Mad Men: Season Five on DVD tomorrow

October 15, 2012

I have written about the series before — and I didn’t think the fifth was as good as some of the past seasons — but I’m still hooked. And while this is a kind of strange week, I didn’t think I’d gett around to writing about it myself. So I cheated and used wire. But I like Rich Heldenfels Here’s a free Halloween costume idea: Don Draper, circa 1975.

By Rich Heldenfels for the Akron Beacon Journal

One of the great delights of television is “Mad Men,” and its latest release on DVD and Blu-ray also sets a high bar in terms of extras.

Mad Men: Season Five (Lionsgate, 13 episodes, $49.98 on DVD and a penny more for the Blu-ray) offered a weird, grim and somehow exhilarating series of stories of ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm), his colleagues and loved ones as they faced a world that was changing both in their business and in the culture at large in 1966. It was a season with death, rock music, LSD – and all the characters trying to figure out their place in life. Don, for example, had to play a different role in his advertising agency, and recognize that younger people with new ideas were coming along – and that one of those younger people was his new wife, Megan (Jessica Pare).

The DVD and Blu-ray sets, due out on Tuesday, are loaded with supplemental information, including commentary tracks on each episode, and in many cases more than one with an episode. Nor are these just idle chats. One of the commentaries on the season premiere has Hamm and Pare conversing about everything from their own characters, to the importance of costuming in a scene where old and young characters intersect, to technical challenges. Hamm points out an especially awkward cut between two camera shots of a scene, as well as noting how much work went into Pare’s singing in the season premiere.

Other extras include a piece called “Mad Men Say the Darndest Things,” an assembling of memorable lines from the show, with accompanying discussion by show writers. As with past “Mad Men” sets, there are segments providing historical context, such as a gallery of Newsweek magazine covers from the period. And, in a strange piece of cross-promotion, the set is sponsored by Canadian Club whisky, so there is not only a printed sheet with a couple of cocktail recipes but a video segment offering instruction in the drinks’ preparation.

“Mad Men,” by the way, will begin a new season in spring 2013.

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