A second Toronto paper adores the Mad Men. After the Globe and Mail‘s list comes the Toronto Star, and Mad Men is not just number one, it’s the headline.

Mad Men: AMC’s first original series painstakingly recreated the sexist, racist, chain-smoking, liquid-lunching advertising world of the early ’60s, almost single-handedly bringing back thin lapels, porkpie hats, up-dos and torpedo bras.

The Star also loves Life, Samantha Who? and Pushing Daisies.

Here in the U.S., the Seattle Post-Intelligencer admits “Television is full of crap, and we [TV critics] know it.” But critic Melanie McFarland insists there are reasons to watch and love TV; among them:

AMC’s “Mad Men.” Winning streaks like Matthew Weiner’s are hard to come by in Hollywood. Fresh off of writing for “The Sopranos,” he elevated the artistry of television to another level entirely with this series. First “Mad Men” invited us to drink in the atmosphere of the Sterling Cooper ad agency, the toast of 1960 New York and a haven of highballs and high style. Slowly the show peels away the hard veneer of that initial sales pitch, plummeting us into a world in which everyone’s wearing a mask, none more convincingly than ad man Don Draper. Draper is a desirable mystery at work, balancing a mistress and an emotionally repressed wife in his personal time, and hiding a secret so unbearable that he had to build an entirely different identity to bury it.

The Connecticut Post also opines on the good and bad of television:

At first glance, 2007 seems like an awful year for television. There’s the ongoing writers’ strike, the recent creative slides of once-beloved shows such as “24” and “Heroes” and the unholy force that was “Cavemen.”
Yet, in spite of all that, 2007 produced some of the best television in recent memory.

Of course, this “best” includes Mad Men:

“Mad Men,” AMC: The year’s best new show. Set in the early 1960s, “Mad Men” centered on advertising executives of the era, in all their sexist, liquor-swilling, chain-smoking glory. Jon Hamm gave one of the year’s breakout performances as Don Draper, a brilliant ad man with a perfect wife (January Jones), a perfect home and a wealth of dark secrets.

The show looked and sounded great, and the cast was flawless, with special points given to veteran actor John Slattery as Don’s duplicitous boss and Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks as a pair of secretaries who transcend office cutie stereotypes.

I think “breakout performance” has been in at least half the columns I’ve quoted.

Finally, syndicated television columnist Robert Philpot (who?) had this to say about his #1 show of the year:

1. Mad Men, AMC: Vividly atmospheric, this drama about 1960 Madison Avenue execs and the women they harassed looked like a 1960 movie, from the clouds of smoke and rivers of liquor to the lighting techniques and acting styles. Jon Hamm, John Slattery and Vincent Kartheiser are all terrific as ad men whose primary product is themselves, and what you see isn’t always what you get. No DVD date yet.

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