Sonically, the crisp, witty dialogue is front and center in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, with Draper’s tone and cadence sometimes overshadowing his female colleagues (hmmm, coincidence? Nope). Ambience in its many forms — train whistles, hand-pushed lawn mowers, and other suburban bustle in Ossining; clacking typewriters and shoe shuffling 'n' scuffling at the SCDP offices; piped-in music and clinking cutlery at the grungy diner in the seminal Episode 7, "The Suitcase" — is given the rightful consistent background surround placement to keep you grounded in the setting. And the piercing screams of a preteen Sally Draper (the increasingly impressive Kiernan Shipka) in Episode 10 after Don tells her she’s going to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium will startle you — but in a good way. Don’s response after said shrieking does us responsible concert-going audiophiles proud — even if his intent is, of course, different than ours: "Don’t be mad at me if I wear earplugs."
Besides the aforementioned sprawling commentaries, mini-doc extras are peppered all through this set, totaling another three hours' worth of content related to some of the season’s main plot lines. Included are a primer on how the Mustang was created and marketed, a three-part discourse on divorce in the 1960s, and a spotlight on the 1964 Presidential campaign and its approach to TV commercials. Watch them all — but only after you’ve absorbed the episodes themselves.
A telling statement comes when the smoke hits the fan in the penultimate Episode 12 when Peggy (the perpetually Emmy-worthy Elisabeth Moss) reminds Don, "If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation." Mad Men changes enough from season to season to move forward as all great episodic TV shows must. (And it’s finally been confirmed by AMC that we will get a Season 5 — albeit in 2012.) The attention given to all facets of its production and presentation continues to make Mad Men a stellar Blu-ray experience.
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