Mad Men has been the most consistently great show on television for four seasons now. Other shows have been great as well, but whereas they have their weak moments and off-seasons, Mad Men has always been pitch perfect. But is that all about to change?
Creator Matthew Weiner has always been notoriously private about Mad Men, believing that any hints as to what may happen on the show would ruin it for viewers. This season however he has gone above and beyond, releasing no trailers that feature new footage and running two print ads that reveal absolutely nothing. In one, a man is falling through white space with no wording or print present. In the second, our “protagonist” Don Draper stares in to a store window at two mannequins, one a naked female and the other a fella in flannel pajamas and slippers. So I guess we can assume the characters will sleep this year. SPOILER ALERT!
What’s more, the few critics who did receive early screeners of the show also got an attached letter from Weiner that stated, among other things: “I know you are aware how strongly I feel that the viewers are entitled to have the same experience you just had. My goal every season is first and foremost to entertain the audience, and I know that this is best accomplished when key storylines are not revealed in advance. I am asking you to please join with me to ensure this enjoyment by not revealing any of these answers or other issues.”
This could all of course mean some huge event kicks off the fifth season, perhaps the death of a key character. It could also mean the episode starts with a major plot point and the only way to review the premiere would be to reveal that major plot point. Or, it could mean this season isn’t as great as the past four and Mad Men has finally fallen back to Earth.
This most likely is not the case, but the more fans are starved for some information about the new season it seems the more critical they may be once they see the first episode. After over a year with no Mad Men and months of promotions that gave away nothing, how angry will everyone be if the first episode doesn’t hit it out of the park? At this point everyone is expecting some major event to kick off the new season and will likely feel let down if this is not the case.
On the flip side however, Weiner and AMC seemed to have brilliantly found a way to get more press about their show by saying absolutely nothing. Fans may be pissed, but everyone involved in Men is no doubt thrilled.
It’s as if Don and Peggy designed the world’s greatest non-campaign ever.