterious, and driven character of Don Draper (Jon Hamm). With an ensemble cast of breakout characters, including the aforementioned, Christina Hendricks as Joanie, Elisabeth Moss as Peggy and numerous others, the series explores the tumultuous 1960′s, its changing social mores, and the complicated business and personal lives of the series’ characters.
Without giving too much away, and also without going through an unnecessary episode-by-episode synopsis, Season Four finds the partners of the fledgling ad agency on the ropes, struggling to hold on to their clientele, Don Draper spiraling down the drain into self destruction, distraught over the breakup of his marriage and his wife’s marriage to a new man, while is daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka) grows increasingly rebellious.
The booze pours, the butts smoke, and the love is free in this intriguing season of Mad Men that fans won’t want to miss. The series hasn’t lost any steam yet, as far as I can tell.
This Blu-ray release of Mad Men no doubt offers a big upgrade in quality of the cable and satellite broadcasts of the series. The the image is now in 1080p and gone are any occurrences of macroblocking, posterization or any other compression artifacts. Grain is a bit heavy and whites tend to be a just bit blown out, but other than that detail is strong, flesh tones are good, and colors “pop” nicely.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is relatively straightforward, staying mostly forward, but there are plenty of moments where the surrounds support the scenes with good amounts of atmospherics.
When it comes to supplements, this three-disc set is a winner, offering up to two audio commentaries with cast and creators for nearly every episode plus three ninety-minute featurettes delving into the themes of the show, like divorce in the 60′s, the contentious 1964 presidential campaign, and success in business, Don Draper style.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Audio Commentaries:
- “Public Relations” with Matthew Weiner and Jon Hamm; with David Carbonara and Janie Bryant.
- “Christmas Comes But Once a Year” with Joel Murray and Alexa Alemanni; with Matthew Weiner and Michael Uppendahl
- “The Good News” with Melinda Page Hamilton and Jared Harris; with Matthew Weiner and Jennifer Getzinger
- “The Rejected” with Vincent Katheiser, John Slattery, and Cara Buono; with Matthew Weiner and Chris Manley
- “The Chrysanthemum and The Sword” with Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy
- Marketing the Mustang: An American Icon (1.78:1; 1080i/60)
- Audio Commentaries:
- “Waldorf Stories” with Aaron Stanton, Jay Ferguson, and Danny Strong; with Matthew Weiner, Brett Johnson, and Scott Hornbacher
- “The Suitcase” with Elisabeth Moss; with Matthew Weiner, Tom Wilson, and Chris Manley
- “The Summer Man” with Christopher Stanley, Matt Long, and Rich Sommer; with Mathew Weiner and Leo Trombetta
- “The Beautiful Girls” with Christina Hendriks, Cara Buono, and Kiernan Shipka; with Matthew Weiner and Dahvi Waller
- Divorce: Circa 1960 (1.78:1; 1080p/24; Dolby Digital 5.1) – Numerous experts and real people discuss and debunk many myths surrounding “traditional” families of the 40′s through early 60′s.
- Audio Commentaries:
- “Hands and Knees” with Vincent Kartheiser and Christina Hendricks; Matthew Weiner and David Carbonara
- “Chinese Wall” with Jessica Paré and Cara Buono; with Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy
- “Blowing Smoke” with John Slattery, Andre and Maria Jacquemeton, and Robert Morse; with Matthew Weiner, Bob Levinson, and Josh Weltman
- “Tomorrowland” with Kiernan Shipka, Marten Weiner, and Jessica Paré; with Matthew Weiner and Jonathan Igla
- How to Succeed in Business Draper Style (1.78:1; 1080p/24; Dolby Digital 5.1)
- 1964 Presidential Campaign (1080p/24; Dolby Digital 5.1)
The Definitive Word
Mad Men takes place well before my time, but it seems like the series does a great job of capturing the feel of the era. It doesn’t shy away from the controversies of the day either, like civil rights, abortion rights, and women’s rights. The Blu-ray release offers a significant upgrade over the broadcasts, so this is a definite must-have release for fans of the series. Highly recommended.
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