The End of an Era


In recent years, critically acclaimed television shows like Breaking Bad, The Sopranos and Friends have said goodbye to the silver screen with memorable series finales that confirmed their spot in cinematic history. This year, Mad Men hopes to join the ranks of top television heavyweights when it airs its series finale May 17. Mad Men has been considered a leader in the television world since it first began in 2008, but the pressure is still on to end with a bang after finishing its seven season run with 15 Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The stylized period drama centers around Don Draper, a savvy New York advertising company director in the 1960s, and the many characters in his personal and professional lives. The series deals with issues such as sexism and racism to show what it was like to live during that time period, when the Civil Rights Movement rocked the nation and women were still fighting for their rights. This season, however, is slightly different from past years in that it takes place in the 1970s, which drastically shifts the tone of the series. Draper and company deal with similar topics as in past seasons including adultery, racism, alcoholism and sexism. These types of storylines, especially gender inequality, are evident in nearly every episode, many critics asserting that the show is just a reminder of how these issues plagued the country 50 years ago. Along with similar themes and motifs, the final season of Mad Men does not stray from its dramatic roots by including the ups and downs of Draper’s rocky marriage, teetering career and complex relationships with his colleagues and family. Where this season is different is the new obstacles and opportunities the characters face while transitioning into a new decade.

Many fans of the show worry that main characters might be killed off during the final episodes and that the ending will not do the show justice, as many infamous shows have done in the past. Others worry that Mad Men will end on a cliffhanger that is open to interpretation, such as Lost and The Sopranos. Whatever the case may be, the show’s director and creator Matthew Weiner and executive producer Scott Hornbacher admit that the last episode will be controversial but also will end on a satisfying note that stays true to the series as a whole.