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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Love keeps her up when she ought to fall down, tells ya she's hurtin' 'fore she keens, makes her home."
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March 31 2011

'Mad Men' renewed for two Seasons. Congratulations to Christina Hendricks, Vincent Kartheiser and the rest of the production.

Another sign of the insanity of the TV industry that the best show on TV was endangered because Lionsgate and AMC couldn't work things out with with Mathew Weiner. Now they can finish the saga of Don Draper.

BTW, I have to confess that I never cared for Connor on ANGEL, maybe my least favorite character in the Whedonverse, but Vincent Kartheiser has completely won me over as Peter Campbell, though I have to ask, is he ever going to stop wearing that blue suit? Five years, same suit? I want another scene where Peter Campbell and his wife dance at a party. That was such a stunning scene.

The only thing that sucks is that there won't be any MAD MEN until 2012.
Glad for the 2 years, possible 3rd. But 2012? Ugh! I'll have to re-watch the entire series to remember anything about the show when it returns.
Congratulations to Christina Hendricks.

...and Vincent Kartheiser, no?
Thanks to Njal for mentioning Vincent Kartheiser. I do tend to forget about Connor and did so here in my excitement. My apologies.

And thanks to WilliamTheBfor pointing it out as well.
Yeah, Vincent was a main cast for a whole season, as well as appearing in the finale of Angel. Christina was in two episodes. I'm happy for them all though, fun show.
A relief! The only shows I watch on TV are Mad Men and Breaking Bad now. I've given up on regular network TV. They way they killed Dollhouse, Caprica and how The Walking Dead went off the rails from the comic... I can't take the way networks handle shows these days. I'm finished with network TV when Mad Men and Breaking Bad end.
Stellar news. Was so sad to read the other day that they were having contractual issues.
I worked with Vincent Kartheisher at the beginning of March and found out about the contract issues then. So glad to hear that things worked out pretty well considering. Vincent seemed to be very concerned about it. He is, however, a very positive person, which is great, helped me keep hopes high while I waited for news. He also has more energy than a 6 year old. Surprising, cause he doesn't look a day younger than 16!

I also know the entire camera crew and am relieved to hear that, though delayed a bit, they all (and the rest of the cast and crew) have not lost 4 months of work.
Just to be annoyingly anal, Christina was in 3 episodes of the Whedonverse. 2 on Firefly and 1 on Angel. :)
I love that Matthew Weiner was not holding out for money for himself, but for them to not cut two cast members each year, lose two more minutes to ads and to stop the insanity of non-organic product placement.

Whenever I watch Bones I cringe when they get into any car but Booth's. In every other car they literally make the scene an Ad for Toyota, talking about the features of the car. It's heinous. There is about 16 minutes of ad time during an episode of Bones. Why isn't it enough to show the car logo on the steering wheel or on the back of the car anymore? White Collar does that with Ford, too. Where's the integrity?

At least when Chuck or 30 Rock does it, it's done in an over-the-top tongue-in-cheek way that makes it funny. Most of the product placement on those shows is totally organic. If course having your show take place in an electronics store makes it much easier.
TartfFuel, big agreements on the product placement. That scene on CHUCK in the SUV had me roaring out loud. It was so magnificently excessive. I love FRINGE, but I cringe (sorry about that) whenever a car moves into the picture. Zoom into the logo on the car!

30 Rock is just a joy to watch on so many levels, but the product placement is the show at its funniest.

Knowing Mad Men will be back really bucks me up. I watch a lot of TV because I write about it, but there are very, very few shows I get excited about right now. For every JUSTIFIED there are ten shows I watch out of obligation.
Oh, and while we are doing shout outs to everyone from the Whedonverse connected with Mad Men, Andy Umberger was the psychologist in Season One, Marni Noxon was a consulting producer and occasional writer on the show for a while, and Danny Strong had a recurring role in Season Four.

Oh, and SMG's love interest in RINGER will be played by Kristopher Polaha, who not only was in ANGEL (in the notorious episode "Billy," as what? Billy's brother? Cousin?), but was in a couple of episodes of MAD MEN in Season Three. In fact, he had the best line of the season, when Don Draper and his family come up to his door while trick or treating. After giving candy to both of Don's kids, Polaha looks at Don and says, "And who are you supposed to be?" Fade out as Don stares at him dully.
Good news, indeed!
Oh the humanity! Product placement, commercials! When will it all stop? How dare they expect to turn a profit on the TV I get for (almost) free. LOL
It is April 1st.. are we sure this isn't a prank?

It's a fair question, but this news broke just before 8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST on March 31st in the U.S. So I would be quite surprised if it was.
"production budget is said to be $2.5 million per episode"

That isn't expensive, mjwilson. That's a cable budget. Network shows are usually much more expensive.
Really glad the show's getting a proper chance to finish its story.

Why isn't it enough to show the car logo on the steering wheel or on the back of the car anymore? White Collar does that with Ford, too. Where's the integrity?

Yeah Tartfuel, 'Bones' is a good example of excessive product placement which isn't (or doesn't seem to be) knowingly excessive, as it is with 'Chuck' or '30 Rock' (though i'm slightly ambivalent about the latter's "Hey, we're being really subversive" approach too).

Used to be it was enough to just show "our heroes" using the product (and the brand/logo), now in some shows it's nearly as clunky as *action basically stops* "Watch out, you may crash while reversing !" ... "Aha, not with Toyota's new super-reverso radar ! Which Toyota makes for Toyota vehicles. Toyota !". I don't mind that it happens, I mind that increasingly it's clumsy, obvious and to the detriment of the show when it does (and unlike adverts, product placement, however bad, will still appear on DVDs to annoy/cajole on every rewatch).

ETR an errant ')'

[ edited by Saje on 2011-04-01 08:14 ]
"production budget is said to be $2.5 million per episode"

Is it still the practice that salaries go up astromically after the fifth season? I seem to remember that's one of the reasons why Angel bit the dust.
Season over season salaries get crazy high. There's a reason shows don't go for ten years.

Saje, the UK may see TV differently but in the US it's basically free to the consumer if they have a cable package (which over 80% of Americans do). The fact that they have to tolerate a bit of product placement to get quality entertainment without paying a premium for it is amazing.The government doesn't prop up our TV. It's pure capitalism and therefore much more fragile.
As I tried to make clear, "a bit of product placement" is fine with me but some shows ('Bones' among them) are moving too far over the line such that the shows themselves are suffering as a result (IMO). It's not just placing products in a favourable context anymore, in some cases it amounts to mini-infomercials actually within the show itself. Too far over that line and the low cost becomes irrelevant.

And sure, the TV landscape over here is different but (despite the impression channels like 'BBC America' - which actually broadcasts quite a few non-BBC shows - may give) we also have commercial TV channels in the UK (i.e. free to the end user), it just seems that (so far) where scripted TV's concerned they're maintaining a better balance between commercial requirements and for want of a better word, art (the regulatory body for telecommunications limits the number of minutes per hour of adverts for instance).

In fairness, that balance is obviously easier to strike when you're not spending $2.5 million per episode of course (i'd love to see the look on a UK TV producer's face when someone tells them that "isn't expensive" ;).
$2.5m an ep? Wow indeed. I haven't seen much Mad Men, but isn't it a drama? I mean (at it's most simplistic core) isn't it just people standing around talking? No real action or special effects? It boggles the mind a bit with how much money Hollywood spends. Incidently, does anyone know what the most expensive show per episode is/was? I'm thinking Friends with those huge actor salaries or Lost with massive production costs.
The thing is, no-one ever actually smokes or drinks on the show, every shot of smoking or drinking is CGI. And that soon adds up.

(i.e. it seems a lot for a drama to me too. I guess the period aspects cost a fair bit without necessarily looking like they should ?)

And 'Heroes' was rumoured to be around $4 million per episode, dunno how true that is or whether there're any shows higher (regular shows I mean, I bet there're plenty of mini-series that'd work out higher per screen hour).
Saje I think the regulator has recently relaxed the rules on product placements here in the UK.
Yep, Google concurs Simon, it's now allowed in UK programming (must admit I didn't realise it was totally disallowed before). Although Ofcom are at least paying lip-service to limiting it (it's not allowed to be "unduly prominent" for instance though obviously that's pretty subjective and subject to future slippage - it didn't strike me as unduly prominent on US TV either up until a few years ago - and various products are banned from placement, more or less in line with current advertising standards).

I didn't mean to imply we're immune BTW, generally it seems to be the case that commercial TV over here tends to ape the US model, just a few years behind (as with e.g. onscreen pop-ups, something else that was seen initially to detract from the airing show but is now more or less accepted due to people just getting used to it. That and not really having too much choice in the matter I suppose). The slippery slope's a logical fallacy but it's not always wrong. We do have a slight bulwark against runaway advertising in the form of the BBC/licence fee arrangement (because if people don't want to watch adverts they have a genuine, viable choice not to) but to be honest I don't see that lasting much more than another 10-20 years either (maybe less).
Saje, where did you get that information about the smoke?

They may use some CGI for all I know, but they also use herbal cigarettes and smoke machines. At least they did in Season 4, can't speak to the first 3.

The show would be expensive indeed if that were the case, especially as real as it looks! particle generation is nowhere near that good to hold up in all those close ups over the course of an episode, save perhaps if they spent a really, really long time on it Post-Production on an episode is only a bout a month, maybe a bit more.
Ah, that's not information, that's "information" bobw1o (i.e. it's made up from whole cloth cos I was being facetious, didn't figure it was plausible enough to need a smiley - as you say, it's not really feasible quite yet but even if it were, why on Earth would they ? - but if so, imagine one there ;).
Decent show. Cool news!
The thing is, no-one ever actually smokes or drinks on the show, every shot of smoking or drinking is CGI. And that soon adds up.

I thought that was a pretty good statement for April 1.
Saje, I am a gullible fool and am fully brainwashed by modern communication. If there's no smiley, how can I know you're being sarcastic? HOW?!?

EDIT: Wow, I must have been really exhausted (I was), rereading your post and mine has been enlightening.

[ edited by bobw1o on 2011-04-02 05:32 ]
I hate on-screen pop ups and I also hate the channel logos that some cable shows leave on for the entire movie, blocking part of the screen.

As to Mad Men possibly having production costs for historical accuracy, most of the furnishings and other objects are things that were popular at the time and can easily be found either in ordinary thrift shops or in antique stores specializing in mid-century goods. The Revere Ware cooking pots that I spotted in one episode are what my mother used and are still being manufactured.

The women's clothing is very period accurate and probably most of it was custom made for the cast. In some cases the fabrics are no longer available and would have to be hand dyed and printed. Men's clothing does not change as much and might be cheaper to recreate.
Saje, I am a gullible fool and am fully brainwashed by modern communication. If there's no smiley, how can I know you're being sarcastic? HOW?!?

Heh ;). Not a bit of it bobw1o, any post made pre-coffee or post-exhaustion gets a bye as far as i'm concerned.

(and I guess it did work as an April fool's but when it comes to foolishness I try not to limit myself to one day a year ;)

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