Tag Archives: Mad Men

The Best TV Shows of 2015

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

You may have heard the term “peak TV” tossed around this year. There certainly is a lot of it; some outlets have run top 20 or top 40 lists of the best shows of the year, and still managed to leave off plenty of great stuff. We here at SportsAlcohol.com like watching TV, but we also like respecting your time. So we tried to winnow our group list down to ten. Then, when that didn’t really work, we went for twelve – thirteen with an unbreakable tie. This, to us, feels manageable. You can catch up on these thirteen shows and feel like you’ve gotten up to speed with the best the medium has to offer. In fact, we emphatically insist that you do so right as soon as you finish this list. Let’s go!
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‘You’re the Worst,’ ‘Mad Men,’ and the Joys of Non-Serialization

Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

In advance of our Best TV of 2015 list coming later this week, we’ll be running a few essays digging deeper into the best television had to offer this year.

When You’re the Worst‘s episode “LCD Soundsystem” began, I was legitimately confused. It opened with characters I’d never seen before, Lexi and Rob, going about their daily routine as if they’d been on the show all along. I’m new to the series—I haven’t seen the first season, and can’t because I don’t have Hulu—so I spent some time wondering if I should know these people.

No one knew those people. Late in the episode, Lexi and Rob’s connection to the characters we do know, mainly Gretchen, was revealed. Even then, answers came slowly. Gretchen was watching Lexi and Rob. But had she met them before? Was he an ex-boyfriend, or was she an old classmate?

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‘Mad Men’ Series Finale Discussion Thread: Shut the Door; Have a Seat and Let’s Talk.

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

The pink slip. The gold watch. The forced retirement. Find any kind of cute office comparison you want, but Mad Men has just ended. After seven seasons, it proved itself to stand alone among its peers: An hourlong drama that was truly character-driven instead of story-driven, Mad Men often confounded its own fans, who looked for clues to its conclusion that were never there. Now that the real ending has revealed itself, of course we’ve got some opinions, and we’re sure you do, too. So let’s talk.

WARNING: Spoilers about the Mad Men series finale after the cut.

Continue reading ‘Mad Men’ Series Finale Discussion Thread: Shut the Door; Have a Seat and Let’s Talk.

Mad Men Characters At Their Finest

Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

I’m sure every show nowadays fancies itself a character-driven show, but Mad Men is moreso than most. While things definitely happen, it’s not minute-by-minute plot-driven — the way Breaking Bad was or Game of Thrones is — since there are skips in time between episodes and big jumps in time between seasons. Instead of focusing on what happens, Mad Men is more concerned with who people are at their very cores, versus how they present themselves to the world.

With a mission like that, there’s plenty of opportunity for character moments — little scenes that really get to the heart of each individual in the big cast. Some, of course, are more enjoyable to watch than others. Here are the times I think the show really allowed each character to be at his or her best: each Mad Men character’s finest hour.

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BEST TV OF 2014: OUR TOP TEN

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

There is a lot of stuff on TV; as diverse as our music and movie and book tastes might be here at SportsAlcohol.com, probably no end-of-year voting offered as many different hours as our collective list of the best TV of 2014. Nearly fifty different shows were mentioned across our ballots, which is something like 500 hours of television, give or take. Yet a clear consensus did emerge, and that was that we pretty much all watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine but don’t quite love it the best. Here, below, is what we do love the best (maybe next year, Samberg).

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Halting ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

Ben

Ben self-identifies as a Slytherin, so it makes sense that he is a business school graduate. He really liked the movie Margin Call, so that makes him SportsAlcohol.com's de facto business correspondent. By business correspondent, we mean the expert in movies and television about business (we don't care about the strength of the dollar or whatever).

The only salient reason that AMC could give in its decision to renew Halt and Catch Fire, a deeply flawed, little watched show, is affluence. “Halt and Catch Fire was No. 3 among affluent viewers age 18-49, trailing only The Good Wife and Mad Men.” Sites that do viewer comparisons note that the ratings were close to other shows that AMC had decided to cancel. Go here if you want numbers, but the overarching number is this: Halt and Catch Fire had 1.3 million viewers.

As part of that number, the 0.4 percent of the U.S. population who watch this show, I received news of the renewal decision with a mixture of excitement and sadness because, while there is something in it that I find compelling, it is not a “good show.” It isn’t even a “good bad show”, and I watch plenty of those.

Someone on Twitter asked me if he should watch Halt and Catch Fire, and that question is impossible to answer without probing this question: Why would someone want to watch Halt and Catch Fire? Why did I watch it? And, by extension, what makes Halt and Catch Fire No. 3 among affluent viewers?

The reasons that I can think of are an affinity for business cases, an interest in startups and innovation, and a nostalgia for early computing. But, ultimately, it fails in creating a compelling work narrative. It is too much a business case and not enough of a business fantasy.

I will take those in four parts. And, yes, there will be spoilers for Halt as well as Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and a few others.

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