When trailers for Mad Men's fifth season first started airing in the UK, I was worried the multi-Emmy-winning, Matthew Weiner-penned series had jumped the shark. The lime and brown Paisley-patterned Polyester shark. Surely Mad Men was all about the buttoned-up sophistication of the early 60s? It would never make the transition to late-60s grooviness with it's dignity intact. It would be like those embarrasing pictures of the Rat Pack wearing flares in the 70s. Or the televisual equivalent of dad-dancing.
Not so. Season five featured (in reverse order of greatness), Megan's cringy-yet-sexy birthday dance, Harry Crane's Hare Krishna conversion, Don 'n' Joan's deep n meaningful, Don's homicidal dream sequence, Roger getting into acid, and everything - but everything - about new character Michael Ginsberg.
Another important consideration this year's Emmy judges inexplicably overlooked is that the star of Homeland, Damian Lewis, is my nemesis. That is, if the the definition of "nemesis" can encompass someone you passionately loathe who has no feelings about you one way or the other.
I once interviewed him in a cafe in North London and he was stand-offish, grumpy and took umbrage with some perfectly reasonable questions about his time at Eton. I've been slagging him off behind his back ever since.
Unfortunately for me, he is such a preternaturally gifted actor that it's been impossible to deny his talent or ignore his subsequent success. If you've never seen Keane, the 2004 film in which he plays a schizophrenic who may or may not have a missing daughter, watch it right now. It's so depressing, I'm still having trouble getting out of bed in the mornings, eight years after the fact, but boy, oh boy, can that man act!
By all accounts he's excellent in Homeland too. But edge-of-the-seat exciting as that show may be, there's no way it can complete with the epoch-straddling mastery of Mad Men.
Matthew Weiner's other triumph, The Sopranos (it was created by David Chase, but Weiner wrote several celebrated episodes) ran for six seasons and the sixth was just as textured and compelling as the first. This break in Mad Men's Emmy-winning run, must not be allowed to interrupt the commissioning of new series. At least until the Clinton years. I'm desperate to know what Don Draper will make of MC Hammer pants.