Four ways to get your Mad Men fix until the real thing returns
With another new television season almost upon us, it's also another season missing AMC's Mad Men. The '60s-era period drama, which has been on hiatus since October of last year due to negotiations between the network and creator Matthew Weiner, is now finally promising a return in March 2012. But we've been burned before, so we're skeptical. Luckily, the networks have taken the hint that we love to see perfectly coiffed ladies in lipstick and men in suits, so the season is stocked full of retro-inspired knockoffs. Here are a few new shows that might be able to tide you over until Don Draper returns.
"All I have is a crush-proof box, and four out of five dead people smoked your brand."
The Show: Pan Am
Why it might work: It's a period drama set in the '60s about attractive young Pan Am stewardesses and pilots that not-so-subtly points out how cah-razy the '60s were (drinking! smoking on airplanes! rampant sexism!). The cast includes Dean, described by ABC as "a farm boy from a small rural town" (hello, Don Draper!), and "flirtatious Colette, who is the empathetic caretaker of the group, though she herself has a penchant for unavailable men" (hi, Joanie!).
Why it probably won't: While Mad Men is known for it's intelligent dialogue, Pan Am looks a little more, well, flighty. With lines in the trailer like "Better buckle up; adventure calls!" this show looks like it's gonna be more frivolous fun than hard-hitting drama.
The Show: The Hour
Why it might work: This smart BBC drama features all the things we love about Mad Men: killer retro outfits, tons of whiskey and cigarettes, and intricate, dramatic plots. Set in 1956, the show chronicles the lives of journalists working on a live news program, complete with extramarital affairs, murder mystery and political intrigue.
Why it probably won't: The first season ends on BBC America on September 21 with a meager six episodes. That's only six hours to fill in the long, long wait until March.
The Show: The Playboy Club
Why it might work: It's eerily similar to Mad Men. Main playboy Nick Dalton is practically a Don Draper lookalike, and the show even shares one of the same actresses: Naturi Naughton, who also played Lane's Playboy Bunny girlfriend on Mad Men. Coincidence? Probably not.
Why it probably won't: It might be too much of a ripoff, with all of the sex and none of the substance. The great thing about Mad Men, as it got into the later seasons, is that it showed the creepiness of the lifestyles led in the era -- from sexism to alcoholism. Do we really want to see the exact same show rehashed, but dumbed-down for NBC?
The Show: Mad Men reruns on Netflix Instant Watch
Why it might work: There's no suitable replacement for the actual thing, and luckily Netflix has made all four seasons available to watch instantly. That's over forty hours to re-watch over and over, to notice all the intricacies of the plot and Joan's bombshell outfits.
Why it probably won't: You'll be left, inevitably, with the cliffhangers at the end of season 4. Is Don (SPOILER ALERT) really going marry that little Canadian secretary? Are Peggy and Joan finally gonna become friends? What's the future of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce now that Lucky Strike is gone? Is Peggy going to hook up with that sassy lesbian? Won't Joan's husband know that the baby isn't his? What about Peggy's baby? Is Betty really gonna stay with that loser Henry Francis? Will little Sally grow up to be a psychopath?
Come on, AMC, we're waiting.