Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Mad Men

The phenomenon of 2007 returned just as poignant and wry, and more complex than ever. Adman Don Draper (Jon Hamm) began 1962 at the top of his field, yet feeling old and outmoded in an age of Camelot, youth and changing mores. His efforts to hold to a code of honor at work clashed with his falling off the fidelity wagon at home. But the best parts of season 2 — which unfolded like a series of John Cheever short stories — were the development of the peripheral characters. Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) proved not just a weasel but a lost, damaged young man; Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) rocketed ahead as a rare female copywriter, while dealing with giving away her out-of-wedlock baby; and January Jones added layer upon layer to Draper's wronged wife Betty, who could be both manipulative and sympathetic and turned out surprisingly strong. A banner year for mad men and women alike.