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April 20, 2014

Mad Men has a ten-year plan

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 10th 2008 9:07AM
Mad Men seductionIs there a new trend in the television landscape? Could be. At the TCA panel for Mad Men, creator Matt Weiner, revealed that the show is only going to run four more years.

That's right, the man has a plan. Each season of Mad Men will jump ahead approximately two years, so that when Don Draper's story comes to an end, it will be 1969. Can you imagine how radically the show will look by the end of the 1960s? With their attention to detail, it'll be amazing.

So what's the trend? It's setting an endpoint for a series. Battlestar Galactica did it, and Lost has as well. Traditionally, American television series run and run and run until the creators choose to end or the network calls it quits which usually corresponds to viewers having tuned out.



This idea of determining the end of the show from the start -- which sounds quite sound and reasonable to me, kind of like writing a novel and knowing when the story will end -- is somewhat of a revolution.

I think this is a great idea and one that's been long overdue. It just makes sense from a creative point of view. Based on his experience as a writer for The Sopranos, Weiner knows that when a show is a hit, the temptation is to keep producing it. David Chase was convinced to keep The Sopranos going longer than he wanted to -- or so he says.

Perhaps by telling the world now that Mad Men is only going to cover ten years, or just four more years, he's giving notice that this is a show that will not wear out its welcome. It has a story to tell and he'll tell it than call it a day.

Hopefully, AMC will back up Mad Men and Weiner, keeping the show on the air for the duration of the run. That's through 2011. By then, I predict Mad Men will have won a mantle-full of Emmys, so AMC would be nuts to pull the plug.

No, I'm not a psychic, but when the Emmy nominations are announced on July 17, Mad Men is going to be leading the way. Just wait and see.

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divineparasite

Its funny. I think this trend will continue well into the future of written television. Perhaps the major networks like CBS and ABC will adapt the idea as well. Which will mean much shorter seasons. I can see many network shows cutting down thier episodes per season the way "Lost" already has so that there will be much less "filler" episodes. They tell thier story for the season and then end it at 10, 11, 12 episodes. And great shows will maintain a level of quality a lot more instead of overstaying thier welcome till the show is just a ghost of its former greatness.

July 10 2008 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vincent J. Murphy

I think the BBC has is all over any American show for having specific endings for their shows.

July 10 2008 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ProgGrrl

This is great news...since I'm a MM fan, of course I pray the show lasts all five years and I am excited by the prospect of seeing Don & Company in the late 60s! Wonderful.

And more generally, as you are saying here, this bodes well for dramatic TV -- especially the more serialized stuff. While I am sure that many TV creators have plans like this that come along with their pilot script, as a business plan that the networks can also embrace, it's quite exciting.

July 10 2008 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oreo

Star Trek had a five year mission. ;)

July 10 2008 at 10:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

Yeah like that Babylon 5 revolution fifteen years ago.

Better stress that "somewhat".

July 10 2008 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bcarter3

"...when Don Draper's story comes to an end, it will be 1969."

Just in time for him to join the Nixon administration.

July 10 2008 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason

"This idea of determining the end of the show from the start -- which sounds quite sound and reasonable to me, kind of like writing a novel and knowing when the story will end -- is somewhat of a revolution."

I agree with this notion, and it would have been an appropriate thing to say... in 1995. I didn't discover it until a few years ago, but the real revolutionizer here is Babylon 5. Love Mad Men (Lost and BSG too!), but these shows are hardly the first to do this kind of long-term planning.

July 10 2008 at 10:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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