Created by: Matt Weiner. I believe my opinion of the previous season was not particularly glowing, but this season definitely made up for that. I’m not sure what it was—maybe a change in my own disposition towards the show, or an increase of quality in the writing, but this season seemed to be full of really compelling episodes, delving into really juicy territory, getting into some really strange situations. As soon as they got into Don’s near-death experience and dreams, I could see immediately the Sopranos influence (just as I almost dismissed that show as being a bit overrated—it so completely set the tone for serious TV drama up to the present day). I have a nagging paranoia whenever I watch a TV series, a stomach-churning dread that I’m wasting a whole bunch of my life for no reason. If I’m going to watch TV, I want to know I’m at least getting some kind of content out of it, gleaning some kind of unique insight on American culture, something, anything. I want the TV show to allow me to forget that I’m watching a TV show—a cut to a scene, a person in an office, another person enters the office, a short conversation takes place in unrealistic tones and vocabulary, the person leaves the office, the original person has a look on their face in reaction to the conversation that just took place, cut, next scene. If I notice all that shit, it drives me nuts. I’m sitting there watching TV, watching a thing that isn’t real, that doesn’t relate to life, etc, etc. I get this a bit with every show, but when a show is really good, like really good, then I can forget, and this season of Mad Men definitely let me lose myself in this world, swept me away for an hour at a time into the parameters of its own world and let me forget my own, while showing an interesting allegorical insight into American culture. This show is how modern America wants to see itself and its recent past—the decade that arguably set the precedent, the cultural tone, the cultural consciousness, of every decade up to the present. Don is getting more and more unpredictable and with the final season announced as the next one, the stage is being set to wrap this thing up into something coherent and relevant, to finally end the curse that every American show is burdened with—to go on and on and on and on as long as possible to bleed every last dollar out of the franchise well after any trace of quality or insight is gone. I look forward to the last season eagerly.