Over the past few weeks, I have become rather addicted to Mad Men (thanks Netflix). After recently finishing all four seasons I have found myself entranced by not just the wardrobe, style, and excellent film direction but the story lines, in-depth character development, and references to the past ad men, agencies and campaigns that I studied in school.
As season four came to a close, I immediately jumped online to see when I could next expect to follow the ever-changing life of Mr. Draper and the shaky state of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. 2012 seemed a long time to wait for season five as the characters have made me searching for more 1960’s bitter-sweet style and “realities”. So as many others have recently done, I eagerly tuned in to Pan Am and The Playboy Club for a snack to tide me over before Mad Men graces our televisions, computer screens, and tablets once again.
Mad Men — rejected by HBO found it’s home on AMC, a channel not known for popular first run television shows, with a bunch of actors who had yet to make a big name for themselves in Hollywood is now at the top of the heap. As it has gained popularity and credibility, it also gained some Hollywood admirers. No matter how much Pan Am and The Playboy Club may say they are not taking after Mad Men there is no stopping the comparisons.
Pan Am, has all of the glam and glitz as Mad Men but none of the character development or depth. Granted it has potential, since only the Pilot has aired. . . It has yet to have the same spark or magic that Mad Men was able to bring to the table from it’s first airing.
The Playboy Club has a closer feel to Mad Men. Maybe because the director of the Pilot has also directed many episodes of it’s “parent show” or maybe because leading man Nick Dalton seems to be taking lessons from Don Draper himself.
Neither show though seems to have the magic, rawness, and authenticity of Mad Men yet. I am going to continue watching, for now, hoping that both shows will continue to add some character development and flair. I still cannot help but think that it’s Mad Men’s rags to riches story itself that makes us feel as if we are watching Don Drapers life grow and unfold instead of watching another 60’s show just put together for the masses.