With the huge success of Mad Men there have been a number of shows who have tried to capture a similar retro vibe. Pan Am is about the workers for the fabled airline in the ’60s while Playboy was Mad Men with less clothes. Neither was able to really capture the heart of Mad Men itself nor its critical claim. Nor its audience. The English have climbed on the same train with The Hour which you might call Mad Men Tell the News. Ah, but the British have been able to do something those other shows haven’t. While it too is a retro look at the ’60s made as a mirror to look at our own modern times, it has been able to set itself apart creating its own unique show.
Mad Men is a show about the excesses of the ’60s. Of cigarette-smoking, scotch-drinking men at the top who change the world according to their own whims and how their time has nearly come to an end. It is also a show about advertising, or rather how we wish the world was. The Hour is about men of intellect reporting on how the world actually is. It doesn’t have nearly the amount of flash that Mad Men has but its full of substance, of meaning. One series (which is what the Brits call “seasons”) in and it’s proved itself to be a really good show. I’m hoping that series two will solidify it as a truly great one. And that’s why The Hour 2 gets my Pick of the Week. Read my review.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Frankenweenie (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo): Tim Burton’s very first film was a short stop-motion movie spoof of the Frankenstein movies but with a dog instead of a monster. Last year he remade that short into a full-length picture. I never saw the short but considering his rather terrible track record over the last decade I decided to skip this one entirely. Eventually, I always give Burton films a chance because I love so much of his work, so I’m giving it the nod even if I’m none too excited.
Archer: Season Three: I want to love this show. I’m a fan of spy movies and spy-movie spoofs, and I heartily enjoy most of H. Jon Benjamin’s work, but when I gave the first season a run, I just couldn’t get into it. It might have been that my wife was around and she frowns heavily on the raunchiness factor, or the fact that so many characters yell so many of their lines and that grows wearisome quickly. Either way, I still planning on giving it a second look sooner or later.
Dredd (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/Digital Copy Combo): I’ve never read the comic though it is generally loved by those who love comics. I did see the Sylvester Stallone version and it was (resisting the urge to write “dreadful”) terrible. The new one looks better, though I tend to take my time with comic book movies as you have to let the fanboy hype settle less I find myself terrible disappointed.
Two-Lane Blacktop (Criterion Blu-ray): The only thing I know about this is that it stars James Taylor. There was a time I was very much a fan of Taylor’s music which tuned me into this film and made me want to see it. I’ve since lost my love for the singer, which also saw my interest in this film dwindle. But Criterion likes it and has given it a shiny new finish with lots of extras so I guess I’ll have to check it out.