Big Picture Big Sound

Mad Men: Season Five Blu-ray Review

By Rachel Cericola

The Film

Mad Men continues to set the bar high for television drama. Although this is the first of Mad Men's five seasons to not win the Emmy for best drama (that went to Showtime's Homeland), don't be fooled. Mad Men: Season Five shows that the AMC drama definitely has a lot left in the tank.

After a lengthy absence, Mad Men came back with a vengeance and an insanely unqiue season -- and not just because it was the only one where Don managed to stay faithful to his wife (so far, anyway).

This was the season that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce landed Jaguar. A car! It was also the one with "Zou Bisou," fat Betty, Pete getting punched in the face (more than once!), LSD, and one hell of a shocking exit. Well, two exits, if you want to get technical. In other words, while a lot of TV series show serious signs of aging at this point, Mad Men: Season Five is still must-see TV.

If you've been hanging in so far with the show, my guess is that you are frothing at the mouth for season six. Until then, consider indulging in Mad Men: Season Five again. It's just as riveting the second (and third) time around.

The Picture

Mad Men is one of the most stylish shows on TV, which transfers very nicely to Blu-ray. Lionsgate delivers almost every texture, color and frown line with this 1.78:1 transfer. Some of the detail gets a little washed out in those wider shots, but that won't sway you one bit from admiring this image. Close-ups and colors are especially gorgeous. Christina Hendricks, in particular, shows off great contrast between her skin, her hair, her eyes and her wardrobe. Consider this to be another worthy notch in your Mad Men collection.

The Sound

Mad Men is a show that centers around dialogue. After all, office life rarely calls for a lot of special effects. With the exception of the show's theme song, the DTS-HD Master Audio track is a pretty front-heavy experience. Once in a while you'll get a burst of surround sound, especially during the "Hare Krishna" scenes and when the soundtrack belts out. That said, all of the dialogue is very clear, even with the typing and phones going off in the background.

The Extras

All 13 episodes from the season have two commentaries to choose from. There are also two features about the score and something called "Mad Men Say the Darndest Things," which plays a bit like a highlights reel. Otherwise, the rest of the featurettes included have very little to do with Mad Men and play more like a history lesson -- just in case you were getting all of your info from the show. There's 23 minutes on Truman Capote's Black & White Ball, 5 minutes on the history of Daylight Saving Time, and another 17 minutes on Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico, who inspired the promo image which also serves as the Blu-ray cover.

Final Thoughts

AMC has a lot of quality programming. Mad Men: Season 5 continues to carry the torch. The show has yet to have a bad season. If you've been collecting the series all alone, there's absolutely no reason to stop now. A stunning image and good audio are the icing on the cake.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Jared Harris, Aaron Staton, Rich Sommer, Kiernan Shipka, Jessica, Paré, Christopher Stanley, Jay R. Ferguson, Robert Morse, John Slattery
  • Directors: Phil Abraham, Jennifer Getzinger, Jon Hamm, Scott Hornbacher, Christopher Manley, Matt Shakman, John Slattery, Michael Uppendahl, Matthew Weiner
  • Audio/Languages: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Rating: NR
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Blu-ray Disc Release Date: October 16, 2012
  • Run Time: 611 minutes
  • List Price: $49.99
  • Extras:
  • Audio Commentary:
    • "A Little Kiss Parts 1 and 2" with Matthew Weiner and Jennifer Getzinger
    • "A Little Kiss Parts 1 and 2" with Jon Hamm and Jessica Paré
    • "Tea Leaves" with Matthew Weiner, Jon Hamm and Erin Levy
    • "Tea Leaves" with January Jones and Christopher Stanley
    • "Mystery Date" with Matthew Weiner and Victor Levin
    • "Mystery Date" with Christina Hendricks and Jay Ferguson
    • "Signal 30" with Matthew Weiner and John Slattery
    • "Signal 30" with Vincent Kartheiser and Aaron Staton
    • "Far Away Places" with Scott Hornbacher and Dan Bishop
    • "Far Away Places" with Matthew Weiner, John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss and Jon Hamm
    • "At the Codfish Ball" with Matthew Weiner and Jonathan Igla
    • "At the Codfish Ball" with Janie Bryant, David Carbonara and Kiernan Shipka
    • "Lady Lazarus" with Matthew Weiner and Phil Abraham
    • "Lady Lazarus" with Vincent Kartheiser, Alexis Bledel and Elisabeth Moss
    • "Dark Shadows" with Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy
    • "Dark Shadows" with Kiernan Shipka, Ben Feldman and Jessica Paré
    • "Christmas Waltz" with Matthew Weiner and Michael Uppendahl
    • "Christmas Waltz" with Rich Summer, Michael Gladis and Jared Harris
    • "The Other Woman" with Matthew Weiner and Semi Chellas
    • "The Other Woman" with Elisabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks and Jon Hamm
    • "Commissions and Fees" with Matthew Weiner and Andre and Maria Jacquemetton
    • "Commissions and Fees" with Christopher Manley and Jared Harris
    • "The Phantom" with Matthew Weiner and Jonathan Igla
    • "The Phantom" with Jessica Paré and Julia Ormond
  • Mad Men Say the Darndest Things
  • What is There to Love if Not the Enigma?
  • The Party of the Century
  • Scoring Mad Men: Themes of Season 5
  • Scoring Mad Men: Inside a Session
  • The Uniform Time Act of 1966
  • Newsweek Magazine Digital Gallery
  • Also from Lionsgate

What did you think?

View all articles by Rachel Cericola
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