Mad Men Ratings Down in Week 2?

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August 4th, 2008

Mad Men, Season 2, Episode 2 on AMC

It's in the realm of pure speculation, but if I had to bet $1000 of Gorman's money while he's vacationing I'd bet that the ratings were down from last week.  Last week sometime around noon or so in California, Variety had already run a story about the numbers and shortly after that, I received the rare phone call getting the numbers directly.  This week, as of this writing (4:30pm, PDT) I have not seen the numbers on Variety or anywhere else and, you guessed it, no phone calls.

Perhaps I am just worried because before now I hadn't paid attention to the fact that Cablevision owned AMC.  While I'm happy Cablevision got a reversal in its court case allowing them to offer remote DVR capabilities to its customers (the DVR doesn't actually have to be in your house), I am a little worried because I don't know if I love the fact that the same family (the Dolans) that has run one of the NBA's most storied franchises into the ground for years now is also somehow responsible for my new favorite show.

But mostly, it's the pace of the show itself. Several friends and acquaintances remarked to me just how much better last night's episode of Mad Men was.  Indeed, there was much more going on in last night's episode than in the premiere, but one of the things I love about the show (although admittedly, it took me about 4 episodes to get hooked) is the way it's paced.  It's telling a story almost in book-like fashion, which doesn't always play well on TV.  In a book, we allow the more leisurely portions that set-up areas with more intensity.  On TV it seems, the typical viewer wants lots of stimulation, and wants it right now.  You don't always get that with Mad Men.

While looking to see if there was any ratings data, I saw a review of last night's episode by Brian Lowry on Variety.  Here's the opening paragraph:

Much like the first season, "Mad Men's" second campaign begins at an almost tranquil pace -- one that explains the intoxicating spell the AMC series has cast over a discerning few, and why the program will likely struggle to significantly expand its commercial appeal despite critical accolades. Such considerations aside, the two episodes previewed are exquisitely rendered, continuing to probe the much-idealized pre-Vietnam era without the nostalgic tint of rose-colored glasses.

These days I really hate linking to Variety because there's so much about its website design and operation that annoys me.  But despite this, I agree with Mr. Lowry completely. You can read the rest of his review here.

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