Awards should always be taken with a pinch of salt, as any aficionado of the critics' favourite TV show The Wire will tell you. But even fans of that long-ignored programme must have allowed themselves a little satisfaction at the latest Emmy Awards, where, for once, the right shows won. That included Mad Men as Best Dramatic Series. Set in New York's fledgling 1960s advertising industry, Mad Men will feel totally unfamiliar to anyone used to the conventions of most American primetime TV drama.
Infatuated with a world where men work, women clean and everybody smokes almost constantly, the show makes for an unsettling contrast with today. Like The Wire, though, it uses the many hours afforded to a successful TV show to build characters as compelling as those found in the best novels. As such, an Emmy is the least it deserves. Seeing the usual suspects go home empty-handed just makes its recognition all the sweeter.