Two weeks ago I'd never even heard of Mad Men. Then I saw Series 2 being advertised on BBC4 and read a lot of rave reviews about it. So, I went out and bought the DVD boxed set of Series 1 (£12.95 on Amazon) and have spent the past two weekends completely absorbed by it.
It's one of those slow-moving drama series that focuses on character rather than narrative drive, but it is so beautifully done and so damn intriguing that I got addicted within two episodes, and whenever I wasn't watching it I was thinking about it.
It's set in an advertising agency in Manhattan in 1960 and perfectly encapsulates an era in which men were men, women were made to stay at home and have babies, and pretty much everyone smoked cigarettes. Honestly, there's so much smoking in each episode if you were to play a drinking game every time someone lit up, you'd be drunk within 10 minutes.
True to the era in which it is set, there's plenty of racism, homophobia and sexism. And because we're watching it almost 50 years later when attitudes have quite clearly moved on, half the joy is spotting these little historical clichés and laughing at them. Here's a great video on YouTube which demonstrates what I'm talking about:
Now, having missed three episodes of Series 2 on BBC4, it's too late to watch this on TV. I'm just going to have to hold out for the boxed set... I'm not sure I can wait.