'Mad Men': Season Three - DVD Review
You're in the middle? What a politician.
I lean towards the former for newer shows and towards the latter for older shows. Though I would love to have commentaries and features for older shows, I realize that's not always possible. I ask this because the DVD set for the third season of AMC's 'Mad Men' has cast and crew commentaries for every single episode. Let's take a look at that feature and everything else in the set.
Packaging: The first season 'Mad Men' set had two different boxes. The standard box showed the classic logo, Don Draper on the couch, and he was looking out over the skyscraper that we see in the opening. The collector's box was shaped like a cigarette lighter, and the DVDs inside formed the "flame." Season two had a nice dress shirt and tie on the front.
This third season set is boring compared to those two, with just a picture of a brandy glass on the front and ordinary packaging. Fits with the theme/era of the show, though. I wonder what we'll get in the season four set? An ashtray? An Apollo rocket? Hippie clothing? I guess it all depends on what year season four takes place.
Audio/Video: You could smear Play-Doh on each of these four DVDs and you could still see that this is a beautifully shot show. There's something very movie-like about the way that 'Mad Men' is filmed, and that is evident whether you watch this on a 13" television or a 52" HDTV. Though I'd go with the latter so you can fully experience scenes like this:
Features/Extras: I've heard complaints that this DVD set only contains commentaries for every episode and a couple of documentaries. Only? How often do you see commentaries on every episode of a TV season in a DVD set? Those alone are worth the price of this set (you even get multiple commentaries on some episodes). But this has some other goodies, too, like a long documentary on the history of cigarette advertising (perfect for a 'Mad Men' set) and a biography of Medgar Evers.
Now, the second feature might be stretching it a little, since he only factored into one episode that focused on Betty and her pregnancy, but he was of that era, so it's not completely out of left field. There's also a feature on Dyna Moe, the artist who does the cool illustrations based on the show that many of us use as our avatars on the web.
So yes, this set is worth getting for those commentaries, the cigarette and Dynamoe docs, and of course the beautiful episodes themselves. This would probably be the part of the review where I talk about how great the episodes are, but at this point what else is there to say? I wasn't thrilled with Don's affair with Sally's teacher (not the affair itself, I mean the character of the teacher), but it was still a brilliant season (especially the season finale).