April 7th marks the return of the one of television’s greatest shows of all time, and the move from the awesomely classic aesthetic of the early 1960s to the gaudy and unpleasant aesthetic of the late 60s and early 70s. That change will be evident in some of the photos below. Before we get to that though, let’s talk about what we’ve got to expect story wise coming up…
Before we get to this weeks episode, that despite it’s name has no goofy vampires played by Johnny Depp, we must quickly go over the happenings in Episode 508 “Lady Lazarus” which missed it’s review last week. (sorry)
We start the week with Peggy playing her increasingly frequent new role of being a jealous bitch. She is upset that Megan has had such an easy time being a copywriter and doesn’t seem to be enjoying her success. After taking a verbal scalding Megan decides it’s not only that her father doesn’t believe in her capitalistic ventures, but also that Peggy is right that her heart isn’t in it which leads her to quit SCDP to return to what she believes she is destined for; acting. Don is not pleased but he hides it well, from Megan anyways. At this point if Megan curled up to him and said “Don, I think I’m going to drive across country in the nude murdering and pillaging as I roam because that’s the best thing for me!” you almost feel he would grudgingly agree with her.
The other big development of the week comes in the form of Pete Campbell’s continued emulation of the Don Draper of old. When he finally meets the wife of his train companion, a sexy turn by Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel, Pete eventually caves to her advances and has a one-night fling. We quickly learn the difference between Don behaving badly and Pete behaving badly however. Campbell becomes a puppy and quickly becomes absolutely obsessed with Beth Dawes, following her around and even entering her home on the pretenses of buying life insurance from her husband. She insists it was a one time thing, but ends the episode by giving Pete a glimmer of hope in his schoolboy heart by drawing a heart in the fog of her windshield as he sheepishly looks on.
As the episode closed, we are given a brief moment where, in an attempt to get Don up to speed, Megan buys him the newest Beatles album – Revolver. This scene is present to help display just how out of touch Don is, and it wasn’t a cheap example either. According to the New York Time, the show’s producers had to drop $250,000 to play the track. Which is probably why it picks back up during the credits. Waste not…
In “Dark Shadows” we see a little bit more of what is becoming an increasingly disturbing fact; Don is getting old and losing his touch. As we’ve come to learn, Don has lost touch with modern music and “what kid’s like these days” and has been so head over heels with Megan that he hasn’t been putting in the office time either. At the beginning of the episode he look over the copy work and realizes for the first time what everyone else knows. His hand isn’t in any of it. Thus when it’s time for Don to make the pitch to the Sno Cone execs and the choice is between Ginsberg’s series, which people seemed to prefer over Don’s Sno Cone eating devil. Guess which ad piece got left in the cab. Don’s ad piece isn’t bad, in fact it’s good enough to make the sale but that’s not the point. It’s the first time we see Don’s cracks when it comes to advertising. He sounds lame as he tries to sell the devil’s creepy voice and has clearly become out of touch with not just the youth of the day, but the youth of his own office. This also opens up a new Mad Men rivalry between the young and the old where we find an ignoble and emboldened Michael Ginsberg flying in the face of the man he once so admired. It will be interesting to see how Don handles this new metamorphosis into the figurehead role that has already claimed Sterling and Cooper. As Don regresses it will also be interesting to see if the absence of Megan from his everyday office life will sully the sheen of new love and open the door for the Don of old’s philandering ways.
Speaking of old dogs learning new tricks, Roger has become a little fed up with being strictly a schmoozer and wants to take his rivalry with Campbell to a new level by actually bringing in client of his own, namely Manishewitz wine. As Roger is technically still married to a honest to goodness Jew he enlists Jane’s help to impress his client at his upcoming dinner meeting. He also enlists the other reigning Jew on the SCDP staff, wonderboy Ginsberg, to make him look smart with a winning advertising proposal. The meeting goes well but Roger still manages to make a mess of things when he rekindles the romance with Jane ruining her attempt to start a new life in the blackmail induced new apartment that she was hoping to keep free of memories of their marriage. Roger also manages to piss off an increasingly perturbed Peggy Olsen by using Ginsberg instead of returning to her for his back alley advertising needs.
We also see a little bit from Megan and one of her acting class friends reading scenes for an audition for the show…Dark Shadows. Which they railed. Kind of funny. This whole scene was simply to show Megan finally realizing how people see her, fair or not.
The other major storyline of the week ,or “Dark Shadow” if you will, involves the nest of jealously between Don, Megan, chubby Betty and Sally. Betty has joined the relatively new Weight Watchers in an attempt to regain her control over her appetite, and while the lessons from her meetings seem to help her attitude at home, she can’t help but be blinded by jealously when she sees Don’s immaculate New York apartment inhabited by his svelte and sexy new wife.
Her weapon of choice, as always, is the young Sally Draper who is more than willing to become catty and petulant when she feels shes been lied to by Megan. Betty’s scheming ultimately backfires however when Megan recognizes her meddling and keeps Don from flying off the hook which allows a more aware Sally to turn the whole ordeal into a hurtful jab towards her mother. If Mad Men lasts long enough for Sally Draper to televise her teen years then watch out! She’s only 10 or 11 on the show, but already has all the attitude and maliciousness of a teenager with the “bad boy” boyfriend to boot.
Mad Men seems to really be hitting it’s stride season and it seems there will be no end to frustrations and controversy in the SCDP office. Jared Harris will finally make his return next week as he has been noticeably absent from the series since his dust-up with Campbell. We should also expect a lot more of Pete and Beth in more that the fantastical version that aired this week as it seems that Pete’s obsession is coming to a head. With only four episodes left in the season you can feel the tension ramping up in the Mad Men world and we should be in for a great last few weeks.
For all the Mad Men fans who thought they were getting an extra hour of their favorite show this season I’m sorry to report that last weeks season 5 premiere counted as two episodes and so accordingly this weeks review will be of episode three.
We quickly learn that, as promised at the end of last weeks episode, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has indeed followed through on their pledge of diversifying the office by hiring a black secretary who is ironically named Dawn and is assigned to handle desk duties for Don, rounds of mistaken identity jokes ensue. The larger portion of the office action this week surrounds another new hire. Mohawk Airlines has been confirmed as returning to SCDP and Peggy must search for a new copywriter to handle the extra responsibilities.
Enter the plucky Michael Ginsberg (Ben Feldman) who is clearly a talented young ad man but rubs Peggy the wrong way with his brash antics. Peggy’s ultimate fear is of disappointing Don but after reigning himself in for the second interview Ginsberg passes with flying colors and gets the job.
Ginsberg looks to be an interesting new addition to the show as he seems like he will add some energy to the SCDP office and it his unbridled enthusiasm may well be something Peggy appreciates in contrast to the always cynical Stan Rizzo. The relationship between Peggy and Michael will be an interesting one to see develop as one of the overall themes of this week is to be wary of ones inter-office competitors. This is most blatantly demonstrated as the episode ends and Pete belittles Roger in front of the entire office in regards to the handling of the Mohawk account. Roger has been given control of the account but Pete makes it well know that he landed the account and that he will be monitoring Roger. The warning, as Roger says to Peggy “That’s the last guy I hired”, is that you’ve got to watch your back in the politics of office aspirations.
The biggest shocker of this weeks episode was that Betty Francis (formerly Draper) has gotten a bit fat. Betty’s notable absence from the first two episodes was apparently to illicit the maximum effect of having an episode three “shocker”, ie. January Jones in fat suit makeup. After being convinced by her mother-in-law to see a doctor about diet pills we get a bit of extra drama in that Betty might actually have Lymphatic cancer. The writers decided not too make this a strung out drama, cancer-wise anyhow, as we learn by the end of the episode that Betty’s lump is benign and her weight issues are probably more linked to the depression of being a 60’s housewife and her new found love of sweets and the plague that still haunts us today; Bugles. Betty’s cancer scare does play out some subtle battle lines in the lives of the divorced as we find Betty seeking seeking solace and reassurance from Don, Don’s concern for Betty and the kids and Henry Francis’ smug satisfaction when he learns that Betty hadn’t informed Don when she found out she was OK.
It’s been a year and a half since the finale of Mad Men season 4 and about the same amount time has passed in the Mad Men world bringing the show up to sometime in 1967. The episode begins with one of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s competitors throwing bags of ice water from their office building onto the marching civil rights protestors below which in turn sets off a series of plot points which will inevitably lead Mad Men along the course of the Civil Rights movement. But first let’s catch up.
Because a lot of time has passed there are some seemingly major events that were missed including Don Draper’s wedding to his new wife Megan whom he suddenly proposed to at the conclusion of season 4. Based on the reception Don gave to Megan’s surprise 40th birthday party in this episode I’m guessing their wedding was probably of the Vegas style anyhow. Last season we also learned that Joan was pregnant and it was the result of a rekindled affair with Roger Sterling while her husband was overseas in Vietnam. In season 5 we catch up to her post-pregnancy and get further insight into her cattiness as she is tortured by her mothers “help” with the baby. Somehow they managed to get through the episode without any breastfeeding jokes but not without Roger exclaiming ‘There’s my Baby!” after Joan visits the office quickly amending his statement wryly with an added [and some child as well]. Having a baby in the office winds up being a vehicle for multiple uncomfortable moments as it is passed from person to person until Peggy is left alone with the child only to run into Pete in the hallway where they resurrect the family that never was.
With all the comic book related movies coming up, there is a lot to keep track of. So periodically we figure it’s a good idea to check in on some of them and see what’s new…
In case you missed it, might want to read our first look: MARVEL has a lot going on…
Thor – Opens May 6th, 2011
Our first dose of Marvel Comics movie starts with the God of Thunder and his sweet look hammer Mjolnir. The cast includes veteran actor Sir Anthony Hopkins as Thor’s father Odin, the excellent and now Academy Award winning Natalie Portman, relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth as Thor himself, and Tom Hiddelston as the villainous brother Loki.
After numerous trailers, it keeps looking better and better. It almost looks like Masters of the Universe, but not total crap. My optimism is of course guarded because I hate disappointing myself. Here is the (still) most recent trailer:
and the newest poster…
X-Men: First Class – Opens June 3rd, 2011
The X-men have a slew of updates flooding the web. In case you’re not familiar with the story, the movie is about a young Professor Xavier and Magneto starting a school for gifted youngsters (Muties!) together.
The movie will star James McAvoy as Professor Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, January Jones as Emma Frost, and Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, the leader of the Hellfire Club.
We’ll also get a look at characters such as Havok, Mystique, Azazel, and The Beast.
If one X-men movie wasn’t enough, FSR reports that two more and a spin are still to come in the form of X-men 4, X-men 5 and Deadpool.
X4 and X5 will be direct sequels to X-Men 3: The Piece of Shit, because lord knows they need two movies to bury that monstrosity.
Deadpool on the other hand will completely ignore any connection to the Deadpool character from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which is a fantastic move on their part. Though I do worry about Baraka not having a job.
Check out the trailer:
Green Lantern – Opens June 17, 2011
I wasn’t very pumped for Green Lantern in the beginning because of the studio’s choice to cast Ryan Reynolds, but my interest is in high gear ever since I read Blackest Night and became a Green Lantern faithful.
I’ll give Reynolds and the movie a chance. The trailer actually looked pretty good, particularly the shots of Oa, Sinestro, Kilowog, and Abin Sur. The film will of course star Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan. But we will also see Blake Lively as love interest Carol Ferris, Mark Strong as Sinestro, Temuera Morrison as Abin Sur, and just recently announced Michael Clarke Duncan as the voice of Kilowog. Playing big-headed villain Hector Hammond is Peter Sarsgaard.
Also The Daily BLAM just posted new pics released by Warner Brothers…
Captain America – Opens July 22nd, 2011
This has been all over the internet for the past few days, so you might’ve already seen it, but there is the new trailer for Captain America: First Avenger:
Wait, that’s not right. Sorry, here it is:
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance – Opens February 17th, 2012
This comes from Complex:
Is it a reboot or a sequel? Like The Incredible Hulk (and, by the sound of things, the next Daredevil movie) it seems to be kind of both. “We’re just looking at it as an evolution,” explains Taylor. “The movie takes place years later. We’re not disowning the first movie but this Ghost Rider is an evolved form of the previous Ghost Rider. We basically completely re-envisioned the whole start of the character. The whole mythology behind the Ghost Rider that existed in the comic books never really made sense to me, so we sort of had to re-engineer the entire back-story into something new. That mythology never got delved into in the first movie, anyway, [but] we really get into that.”That enhanced focus on the demon Zarathos has involved a whole different approach to playing the character for returning star Nicolas Cage, who’s now playing Blaze and the Ghost Rider, instead of leaving the Flaming Skull up to the FX guys and the stuntmen. “Shooting action and car crashes and all that stuff is boring,” says Taylor, “but shooting a Nic Cage performance is a total adrenaline rush.”
The Avengers – Opens May 4th, 2012
The Avengers cast is all but assembled! Iron Man will of course be played Robert Downey Jr., while Chris Hemsworth fills the thunder god Thor‘s boots, and Chris Evans is our shield wielding patriot Captain America. The supporting Avengers are as follows: Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson reprising her role as the Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo filling in as Bruce Banner with Lou Ferrigno doing the Hulk voice. Finally Sam Jackson will once again be our eye-patched Nick Fury. Recently it has been confirmed at DisFanReview that the villains of the Avengers film will be comprised of two alien races; the Kree and the Skrulls. Also joining the fray from Thor will be Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston.
The Amazing Spider-Man – Opens July 3rd, 2012
After so much speculation on which pretty boy would be the new Peter Parker, the powers that be selected Andrew Garfield of recent The Social Network fame. The villain he will face off against played by Rhys Ifans, has recently been announced to be none other than Curt Conners; The Lizard. I would say this film has inspired the Man of Steel to cast the hero’s parental figures with veteran actors, because Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben will be played by Martin Sheen, and Aunt May by Sally Field. Emma Stone will play Peter Parker’s love interest Gwen Stacy, as her father Captain Stacy is played by Dennis Leary.
The Dark Knight Rises – Opens July 20th, 2012
THE BIG ONE. This is my (Doc.) most anticipated movie on the list. By far. That may be why this is the movie on the list that we have done the most coverage on thus far. This is the 5th article to at least partially cover the movie (Jan. 19th, Feb. 2nd, Feb. 14th, March 22nd).
Well since that last update we have 2 more casting bits. First, actress Juno Temple has been confirmed as “street-smart Gotham girl”. Wtf that is I don’t know, but maybe she’s a budding Harleen Quinzel or a young Barbara Gordon, or maybe shes just a nobody. Who knows…
Secondly when have ‘Used to be Relevant’ actor Treat Williams, who is best known (at least to me) for Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, and probably – more famously, for replacing Tom Berenger (Inception) in The Substitute sequels. Is that weird that he followed Berenger in those movies, and now he’s been offered a role in Nolan’s follow-up to Berenger’s last major role? Any way, this is news to…well, everyone. But Williams claims to have been offered a role in TDKR, as well as Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming western (more on that later), but will apparently turn down both films to do a TV show called Against the Wall. So this guy is choosing to do a Chicago set TV cop drama (because we don’t have enough of those), instead of what figures to be the last Nolan Bat-Movie and the next Tarantino flick. Good career move. This better be the best f–king show of all time…
ALSO – It would appear that Nolan is keeping the end of the movie SO closely guarded that he didn’t even put it in that script. He is instead verbally conveying it to the cast in hopes of keeping it secret. What it could be I don’t know, but it he kills off Batman…
There is also talk of rebooting the whole series after this installment to make a version of Batman who can better interact with the other superheroes. More on that at Moviephone.
For more on Batman, well…you can stay here. Batman is our territory.
Superman: Man of Steel – Opens December 2012
The newest incarnation of Superman directed by Zac Snyder is moving right along with almost the entire main cast selected. Newcomer Henry Cavill will play Clark Kent/Superman, with his Daily Planet partner Lois Lane just being announced to be played by The Fighter‘s Amy Adams. Ma and Pa Kent will be played by veterans Diane Lane and Kevin Costner respectively.
Now all that is left is the casting of a villain, which is still currently up in the air. Rumors right now are pointing furiously at Viggo Mortensen playing the villain Zod. EW is reporting that he has withdrawn from Snow White and The Huntsman to possibly star in the Man of Steel. This is undoubtedly the best decision he could have made in that regard.
Time will tell which Superman villain we shall see onscreen next and who will play them. We will of course keep a very close eye on any developments.
STILL A WAYS OFF…
The Justice League – 2013
According to IGN, there has been word from Warner Bros. that they are set on re-inventing the Batman franchise after Nolan completes The Dark Knight Rises, and to also have a Justice League movie released by 2013. Let the speculation begin about how many JLAers will be in the movie!
I would expect to see an onslaught of DC movies coming out before 2013.
Iron Man 3 – With John Favreau leaving the Iron Man franchise, who knows if it will suffer greatly from the loss. They still have leading man Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and the new director Shane Black has been announced as Favreau’s replacement [Ed. – A move I love]. This won’t be the first time Downey Jr. and Black have worked together, Black directed the 2005 cult classic Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang which Downey starred in.
Not much else has been revealed about Iron Man 3 except that it will not have any superhero crossovers, as Iron Man 2 did with War Machine and Nick Fury. The film will also thankfully take a different direction than the second film, so hopefully we won’t see Iron Downey Jr. drinking and laughing it up in his Iron Man suit at his party mansion.
Please give us the Mandarin in this one Marvel, his time has come.
The Wolverine – Oh what could have been Mr. Aronofsky. After the Black Swan director just recently bailed on the sequel to Wolverine: Origins, the obvious question is who shall replace him? Recent rumors say it could be David Slade, who is also reportedly attached to direct the Daredevil reboot. So will he ditch the ‘Man Without Fear’ for Wolvie, or can he do both?
Wolverine will be spending some time in Japan for this one although there are some delays at the moment due to the Earthquakes and Tsunamis that recently occurred there. If my expectations have dropped a little, they are still kept afloat by Hugh Jackman’s dedication to the character and the franchise. EW had a chance to catch up with the Wolvie actor who had this to say:
“So now we’re out looking for a director, We were pretty much ready to go. The script is fantastic — the best we’ve ever had, which is why it attracted Darren in the first place. His personal situation precludes him from doing it now, and I feel for him. But now we need to find a director.” Jackman wouldn’t cite any preference, but said the team is aiming for another prestige filmmaker, not just someone to yell “action” and “cut.” “We’re not going to settle. We’re going to find a director as good as Darren, if not better. Well, as good, Everyone is still pushing forward to getting it done.”
Daredevil – If there is any Marvel movie franchise besides Ghost Rider that is in desperate need of a reboot it’s ‘the Man Without Fear’. According to Screen Rant newly appointed director David Slade claims that the reboot will not have any connection to the Affleck Daredevil movie, and will be a “very strong character driven take” on the hero.
I suppose that’s better than an Evanescence driven take. Thankfully the rumors of possible Robert Pattinson casting interest was debunked by Slade, who explained that the DD reboot is only in its early development stages so at this point the possibilities of cast members and villains are wide open.
So there we have it for now. Was that enough for one post?