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In the fifth season of “Mad Men” Matt Weiner & Co bring us the best of the series yet. 1966-67 finds Sterling, Cooper, Draper, & Pryce much better established after their breakaway from the old Sterling-Cooper and growing their business. This season seems to have a theme of new beginnings starting with Don now married to former secretary and wannabe actress; beautiful and young Megan (or the “Canadian sexpot” to quote Roger). Speaking of Roger, he’s decided after an illuminating LSD trip to divorce his much younger wife Jane and move on. Betty’s now married to Henry Francis is having her own mid-life crisis and has gained weight with resulting unhappiness. Peggy faces her own fork in the road and makes a major career decision which will start a new chapter in her life. Joan has a new baby, returns to work at the agency, and finds her marriage to her absentee Army surgeon husband going down the tubes.

Don starts this fifth year of the show on his 40th birthday where his 26 year old wife (Jessica Pare’ who’s as pretty as the former Mrs. Draper and expresses far greater warmth) throws him a surprise party (which he loathes) and performs a seductive song and dance routine for him and the crowd (Google it, she does a nice job). He seems to be happier than we’ve ever seen him, not drinking as much, and amazingly not indulging in the serial infidelity for which he’s become famous. Picking up the slack in that arena is Pete Campbell; always a bit of a jerk he’s bringing his “A”-game to work but his personal life is not satisfying him. Trudy’s made him leave NYC for the Connecticut suburbs so their new baby can grow up in the fresh air and Pete hates it. He has an unexpected encounter with the wife of a fellow commuter from the train (played by Alexis Bledel of “Gilmore Girls” fame who in mid 60’s wardrobe and coif looks like a young Jackie Kennedy) and tries to put the moves on an 18 year old in his driver’s ed class. Lane Pryce faces his own personal troubles of a financial nature and makes a very poor decision that will have serious ramifications for him.

As usual, the attention to detail in set dressing and wardrobe is incredible. If you were in your youth back then you will recognize so many things from that time which will have you waxing nostalgic. For example, Howard Johnson’s is a client so Don and Megan pay a visit which gets Don excited about eating orange sherbet. Ho-Jo’s were ubiquitous back then with their famous orange roofs and today there’s only one restaurant left operating, so sad. Watching Pete on the train seeing the Long Island Rail Road logo in the car brought back memories growing up just a few stops away from his in Cos Cob home. Don’s pitch of the Jaguar campaign really connected with me; he describes testing the iconic XKE Jag and passing a 10 year old boy staring at the car as he passes by. I had that same experience and can remember seeing an E-Type Jag for the first time, it started a lifelong interest in automobiles for me.

Some fellow reviewers didn’t like this season and didn’t think much happened which is surprising. There was lots of character development and we got to know more about almost every key player at SCDP. Also some dislike Ms. Pare’ and don’t think she’s attractive or find the role of Megan annoying but to me she was a welcome change from the frosty, detached Betty (January Jones). Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Mos are just excellent and keep getting better in these parts. John Slattery plays Roger as such a lovable rogue you can’t help but like him. Vincent Kartheiser tackles the challenge of playing Pete Campbell and takes an insufferable butthead and manages to make him engaging (you’ll still enjoy the thrashing he gets not once, but twice). And finally, Christina Hendricks as Joan has evolved into a complex character who can get by on her looks but has plenty of brains and isn’t afraid to use them. I’m looking forward to seeing where these terrific actors takes us in Season 6.
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on December 17, 2016
Just like all previous seasons of Mad Men, I can watch this over and over again. There is nothing like it on TV. Matthew Weiner is absolutely a genius. The shows are great. The commentaries are great too. They are listed under special features on the Main Menu. I really enjoy watching the commentaries, especially the ones done by Matthew Weiner. This man is so funny and brilliant. Some things are explained in the commentaries that I may not have understood while watching the show. Also, they tell quite a bit about how the show is actually made. Matthew Weiner's son, Marten Weiner plays Sally Draper's friend, Glen. Marten is fantastic in his part. Just absolutely adorable. He breaks my heart in how he plays the part. All the cast is great, actually. I am anticipating more from Mr. Weiner. You can not go wrong with Mad Men. It's the best TV can be. A big thank you to cast, crew, and most of all, Mr. Matthew Weiner.
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on November 7, 2012
It's now season 5 of the ad men and women of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. We're now in the mid-60's and the world continues to change. Our heroes have to go with the times and creative advertising for a changing world. Although I love the show, MADMEN seems to be slowing down. It seems like only troubled, narcisstic and egotistic men can find work in advertising along with one lady and a sexy female office manager. Few of these characters are likeable and all have morality issues yet we seem to like them. John Hamm continues to be a winner as the trouble Don Draper. Draper has long been on top of his game but now he is facing middle age and a new generation of consumers. After a surprise marriage to his secretary Megan, he now has the chance for love and happiness and domestic stability. He has it all but still has to fight his inner demonds.
Lovely Jessica Paré brings warmth and fresh air to the series and Megan Draper. Maybe this marriage will work if Don gives it a chance. Former wife Betty is also remarried and know struggles with a weight problem and a disagreeable daughter.
Christina Hendricks is as gorgeous and vuluptuous as ever as Joan Harris. She's another troubled soul who runs hot and cold and has a love/hate relationship with men.
It is fun to take a step back in time to see characters dressed in mid-60's styles dealing with issues of the day. I am amazed that the show is able to use real products. Ad campaigns center around well-known products of the day and many are still in existence. The fight for the JAGUAR contract while admitting JAGUARS are beautiful and sexy cars that are mechanical nightmares. How do they get away with that?
Our season doesn't even end with any cliffhanger...more of just a "what next?" attitude. I still like the show but it seems to need an infusion of energy and drama.
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on December 17, 2012
<SPOILER ALERT> Too bad Mad Men lost the Emmy to the timely Homeland. In my humble opinion, this was by far its best season yet. We had the always-astonishing Roger tripping his a** off on LSD - and in the process getting out of another loveless marriage. Joan's sudden, troubling personal affairs that lead her to make exasperatingly difficult, life-altering decisions. Betty (who would have thought it?) battling a weight problem paired with her eccentric (to put it mildly) Mother-in-Law, a fascinating character, without an empathetic bone in her body. She's so detached. Is it elitism or something much more nefarious like the onset of dementia? The profoundly sad downfall of Lane, not before giving Pete the punch in the nose that he's had coming for years. Then the kicker final scene - Don's transcendentally styled departure from his new wife - he walked -literally- right past the camera and seemingly out of her new career, and life; tremendously brave direction that worked on every level. Will Don acquiesce to a lovely young woman's advances in a cocktail lounge?

Congratulations to the talented group of writers, actors and others behind the scene that pulled this season together. It seems like an eternity before Season Six arrives. The good news is we all have these archives at our disposal!

The bonus gallery, commentary, short features and the Canadian Club recipes complete the package.
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on January 3, 2013
The format of this show is a continuing drama, so you might call it a night time soap. But to say that would be like saying champagne is just grape soda pop. Mad Men is so well-written that it is consistent only in its ability to take you by surprise. For example, it's not surprising that Don Draper would impulsively marry his secretary in a kind of mid-life crisis. But the dynamics of that relationship are anything but expected! Here is this philandering character who has a very hard time saying "no" to almost any woman he meets, but something about this lovely younger woman seems to bring out his more human and vulnerable side. He truly loves her. All of the relationships in this drama are nuanced and multi-layered. There is a lot of dry humor, which distinguishes it from most of the "serious" dramas out there. (And by the way -- no violence and very little swearing. Hooray!!!) The cast is so believable that you forget to notice they're acting. And the music! The music is just as unexpected as the rest of it. They manage to evoke the era flawlessly, and the music is very important in achieving that. Sometimes the closing music adds an ironic tone to an ending that just stuns you. Sorry to go on and on, but if you haven't seen this show, you have no idea what you're missing!
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on July 9, 2012
This episode should have been 2 hours long. They had so many great plotlines that were skimmed over that could have been thoroughly explored. Hopefully next year,if their is a next year. The whole symbolism about people's ghosts coming back to haunt them and how they handle it was good. Love Joan as partner, throwing her weight around in that aqua dress rocking the glasses with the chain.

Will say this for the finale. It left me feeling fragile. I could feel for Megan clawing for that crappy commercial so she doesn't have to be tortured by her mom. I have a male family member who does this to everyone and thinks they are
' helping ' and is suprised when people don't talk to him

. Like that Don would put his pride aside and stick up for Megan like that. The almost childish grin on Draper's face when he was watching Megan's screen test was priceless. I have a feeling he has something gravely wrong with his health, I wonder if she will be there for him when it happens.

This episode made me understand Pete and train guy's wife. They are like two weird peas in a pod.It partially explains why Pete is so unhappy with Trudy and his perfect life. Did anyone else think train guy's wife and train jerk kind of resemble's a prescursor to Rory's bitter resigned grandparent's on Gilmour girls ? Didn't they live in Conneticut ? Wasn't her Grandfather in insurance ?
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on June 20, 2015
I love this series. Just started watching it a couple of months ago and now I am into the 6th season. Season 5 was exceptional with the usual intelligent dialogue and the commentary on the times is impeccable. I love the writing and the acting is inthralling. Every character wins my heart and mind. If you have missed this serial and you love theater please, treat yourself. But, it can be a tad dark and is ever so truthful. I don't know how it would feel if you struggle with addiction because the amount of smoking and drinking can be rattling. I lived through the turbulent sixties and the revisiting of many of the events reactivates the experience of being there. What I enjoy the most is how the script takes you places that you think you know where you are going and surprises over and over again with quirky shifts of outcomes.
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on December 20, 2012
Once I started watching the series on DVD I was committed to purchasing each new season as it is released. Warning: the series is highly addictive and once you start it is like eating peanuts - you can't stop. The acting is superb, the writing and plot twists mesmerizing and it is easily one of the best shows on TV (along with Homeland - another addictive series). It is especially nice to watch without ads to break the momentum of the story. How great to see the next episode immediately rather than having to wait a week to watch live on TV! This is another series that is worth owning for the extra features and to re-watch episodes to catch what you missed first time around. The details are so compelling that I find it brings back memories of the 60's from my childhood that I had forgotten - the kids watching their parents at cocktail parties, the clothing, the "feel" of everything, including the music, the omnipresent cigarettes, everything! I especially love the treatment of historic events such as the Kennedy assassination, and how the story line is integrated into the character's lives in such a realistic way. Beautifully done.
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on June 12, 2012
This was a visceral season. There are several scenes I winced and I'm no shrinking violet. The duplicity and social expectations equate to a group of together yet divided assemblage of characters. Subtle symbolism, brilliant costume design and steady revelatory character development remain unchanged from previous seasons. Story continuity arcs but remains consistent.

Paul Kinsey goes Hare Krishna, while Harry gets one in the kisser after giving it from behind over his desk. 'Alas, whining, unlikeable Harry is a true friend to insecure, whinier Paul.

Lane crosses the line out of pride and desperation, aided by a drunken banker. Cooper foreshadows Lane's bitter future in this episode.

The costumes are quietly telling. Don's lapels grow narrower, with black, blue and silver striped ties. Pete moves from bold blue suits to drab, conservative black suits. He and Don swap more than attire, they switch lives. Pete riding the train to the suburbs to his hum-drum family life and eerily familiar house interior. Don enjoys life in a swank apartment in the city with his lovely new wife. Although Don's tenuous acceptance of his role as the Man In the Gray Flannel Suit is challenged by Megan's youthful opposition to consumerism, seeking actualization in acting not advertising.
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on November 26, 2012
Seriously, I loved Season 5. After reading a lot of negative reviews, I wasn't sure I would like it at all; but I can now say it's my favorite season since the very first.

This is a good DVD set, with the usual (for Mad Men) complement of interesting features and commentary tracks, along with decent packaging, video quality, and sound. (I used to take such things for granted, but I've been disappointed often enough with other disks that I now feel that I should point these things out when they're done right.)

I do have two small nitpicks about the DVDs:

1. Some of the Special Features on the disks contain spoilers for episodes that are on later disks. That is, if you watch the Special Features on Disk 2 (for example) before watching the episodes on Disks 3 and 4, you will see things that you might not want to know about yet. I recommend that you watch the entire season's episodes first, and then go back and watch the Special Features.

2. I'm not completely dependent on closed captions, but I do keep them on and I sometimes find them very helpful. However, I found a lot of errors in the captions on these disks. Most are minor, and only mildly confusing (example: "AMP" instead of "A&P"); but if you can't hear at all, you may find the errors annoying and frustrating.
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