Review: Mad Men (series 1-7)

There are endless debates about the merits of box sets and you either give up after two episodes, despite the recommendations and berating from friends, or the characters and all their trials and tribulations take over your viewing hours...and some more.

The award-winning (16 Emmys and four Golden Globes) Mad Men, written by Matt Weiner, is set primarily in the 1960s and features the men, and the women, of the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency on Madison Avenue, New York. Its central character is Don Draper (Jon Hamm) who is the agency's creative director and later a founding partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. There are subsequent agency name changes as the series moves on and the knives are drawn in the cut-throat world of advertising. Don is the alpha, hard-drinking, womanising male who works hard and plays even harder. You love him and then hate him and then you love him all over again and his bosses pretty much feel the same, although his long-suffering wife, all American wife Betty (January Jones) is not so enamoured with his antics.

The main focus is the business of the agency but the personal lives of the characters set against the backdrop of the political and social history of 1960s America provides much of the entertainment.

Mad Men is cleverly done, interweaving the characters with the morals and social constraints and excesses of the time.

Don's secretary Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) is ambitions and has to fight against the misogynistic males who want to keep her in the typing pool. The young and spoiled account executive Pete Campbell is played brilliantly by Vincent Kartheiser and Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) is head of the secretaries and the brilliant John Slattery is one of the agency head's Roger Sterling.

Clever, funny and socially enlightening. You won't want it end and when it does, you'll be praying they make another series or at least a spin-off.