DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Mad Men, Season Two, Blu-ray 3-Disc Set (2008)

Another superb Blu-ray collection of the highly-rated AMC TV Series.

Published on July 15, 2009

Mad Men, Season Two, Blu-ray 3-Disc Set (2008)

Mad Men, Season Two, Blu-ray 3-Disc Set (2008)

Starring: Jon Hamm, January Jones, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks
Directors: Matthew Weiner, Alan Taylor, Tim Hunter, numerous others
Studio: Lions Gate 25036 [Release date: July 14, 09]
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Commentaries, Featurettes, Music Sampler
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Length: 611 minutes
Rating: *****

Lions Gate Studios continues to offer some of the finest non-subscription television programming available with the award-winning AMC series, Mad Men. And now, with the release of Mad Men, Season Two on Blu-ray, lovers of the show can revel in the always entertaining antics of Don Draper and the entire crew at upstart Madison Avenue agency Sterling Cooper. Don Draper is easily one of the most charismatic (and enigmatic) leading men on television, and if you thought his character was complex in Season One, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! And the cavalcade of awards continued with Season Two; Mad Men was the big winner at the 2009 Emmy Awards, gathering no fewer than six statues, and they also won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series, Drama.

The over-the-top politically incorrectness that was Season One continues with an almost incessant cavalcade of boozing, womanizing, partying and racial and sexual insensitivity. However, some cracks are appearing not only in the Sterling Cooper offices, but in Donald Draper’s personal life, as well. I only thought I was more than a little confused after Season One – after Season Two, I’m not really certain we have a clue who Don Draper really is. And amazingly enough, Betty (played by January Jones), Don’s Barbie doll of a wife, musters enough intestinal fortitude to show him the door, and he then goes on an extended cross-country sabbatical that only serves to deepen the mystery surrounding his past. All the while, Sterling Cooper is on the brink of a mega merger, and no one there seems too concerned that Don has been MIA for weeks.

Mad Men, Season Two is every bit the equal of Season One, and maintains a remarkably high standard of writing that kept my interest piqued throughout the season. The direction was also excellent, and they employed no fewer than eight different bodies in the chair, which amazed me with the continuity of the overall vision they were able to create. And when the acting is this superb – especially from a cast of relative nobodys – well, it’s just about as irresistible as television can get. AMC didn’t replay the episodes from Season Two nearly as often as they did after the conclusion of Season One, so this three-disc Blu-ray set is a more than welcome opportunity to revisit this excellent series a second (or third) time, and try and catch some of the details I might have missed last summer.

From a technical standpoint, the presentation is just about flawless. Image quality is superb, and the chosen color palette vividly recreates a vision of the Sixties. Black levels are deep, with excellent contrast and a highly detailed image presentation. The DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also superb, and presents a truly immersive listening experience. Although a mostly dialogue-driven series, there’s plenty of action in the surrounds that contributed to my overall sense of envelopment. And there’s a really generous offering of bonus materials, from commentaries for each of the 13 episodes to truly entertaining and informative making of featurettes that offer a boatload of information on how the series creators accomplish such incredible believability.

I can’t wait for the beginning of Season Three – my only regret is that I finally got the nerve to boot Comcast, and went with ATT Uverse, who have yet to add AMC HD to their lineup! Pathetic losers! Very highly recommended – this impressive Blu-ray release from Lions Gate is easily as good as it gets!

– Tom Gibbs

 




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