This week on home video, we’ve got a a sci-fi spectacle from Disney, a big disaster film starring Dwayne Johnson, and the complete set of one of the most talked about dramas of the last decade. Then we’ve got an acclaimed indie coming-of-age comedy, a couple more complete series sets, and a couple of choices from the Criterion Collection. Read on for the full list:

Tomorrowland (2015) 50%

Britt Robertson stars as Casey, a smart, idealistic teenager who experiences a vision of a magical, futuristic realm and teams up with Frank (George Clooney), a fallen scientific wunderkind, who can help to transport her to the place of her dreams. Extras include a making-of doc hosted by director Brad Bird, videos on the cast and score, an animated short, production diaries, deleted scenes, and more.

Get it Here

San Andreas (2015) 48%

Dwayne Johnson plays Ray Gaines, a soon-to-be-divorced LAFD helicopter pilot who finds himself racing up the California coast to save his wife (Carla Gugino) and daughter (Alexandra Daddario) when the titular fault line erupts in a massively destructive earthquake. Bonus features include a profile of the real San Andreas Fault, deleted scenes, a gag reel, a stunt reel, and more.

Get it Here

Dope (2015) 88%

Relative newcomer Shameik Moore impressed a lot of folks with his star turn in this Certified Fresh indie comedy about a smart, 1990s hip-hop-obsessed inner-city high schooler who winds up in possession of  a bag full of drugs and hatches a scheme with his two best friends to get rid of it. Just two extras to be found here: a profile of the film’s themes and characters, and a look at the iconic music that makes up much of the soundtrack.

Get it Here

Mad Men: Season 7 (2014) 90%

The final chapter in the story of “Don Draper” and his exciting life has finally aired, and those of you looking to own the whole shebang are now free to buy it in one large package (which comes with a pair of tumblers and a ton of special features). The rest of you who have been collecting individual seasons over the years can still pick up part 2 of the final season, which is being sold separately.

Get it Here

Justified: Season 6 (2015) 100%

If Mad Men wasn’t your thing, and you’d prefer to have a commemorative flask instead of a couple of tumblers, then you can always pick up the complete set of this Certified Fresh FX drama about a maverick lawman (Timothy Olyphant) serving up justice in Kentucky. In addition to the flask, you’ll get all six seasons of the show, all the previous bonuses, an extra disc full of brand new special features, and a book.

Get it Here

Bates Motel: Season 3 (2015) 95%

The third season of A&E’s dramatic prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho catches up with Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) as he enters high school. Mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) chooses to homeschool him, and things get a little creepy to say the least. Bonus features include deleted scenes and a look a the relationship between mother and son.

Get it Here

The Following: Season 3 (2015) 63%

The Following was unfortunately cancelled this year, but if you want to own all three seasons of the serial killer/detective show starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, it’s available in a box set. The third season is also available individually.

Get it Here

The Gallows (2015) 14%

In this found-footage thriller, a group of high school students decide to revive a play that killed its lead actor onstage twenty years earlier, and spookiness ensues. The film wasn’t received well, but if you’d like to own it, special features include a full, feature-lengh “original version,” behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.

Get it Here

The Brood (1979) 84%

The first of two Criterion Collection releases this week, this supernatural thriller from David Cronenberg tells the parallel stories of a disturbed woman undergoing radical psychotherapy and her daughter, who is tormented by childlike demons. The new package includes a doc on the making of the film, cast interviews, and more.

Get it Here

A Special Day (1977) 100%

The second offering from Criterion stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in a drama about a housewife and a radio journalist who bond with each other on the day that Italy welcomed Adolf Hitler to Rome in 1938. Bonuses include a short film from 2014 starring Loren, an interview with Loren and director Ettore Scola, and more.

Get it Here



(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards took place on the evening of September 20 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Game of Thrones, Veep, and Olive Kitteridge were the big winners of the night. Check out the full list below.

Outstanding Drama Series

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Kyle Chandler


The Newsroom

Jon Hamm

Mad Men

Bob Odenkirk

Better Call Saul

Liev Schreiber

Ray Donovan

Kevin Spacey

House of Cards

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Viola Davis

How to Get Away with Murder

Tatiana Maslany

Orphan Black

Robin Wright

House of Cards

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Jonathan Banks

Better Call Saul

Downton Abbey

Peter Dinklage

Game of Thrones

Michael Kelly

House of Cards

Alan Cumming

The Good Wife

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Joanne Froggatt

Downton Abbey

Lena Headey

Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke

Game of Thrones

Uzo Aduba

Orange is the New Black

Christine Baranski

The Good Wife

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Reg E. Cathey

House of Cards

Beau Bridges

Masters of Sex

Pablo Schreiber

Orange is the New Black

Alan Alda

The Blacklist

Michael J. Fox

The Good Wife

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Diana Rigg

Game of Thrones

Rachel Brosnahan

House of Cards

Cicely Tyson

How to Get Away with Murder

Allison Janney

Masters of Sex

Margo Martindale

The Americans

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Gordon Smith, “Five-O”

Better Call Saul: Season 1

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, “Mother’s Mercy”

Game of Thrones: Season 5

Semi Chellas and Matthew Weiner, “Lost Horizon”

Mad Men: Season 7

Matthew Weiner, “Person to Person”

Mad Men: Season 7

Joshua Brand, “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”

The Americans: Season 3

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Tim Van Patten, “Eldorado”

Boardwalk Empire: Season 5

Jeremy Podeswa, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”

Game of Thrones: Season 5

David Nutters, “Mother’s Mercy”

Game of Thrones: Season 5

Lesli Linka Glatter, “From A to B and Back Again”

Homeland: Season 4

Steven Soderbergh, “Method and Madness”

The Knick: Season 1

Outstanding Comedy Series

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Don Cheadle

House of Lies

Will Forte

The Last Man on Earth

Jeffrey Tambor


Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Edie Falco

Nurse Jackie

Lisa Kudrow

The Comeback

Amy Poehler

Parks and Recreation

Amy Schumer

Inside Amy Schumer

Lily Tomlin

Grace and Frankie

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Andre Braugher

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Ty Burrell

Modern Family

Tituss Burgess

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Niecy Nash

Getting On

Julie Bowen

Modern Family

Kate McKinnon

Saturday Night Live

Mayim Bialik

The Big Bang Theory

Gaby Hoffmann


Jane Krakowski

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Paul Giamatti

Inside Amy Schumer

Bill Hader

Saturday Night Live

Louis C.K.

Saturday Night Live

Mel Brooks

The Comedians

Bradley Whitford


Jon Hamm

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series


Modern Family

Joan Cusack


Christine Baranski

The Big Bang Theory

Tina Fey

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, “Episode 409″

Episodes: Season 4

Louis C.K., “Bobby’s House”

Louie: Season 5

Alec Berg, “Two Days of the Condor”

Silicon Valley: Season 2

Will Forte, “Alive in Tucson (Pilot)”

The Last Man on Earth: Season 1

Jill Soloway, “Pilot”

Transparent: Season 1

Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche, “Election Night”

Veep: Season 4

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Louis C.K., “Sleepover”

Louie: Season 5

Mike Judge, “Sand Hill Shuffle”

Silicon Valley: Season 2

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, “Alive in Tucson (Pilot)”

The Last Man on Earth: Season 1

Jill Soloway, “Best New Girl”

Transparent: Season 1

Armando Iannucci, “Testimony”

Veep: Season 4

Outstanding Television Movie

Outstanding Limited Series

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Ricky Gervais

Derek Special

Timothy Hutton

American Crime

Richard Jenkins

Oliver Kitteridge

David Oyelowo


Mark Rylance

Wolf Hall

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Maggie Gyllenhaal

The Honorable Woman

Felicity Huffman

American Crime

Jessica Lange

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Frances McDormand

Olive Kitteridge

Emma Thompson

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Richard Cabral

American Crime

Damian Lewis

Wolf Hall

Bill Murray

Olive Kitteridge

Denis O'Hare

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Finn Wittrock

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Angela Bassett

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Kathy Bates

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Zoe Kazan

Olive Kitteridge

Regina King

American Crime



Sarah Paulson

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series or Movie

John Ridley, “Episode One”

American Crime: Season 1

D. Rees, C. Cleveland, B. Gilois, and H. Foote


S. Merchant, G. Stupnitsky, and Lee Eisenberg

Hello Ladies: The Movie

Hugo Blick

Peter Straughan

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series or Movie

Ryan Murphy, “Monsters Among Us”

American Horror Story: Freak Show

Dee Rees


Hugo Blick

Tom Shankland

The Missing: Season 1

Peter Kosminsky

Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special

Outstanding Director for Nonfiction Programming

Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

Outstanding Variety Special

  • Bill Maher: Live from D.C.
  • Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store
  • Mel Brooks Live at the Geffen
  • The Kennedy Center Honors
  • The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special
  • Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek LIVE!

Outstanding Reality-Competition Program

Outstanding Structured Reality Program

Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program

  • Alaska: The Last Frontier
  • Deadliest Catch
  • Intervention
  • Million Dollar Listing New York
  • Naked And Afraid

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

Check out the full list of nominees/winners at

In a big week for television news, Game of Thrones featured a much-debated story involving Sansa Stark that Matt, Grae, Sarah, and Ryan argue about [6:34]. They also give recommendations on how to ease your Mad Men separation anxiety [19:30]. Then, The Comedians showrunner Ben Wexler stops by to talk about the first time he met Billy Crystal and what it’s like to make a TV show about a living legend [27:00].

The Comedians airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on FX.

This week in TV news, David Letterman said farewell to CBS’s Late Show while AMC’s Mad Men reached the end of an era. Plus, Epix announced two new scripted shows (including one with Nick Notle) and Woody Allen expressed regret about his new Amazon series. Finally, it’s back to school with a new college course based on FX’s The Strain!

13.7 Million People Tuned in to Watch Letterman’s Last Show

Wednesday night’s swansong for David Letterman’s Late Show was its highest-rated broadcast since 1994, when it followed CBS’s primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics. The latest stats show that 13.7 million viewers tuned in to see Dave say goodbye after 33 years of hosting late-night television, or — as Letterman himself revealed during his rundown of thank-yous — 6,000 shows. The 80-minute broadcast was chock-a-block with personalities, including previously filmed lines from George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and President Obama; and his final Top 10 list was outsourced to celebrities like Bill Murray, Peyton Manning, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld. The final musical act, The Foo Fighters, launched into “Everlong,” a song near and dear to Letterman, while the show closed out with a montage of the last 33 years. The monumental broadcast also bolstered ratings for the Late Late Show with James Corden, which clocked 4.01 million viewers in the franchise’s biggest show to date (with any host). Stephen Colbert, who will take over for Letterman, begins The Late Show on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain Will Be an Online College Course

This week, FX announced that its Certified Fresh vampire show, The Strain, will be the inspiration for an online college course tiled, “Fight or Die: the Science Behind FX’s ‘The Strain.” In a partnership with the University of California, Irvine and an edtech company called Instructure, the course will be available to “anyone in the world interested in learning real-world, collegiate-level lessons from vampire parasites and fictitious cyber attacks.” The course, taught online by multidisciplinary university professors, will tackle themes of the show, such as parasitic vampirism and cyber catastrophe, to teach about biological parasites, disease spread dynamics, and large-scale cyber attacks. The free online course will begin Jun. 22, ahead of the season two premiere of The Strain on Jul. 12. Instructure did a similar partnership with UC Irvine and AMC to create a Walking Dead-themed course in 2013. For more info, visit

Woody Allen ‘Regrets’ Making An Amazon Show

One of the biggest stories to come out of the Cannes Film Festival this week was not about movies, but about an upcoming TV show. In an interview with Deadline, Woody Allen, who has been tapped to create an original series for Amazon, said, “I have regretted every second since I said okay. It’s been so hard for me. I had the cocky confidence,
‘Well, I’ll do it like I do a movie…it’ll be a movie in six parts.’ Turns out, it’s not.” Allen was given until the end of 2016 to create pretty much anything he wants within six half hours, but he finds himself to be too much of a fish out of water. “It’s not a piece of cake,” Allen said. “It’s a tough thing and I’m earning every penny that they’re giving me and I just hope that they don’t feel, ‘My God, we gave him a very substantial amount of money and freedom and this is what he gives us?'” Amazon reportedly wooed Allen, who says he doesn’t even watch TV, to take on the project for a year-and-a-half before he accepted.

Epix Is Getting Into the Scripted Series Game With Nick Nolte

Epix unveiled plans Thursday to produce two scripted series, which will both begin production this fall. Graves, a half-hour single-camera comedy, will star Nick Nolte as a former President of the United States who goes on a Don Quixote-esque mission to right his political wrongs 20 years after serving in office. Creator Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote) will write, direct, and executive produce the series. Epix’s other original series, Berlin Station will be a 10-part drama of hour-long episodes about a newly anointed case officer who arrives at the CIA foreign station in Berlin on a clandestine mission. American spy novelist Olen Steinhauer (The Cairo Affair, All The Old Knives) will write and executive produce the series. Epix is planning to premiere both shows in fall 2016.

Matthew Weiner Discusses the Ending of Mad Men

Warning: Contains Mad Men spoilers. In an interview with novelist A.M. Homes at the New York Public Library Wednesday morning, Mad Men creator and showrunner Matthew Weiner spoke about the ambiguous final scene of this week’s finale — yes, Don Draper wrote that ad. “I have never been clear, and I have always been able to live with ambiguities,” Weiner said. “In the abstract, I did think, ‘Why not end this show with the greatest commercial ever made?’ In terms of what it means to people and everything, I am not ambiguity for ambiguity’s sake. But it was nice to have your cake and eat it too, in terms of what is advertising, who is Don and what is that thing?” Weiner also went on to say that the commercial was not meant to be read cynically. “I did hear rumblings of people talking about the ad being corny. It’s a little bit disturbing to me, that cynicism. I’m not saying advertising’s not corny, but I’m saying that the people who find that ad corny, they’re probably experiencing a lot of life that way, and they’re missing out on something.” Read the full story on

Ahead of the Mad Men season 7B premiere, AMC released a keepsake hardcover book to the press. It was a collection of stills from the eight years of the series, along with a timeline plotting various important moments of history across the pages. At first flip-through, you’re struck by the different looks of the characters — the knee-length dresses that morphed into psychedelic, flowered miniskirts, the clean-shaven faces that sprouted Burt Reynolds-worthy mustaches. Then, as you delve further into those points graphed on the timeline, you start to think, ‘Well, I don’t remember Mad Men covering this.’ That’s when you wonder if Mad Men was ever really about the history — maybe it was just about the people who lived through it.

After talking to Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, you realize both are true. Weiner never set out to do a history lesson — he was always interested in personal human stories at the most micro level. But Weiner did want to do a lesson about history, one that says your perception of history is far more personal than you ever realized.

Sarah Ricard for Rotten Tomatoes: I want to talk about this theme that keeps coming up with you, which is the personal lives of people in historical context.

Matthew Weiner: Yeah. That’s it. It’s very interesting to acknowledge that. The show was conceived with that as the basic premise — that your perception of history is given to you. It becomes metabolized a certain way by the culture…. My early childhood in the 70’s are M*A*S*H and Happy Days. Those are two period pieces, with different amounts of reality to them. I always want to say, people don’t change. The issues of your everyday life don’t change. I want to do something on a human scale. Setting it at that period was a great way to call attention to how different we thought it was. But, more importantly, just to let the audience be in an environment that was on a human scale. That is was about, not “I have to get you because you murdered my father,” but “I have to get you because you lied to me.” It’s something where most of us live.

RT: How did you avoid the Forrest Gump approach, where an individual is a part of every important historical moment?

Weiner: You know, it’s funny. I was working on this idea — the movie that became the TV show eventually. There’s five years in between abandoning the movie and writing Mad Men. I had this idea in 1992. I found these notes. I did not consciously know that Mad Men was an extension of that movie idea until the network was interested in Mad Men. They’re like “Well, who is this guy?” I couldn’t find anything. Then I found this movie. The last page of the movie said “Ossining 1960.” I said, “Oh my God, it’s that guy!” It had all of Don’s sort of childhood in it. We used all of the movie in the show. A lot of it in the first season. The last scene was him, after shifting bodies, abandoning this other guy’s body at the train station and his half-brother running after him.

Forrest Gump came out during that. I was like “I don’t want to do the greatest hits of history.” I’m not saying anything about that movie. The show came out. They’re like “Well, how come they’re not doing the Volkswagen ad?” I said, “I’m doing the losers. These are people.” It’s not that they’re out of touch.

Looking at the newspapers from the period, you don’t know what the events were at the time. If you take today’s paper and it’s 40 years from now, you’d look at what’s on the front of the paper and see how much it comes up in your conversation today. Now, what’s been the educational part of it is that sometimes events transcend that. The only thing that I can use really concretely [is] the Bush-Gore election, which I found immediate parallels to the 1960 election. Obviously different outcomes, but a tie ballgame that wasn’t really a tie ballgame and the person who probably won the actual election did not become the President. That was interesting to me.

On the other hand, take 9/11. Could you tell a story about people’s lives and not stop to say, “What did that mean to your life?” Yes, everybody was back in the mall by Halloween, but if you were going through a divorce when 9/11 happened — during that whole experience, that cultural experience, that national experience, the repercussions that came from the permanent changes to America from experiencing that — you were still getting divorced.

I did not want it to be a history lesson. I did have a weird thing the first season where someone asked me who was going to win the election. Nixon or Kennedy? I’m like “Really?” They’re like “Well, I know both of them became President. I don’t know which election they won.” But by the second season, people were going on Wikipedia or wherever they went to say “Oh, this is what they’re doing this year. They’re going to this. They’re going to do that. They’re going to do this.” And I did not want to do that. I did not feel the compulsion to cover it.

The most that history has ever intersected with the show, and it was only because it provided such a great illumination of Don’s inner state, was 1968. That’s season six, where I felt like what was going in the world was an expression of him. There were revolutions in every country. Don was going to be in that state. Don was not out of touch. The culture was exactly like Don. Seeing that collection of disasters that happened — many of them filled with hope for change, seeing that at the end of it, for the most part, there was no change. Richard Nixon was the President again. Napoleon came in at the end of the French Revolution. There was a reaction of stability and conservatism. That, to me, was like “I don’t want to miss out on that.”

Did I have to do Martin Luther King’s assassination? Did I feel an obligation to do it? No. Did I have to explain, that in 1968, that there was a non-stop barrage of violence and hopeful people being eliminated from the picture and feelings of change for the positive, whether it was the troops rolling into Czechoslovakia, the students in Paris, the massacre in Mexico City? It’s global — the Democratic Convention being the last part of it.

RT: And as a film buff, you were also aware of all the movies coming out at that time that were reflecting the culture.

Weiner: The movies always reflect the culture. Sometimes they reflect the culture’s desire to be the subversive part of the culture. Sometimes they are the mainstay. For example, right after World War II seeing the masterpiece The Best Years of Our Lives, which is all about soldiers returning to real life and how hard it is to integrate them, and how class broke down in the Army so that the poorest person with the least amount of possibilities with no family, played by Dana Andrews, is the hero in the war. He’s a pilot at the top of the chain. Fredric March is a sergeant. When he comes home he’s a bank president or bank officer. That irony is all tied up in this great story that was happening right at that moment.

Five years later, they are making Audie Murphy movies. The fact that the Green Berets is made in the middle of Vietnam — that Gomer Pyle is on TV when we’re at the most anti-military moment in the American public — just seeing how much film there was and popular entertainment from the mid-50’s on about unwanted pregnancies. At the same time, we’re supposed to be in this incredibly conservative period where everyone’s waiting to get married. Every other movie is about a young girl who either has to kill herself or get an abortion. You’re sort of saying “Well, the culture is in a different place than our perception.”

When Hollywood or network TV has Maynard Krebs, a beatnik, as a comic character in a sitcom, you know that that idea has permeated the culture. They’re not in the business of taking risks.

Next: Stop calling Don Draper an “antihero.”

RT: When you’re writing something that’s historical, how do you approach reflecting the culture in which the show is set? How much of it is reflecting now?

Weiner: Well, first of all, that is a magical process that is my own that comes down to my own taste. I don’t really have an agenda. What’s been helpful is to have the show take place in an advertising agency, which is by nature, extremely conservative and extremely derivative. They do not create trends. They reflect them; they hold up a mirror. They see it this way. They may promise clients that they’re going to create a viral video. You can’t reverse engineer it. I’m always firmly tied to where I am. I was born in 1965. I don’t know anything else. I have an imagination. There is nothing more satisfying in this process than finding research, events, whatever, that confirm my instincts.

RT: Do you think that Mad Men reflects our fascination with the anti-hero that the culture has had since Tony Soprano?

Weiner: I don’t know. I’m kind of touchy about that.

RT: About ‘anti-hero’?

Weiner: About the idea of an anti-hero. Benjamin, Dustin Hoffman’s character in The Graduate, is an anti-hero. But is he an anti-hero or is he an anti-leading man? Is he an every-man? Don Draper doesn’t kill people…

RT: Maybe, ‘flawed’ is a better?

Weiner: To me, name a show that you’ve ever been interested in where the main character is not flawed. I take a look at Bonanza. See the character types that are in that family. There are people with egos. There are impulsive characters. There are people who are proud. Every one of the seven deadly sins comes out in one of those people. Drama, with unflawed “heroic” characters is really boring. Perfect example, right in the culture for a long time will be there forever probably, Star Wars. Luke Skywalker is the hero. Is Han Solo an anti-hero?… I don’t know. He’s flawed. Is he a reluctant hero?

I love that people see any similarity between the show and The Sopranos. Certainly its acceptance of human foibles is definitely there. The fact that it’s happening on a familiar scale. It’s not particularly preposterous. It’s not lying about human behavior. I will take all of that. But, Walter White is a lot more like Tony Soprano than Don Draper is… It’s a very vague definition of behavior to compare those two people. Don does stuff that’s bad, but most of us do.

RT: What you’re teaching me is that maybe that the language we keep using about TV right now is kind of bulls—.

Weiner: I think it is. I think it’s a little bit bulls—. I have to say that most of it is in response to the way TV is usually bulls—. I’ll take someone like Vic Mackey on The Shield, someone who’s at the forefront of the beginning of whatever’s the current business model, at least, for television. And say that, spoiler alert, when he kills what we think is going to be his main antagonist, and he’s a police officer, in the pilot of that show, a lot of rules were broken. When Tony Soprano strangled that guy in episode five, in the college episode, a lot of rules are being broken. Those rules have to do with the way people are portrayed on television.

So, maybe I’m going back on myself and TV was populated with a lot of heroes who really care and always do the right thing. I saw a show recently where the character said at the end of the scene “I wish I could do more.” I look at that and I feel like, “That’s a wish fulfillment indeed.” Some of our entertainment should provide that. I’m not taking a superior position, but I did not want to do that. I have never met anyone like that in real life. And I know a lot of amazing people who do way more valuable things than I do… Let’s take the most cliché, virtuous positions and pretend like we’re running a TV network. When you talk to those people, they have an extremely realistic view of human nature.

To me, there’s always this conversation about entertainment that is a fantasy of what we think entertainment should be versus what it actually is. Really good entertainment is filled with conflict, flawed characters, bad decisions and possible irreversible circumstances. I don’t care if it’s Sherlock Holmes. No matter what the formula is, even if they’re overcoming all the obstacles in the world. Look at a movie like An Officer and a Gentleman. If you watch that again, you will see the darkness that is in that journey that we don’t even want to remember anymore. Even Rocky. Take what people consider to be the most influential in Hollywood for a while — that rags to riches story that sounds like a total cliché. That guy loses.

Miami Vice was really big when I was coming up and David Chase was cited as saying it was the first place that television spent the money on making cinema… I always look at that and say “It’s a film noir.” Don Johnson’s character, Crockett, always lost. What’s been fun about Mad Men — and it’s also been what’s hard — is that it doesn’t have a genre.

The period aside — because that wasn’t my major focus ever — the human scale has to do with being kind of forgiving, or at least nonjudgmental about the way we actually behave. That’s why the ten commandments are there. We screened an episode recently. It was “Shut the door, have a seat.” Which is an episode that people really liked. I remember there’s a moment in it that came out of the story process where at the beginning of the episode, Conrad Hilton tells Don that McCann Erickson is buying Puttnam, Powell and Lowe and Sterling Cooper with it. Then they go and tell this big news. Then Don goes and tells the partners and they tell Lane and Lane says, “That’s not right. They’re actually just buying Sterling Cooper.” Then Lane tells his bosses in London they found out that they’re for sale, but all the details are screwed up because they thought they were buying Puttnam, Powell and Lowe too. His boss says to him “They are,” and Lane finds out that he is also being sold.

When you’re constructing the story, you just think like, “Well, what’s really happening. This will be the information.” But getting it wrong, and anticipating that people lie to each other, they’re unspecific, they relay information incorrectly just by accident, things become exaggerated — that helps you with the story, but it’s also not usually part of the lifeblood of a TV show. Murder’s against the law, so that guy will never kill that guy. That’s not true. Otherwise, you don’t have a story.

Next: Weiner asks: What would humans do?

RT: Do you think there’s a self-reflection that happens to people when they’re older that helps them understand history?

Matthew Weiner: There’s a weird thing about the show which is that it’s a period piece where fifty percent of the audience had some recollection of the period. They’re going to tell you when you get it right. Bobby Kennedy’s assassination for example, which was a shock and not a shock. It came in the middle of the night and everybody remembered. I remembered they must be saying “What! You got to be kidding me! Really? How could that happen again?” People told me that we got that feeling right.

We got the feeling right of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot twenty-four hours later. That gut emotion. We also got the fact right that a week later, after JFK’s assassination, was Thanksgiving. People don’t remember it. To me, all it is, I’m getting checked all the time. Sometimes we get stuff wrong. All I use is what I think is a little bit of insight to how we experience things now. And what’s different from that?

RT: You’re not researching how people reacted. You’re just like, “Well, what would people be feeling?”

Weiner: A little bit. But all I have is “What would humans do?” I wasn’t going to do the Kennedy assassinations. It’s been done so many times and done so well. Then I thought “I want to know how my people will react to it.” It became a story for me when I realized that is was going to bring up Betty’s sense of the fact that a lot of the rules and conventions of society were meaningless. A neolism that would allow her to leave her marriage, with divorce being very distasteful and taboo in the way she was raised. What would it take for her to feel like she could actually do that? A complete breakdown in the norms of society. That’s what becomes the story.

David Chase told a story, and it’s actually in his film, he was at Wake Forest when Kennedy was assassinated. People were leaning out the windows cheering. There were students doing that. He was not liked and they responded. When I look at the disrespect for Obama and think about the office of the President, it reminds me of looking at these cartoons of William Howard Taft. There are times when there is no respect and it seems okay. People who trade in “decency” seem to be the worst offenders.

RT: You must be very sensitive to that. It’s like you’re part psychologist.

Weiner: Yes, it’s all psychology, and sometimes I’m wrong. I mean, a lot of times I’m wrong. That’s why there’s this amazing writing staff. There are lots of points of view. You can’t generalize about psychology in terms of men or women or race or anything. I wanted to do this story after Don got divorced about Thanksgiving. They were going to have Thanksgiving at Henry Francis’ house and Don would be there. It would be this awkward thing. Bob Levenson, who was divorced right around 1970, said to me “No. No. No.” He goes, “That whole idea of having a civil relationship with your exes? That is way later.” Nobody was having a party together with their exes.

I could not find the word “depressed” for a long time in the arts, in literature, anywhere. People did not say “I’m depressed.” And men never said it. It was a medical condition. Now, it’s kind of like “Oh, that’s depressing.” Tony Soprano always found the whole thing depressing, right? “It’s depressing.” You can hear him saying that. That’s modern.

When we were constructing the pilot — I had written the pilot already — and one of the notes from the network was like, “Who’s his Dr.Melfi? Who’s he going to talk to?” I said “That’s part of what’s different about this time, is nobody.” Don says, “I was raised in the Midwest. We were told it’s not polite to talk about yourself.” This sharing, the Facebook “Look what I had for lunch” moment, that was considered private. I actually think privacy has changed a lot just in the last seven years.

RT: Do you think that the culture now, if we were going to encapsulate it, is how the internet has changed the world?

Weiner: I’ve been working on this show too long to try and make predictions about what was the most important thing to happen in the last fourteen years. We mention Malcolm X in the show. His death was not on the front page of the New York Times. And you cannot tell the stories of the 60’s without that being one of the points on the chart. The Watts Riots, covered by black newspapers, the New Amsterdam paper and so forth. Eventually covered on the radio. Not in the paper for days. I always say, for me, as a student of history, Obama’s protection and vote of confidence for General Motors was a turning point in the economy. I don’t know if that’s going to show up for people. I was there when it was happening. I know it was a big deal. I’m jumping back and forth in history. In 1960, a bomb went off in Grand Central Station that killed ten people.

RT: I didn’t even know that.

Weiner: Nobody knows it. It’s in William Manchester’s book. It was Puerto Rican anarchists fighting for statehood. It definitely hastened the decay of Grand Central, which was eventually saved, but it’s one of those things that has a long footprint where less people went the next day. It never recovered.

When 9/11 happens and someone says “There’s never been an act of terrorism on US soil.” Okay. Does Oklahoma City count? What are the rules? We remember what we want to remember. The story gets told in the way that it’s going to be told. For better or worse, always take it down to a human level. I read Joseph Smith’s biography by Fawn Brodie and she has a quote in there where he is talking to the second in charge of the church as the church is being founded. He has had this revelation that he is supposed to have multiple wives. Smith’s wife is one of the financiers of the entire thing. So he keeps it a secret. The other men in the church say, “Why don’t you just tell your wife you had that revelation?” and he says “You obviously don’t know my wife very well.” I read that and I was like “Nothing has changed.” The language. The emotion. Everything. It’s humanity.

RT: Well, what’s cool is that we get so much of what we know of history from movies and TV and it’s the same icons over and over and over again. Mad Men gives us a new perspective on the ’60s.

Weiner: I didn’t want to revise history, but I wanted to revise our perception that history is not being created by people. If somebody’s in a bad mood, it could affect everything. I think it’s the wisest thing that Roger Sterling ever said for sure. For me, it was this great moment of insight that I am proud of saying. People in business know it already. He says to Pete Campbell “Ninety-nine percent of the time, business comes down to ‘I don’t like that guy.'”

That’s what I’ve been trying to sort of inject into whatever the story is of the times. That’s why I hate having it reduced. Not reduced. It just hasn’t been my interest — that it’s turbulent or whatever. I didn’t know the show was going to go on that long anyway. I just wanted to just say it, if we could, once even in the pilot.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

It really is the end of an era. Grab your tissues and watch the final promo for AMC’s Mad Men, airing its season finale this Sunday.

The promo is set to Paul Anka’s hit song “The Times of Your Life,” featured in a popular Kodak ad campaign in 1970 — a client who will always be remembered by Mad Men fans.

The Mad Men series finale airs Sunday, May 17, at 10 pm Eastern on AMC. Are you ready?

Who’s excited for the return of Orphan Black? Got GoT? Will Penny be Dreadful in season two? How will new shows like American Odyssey, Odd Mom Out, UnReal, and Aquarius compete? Will Lucy Lawless lay down the witches’ law when she debuts on the new season of Salem? Will miniseries like Casual Vacancy or Texas Rising rise to the level? More importantly, will your DVR blow up from the pressure? DVR safety is crucial, so please plan ahead by referencing this list on a regular basis.


Sunday, Mar. 29

Call the Midwife season four premiere, 8 p.m., PBS
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief TV movie premiere, 8 p.m., HBO
Killing Jesus TV movie premiere, 8 p.m., Nat Geo
Mr. Selfridge season two premiere, 9 p.m., PBS

Monday, Mar. 30

Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber TV special, 10 p.m., Comedy Central

Tuesday, Mar. 31

The Dovekeepers miniseries premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Weird Loners series premiere, 9:30 p.m., FOX
Finding Carter season two premiere, 10 p.m., MTV
Younger series premiere, 10 p.m., TV Land

Finding Carter
Finding Carter

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Thursday, Apr. 2

Olympus series premiere, 10 p.m., SyFy
The Red Road season two premiere, 10 p.m., SundanceTV


Friday, Apr. 3

Derek one hour special, Netflix

Saturday, Apr. 4

Outlander season one return, 9 p.m., Starz

Sunday, Apr. 5

Sinatra: All or Nothing at All miniseries premiere, 8 p.m., HBO
A.D. series premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
American Odyssey series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
The Lizzie Borden Chronicles series premiere, 10 p.m., Lifetime
Mad Men season seven return, 10 p.m., AMC
Salem season two premiere, 10 p.m., WGN America
Wolf Hall series premiere, 10 p.m., PBS


Tuesday, Apr. 7

Your Family or Mine? series premiere, 10 p.m., TBS

Thursday, Apr. 9
Resident Advisors series premiere, Hulu
The Comedians series premiere, 10 p.m., FX
Louie season five premiere, 10:30 p.m., FX

Friday, Apr. 10

Marvel’s Daredevil series premiere, Netflix

Sunday, Apr. 12

Game of Thrones season five premiere, 9 p.m., HBO
Nurse Jackie season seven premiere, 9 p.m., Showtime
Silicon Valley season two premiere, 10 p.m., HBO
Veep season four premiere, 10:30 p.m., HBO

Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones

Monday, Apr. 13

Gotham season one return, 8 p.m., FOX
Turn season two premiere, 9 p.m., AMC
Cucumber series premiere, 10 p.m., Logo
Banana series premiere, 11 p.m., Logo

Tuesday, Apr. 14

Other Space series premiere, Yahoo Screen

Thursday, Apr. 16

Major Lazer series premiere (as part of Animation Domination), midnight, FXX

Friday, Apr. 17

Bitten season two premiere, 8 p.m. (regularly airs Fridays at 9 p.m.), SyFy
The Messengers series premiere, 9 p.m., CW
Lost Girl season five premiere, 10 p.m., SyFy

Saturday, Apr. 18

Orphan Black season three premiere, 9 p.m., BBC America
Tatau series premiere, 10 p.m., BBC America

Orphan Black
Orphan Black

Monday, Apr. 20

Deadbeat season two premiere, Hulu
Startalk series premiere, 8 p.m., Nat Geo

Tuesday, Apr. 21

Inside Amy Schumer season three premiere, Comedy Central

Sunday, Apr. 26

Happyish series premiere, 9:30 p.m., Showtime

Wednesday, Apr. 29

Casual Vacancy miniseries, 8 p.m., HBO

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Sunday, May 3

Penny Dreadful season two premiere, 10 p.m., Showtime

Penny Dreadful
Penny Dreadful

Monday, May 4

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck TV movie premiere, HBO

Friday, May 8

Grace and Frankie series premiere, Netflix

Wednesday, May 13

Moone Boy season three premiere, Hulu

Thursday, May 14

Wayward Pines series premiere, 9 p.m., FOX
Maron season three premiere, 10 p.m., IFC

Saturday, May 16

Bessie TV movie premiere, 8 p.m., HBO

Monday, May 18

The Bachelorette season 11 premiere, 9 p.m., ABC

Thursday, May 21

Between series premiere, Netflix
Beauty and the Beast season three premiere, 8 p.m., CW

Monday, May 25

Texas Rising miniseries premiere, History

Thursday, May 28

Aquarius series premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
Louis C.K.: Live From the Comedy Store TV special, 11 p.m., FX


Saturday, May 30

Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe miniseries premiere, 9 p.m., Lifetime

Sunday, May 31

Halt and Catch Fire season two premiere, 10 p.m., AMC

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Monday, Jun. 1

UnReal series premiere, 10 p.m., Lifetime
The Whispers series premiere, 10 p.m., ABC

Tuesday, Jun. 2

Royal Pains season seven premiere, 10 p.m., USA

Thursday, Jun. 4

Hannibal season three premiere, 10 p.m., NBC

Friday, Jun. 5

Sense8 series premiere, Netflix

Saturday, Jun. 6

Power season two premiere, 9 p.m., Starz

Monday, Jun. 8

Odd Mom Out series premiere, 10 p.m., Bravo

Odd Mom Out
Odd Mom Out

Friday, Jun. 12

Orange is the New Black season three premiere, Netflix

Tuesday, Jun. 16

Tyrant season two premiere, 10 p.m., FX

Thursday, Jun. 18
The Astronaut Wives Club series premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
Complications series premiere, 9 p.m., USA
Mistresses season three premiere, 9 p.m., ABC

Wednesday, Jun. 24

Big Brother season 17 premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
Suits season five premiere, 9 p.m., USA
Mr. Robot series premiere, 10 p.m., USA

Thursday, Jun. 25

Under the Dome season three premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Graceland season three premiere, 10 p.m., USA
Rookie Blue season six premiere, 10 p.m., ABC

Tuesday, Jun. 30
Scream series premiere, MTV
Zoo series premiere, 9 p.m., CBS


Wednesday, Jul. 1

Extant season two premiere, 10 p.m., CBS

Sunday, Jul. 12

Ray Donovan season three premiere, 9 p.m., Showtime
Masters of Sex season three premiere, 10 p.m., Showtime

Thursday, Jul. 16

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll series premiere, 10 p.m., FX

Friday, Jul. 17

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp series premiere, Netflix

Sunday, Jul. 19

Welcome to Sweden season two premiere, 8 p.m., NBC

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

Wednesday, Jul. 22

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! TV movie premiere, 9 p.m., SyFy

Tuesday, Aug. 4

Playing House season two premiere, 10 p.m., USA

Wednesday, Aug. 5

Mr. Robinson series premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
The Carmichael Show series premiere, 9:30 p.m., NBC

Spring/Summer TBD

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell series premiere, BBC America
The Strain season two premiere, FX
Taboo miniseries premiere, FX

Back to Top

One of the early, indelible images from the first season of Mad Men didn’t involve any of the main cast members. Instead, it was a shot of a cigarette-smoking pregnant woman, a minor neighbor character. Did she matter? Yes, she did, but not because a story arc hinged on her; she mattered because details are the meat of this show. Over the seasons that followed, that approach came to mean a deep bench of supporting characters, and even one-off players, who delivered as much punch as the main cast. You can watch and re-watch, and you’ll find that the people in the margins are giving you everything. Here are our favorites:

18. Francine Hanson (Anne Dudek)

Francine is that pregnant smoking woman, and she’s the world’s best neighbor. She’s always up for gossiping with Betty (January Jones) about the neighborhood’s lone divorcée, Helen Bishop. The camera loves it when she smokes – commonplace in 1960 — luxuriating in the casual horror of it all. Best, Francine knows her husband is cheating on her, and she dreams of poisoning him for it, but she simply starts feeding him more instead. Problem solved.

17. Anna Draper (Melinda Page Hamilton)

On a show full of unhappy people, Anna Draper is a kind-hearted infusion of goodness. The widow of the real Don Draper, whose identity was stolen by Dick Whitman/fake Don (Jon Hamm), she nevertheless becomes his friend and one of his life’s few sources of genuine peace. When Anna dies of cancer, even her “ghost” lingers to comfort Don. He’s pretty much in her debt for all eternity.

16. Helen Bishop (Darby Stanchfield)

Never did a single thing wrong to anyone, but has the misfortune of 1) being divorced 2) being liberal 3) volunteering for the Kennedy campaign 4) taking scandalous walks alone, and 5) being Betty’s neighbor. When Helen politely asks Betty to stop being a total freak and giving locks of her hair to Helen’s unusual son Glen, Betty slaps her right in the middle of the supermarket. Poor Helen.

15. Midge Daniels (Rosemarie DeWitt)

Midge is a beatnik. She lives in the Village. She smokes weed. She reads Allen Ginsburg. She has lots of sex with Don. She is, in fact, the first of many, many women who will have lots of sex with Don. Don feels judged by her and her bohemian friends, then hypocritically dumps her for not truly loving him. In season four, she returns to ask Don for heroin money. This is a bummer, mostly because it allows Don to feel smug about being an alcoholic square.

14. Danny Siegel (Danny Strong)

Danny shows up at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce with a laughable book, but they hire him anyway. He’s generally useless, but finds success later as a Hollywood producer (zing!) and takes to wearing really awesome hippie attire. Even better, the short-of-stature Danny turns heroic after he’s insulted by Roger Sterling (John Slattery), responding by punching his old boss right in the junk.

13. Lois Sadler (Crista Flanagan)

Lois is the most incompetent of secretaries. She moves from the switchboard to a desk, but that’s as much accomplishment as she can muster. She mistakes office-crush Sal Romano (Bryan Batt) for heterosexual. Then she gets fired by Don. Then she winds up back at the switchboard. Then she manages to become a secretary again. Then she accidentally runs over a man with a riding lawnmower – inside the office – destroying his foot.

12. Ida Blankenship (Randee Heller)

Ida is Bert Cooper (Robert Morse)’s salty, longtime secretary. Her age prompts Joan (Christina Hendricks) to assign her to Don in the interest of keeping Don’s fraternizing at bay. (Although Roger admits to an affair with Ida decades earlier: “The Queen of Perversions,” he notes.) Ida is old-world blunt in the midst of a smoothly neurotic modern office and dies at her desk. Bert’s eulogy: “She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She’s an astronaut.”

11. Jane Sterling (Peyton List)

If you’re going to marry your gold-digging secretary, like Roger Sterling does, then you could do worse than marrying Jane. She’s a straight shooter and doesn’t play games. She’ll encourage you to trip on LSD, and she’ll make you want to be a better man. And after she divorces you, she’ll still hang out and do you favors. For a price.

10. Mona Sterling Pike (Talia Balsam)

The gold standard of first wives. The long-suffering but sardonic former partner to Roger, Mona is pragmatic but concerned, holding her ex-husband’s feet to the fire, yet occasionally offering him comfort. She knows he’s a schmuck, she still cares, and her somewhat matronly fashion sense is impeccable.

9. Rachel Menken (Maggie Siff)

The Jewish head of a Manhattan department store that’s struggling to find its brand identity. She crosses swords with Don in a business meeting, which simultaneously angers him and turns him on. Then he takes her to dinner and tells her that love isn’t real and we all die alone. This turns HER on. They have a brief affair, but he can’t commit. Shocker.

8. Shirley (Sola Bamis)

Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s second black secretary, hired after Dawn (Teyonah Parris). Shirley’s skirts are shorter, her manners less timid, but she and Dawn have created a scathingly funny in-joke about their co-workers. It goes like this: Dawn greets Shirley with, “Hello, ‘Dawn.'” On cue, Shirley responds, “Hello, ‘Shirley.'”

7. Marie Calvet (Julia Ormond)

Megan Draper’s (Jessica Pare) acerbic mother. One-liner machine:
“Not every little girl gets to do what they want. The world could not support that many ballerinas.”
“This is what happens when you have the artistic temperament but you are not an artist.”
“She is the apple in the pig’s mouth!”

6. Sylvia Rosen (Linda Cardellini)

Moves into Don’s building. Holds her own with him when it comes to keeping track of the rules. But their affair is, by far, the show’s most dangerous. Proximity and passion and shared elevator rides with spouses equals whatever the opposite of NSA is. And then Don’s daughter, Sally (Kiernan Shipka), happens upon them in mid-well, you know. Like all of Don’s dalliances, it doesn’t go well.

5. Dawn Chambers (Teyonah Parris)

The character who breaks the race barrier at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, a token “equal opportunity” hire who quickly becomes a quiet, walking critique of the entire workplace environment. Dawn pays for being a pioneer, but she doesn’t break, even if the look on her face is, quite often, one of, “I will deal with this/I can’t believe I have to deal with this.” She starts out as Don’s secretary and eventually winds up in Joan’s old job, so she may yet have the last laugh.

4. Bobby Draper (Mason Vale Cotton)

Don doesn’t understand his daughter Sally, but his young son Bobby catches him off guard, tugging at Don’s negative perceptions of his own parenting. Bobby is rarely seen, but when he does show up, he inevitably says something accidentally poignant and unsettling. Anyone who can get under Don’s skin like this is on to something.

3. Glen Bishop (Marten Weiner)

Glen may be Mad Men‘s weirdest, most enigmatic character, a study in the progression of creepo male sexuality. He begins his tenure as a child, the stares-too-much neighbor boy who’s obsessed with Betty’s hair. He winds up a typical teenage boy — still staring too much — at private school with Sally.

2. Bob Benson (James Wolk)

Distractingly handsome and wholly mysterious, Bob Benson appears one day in the office, holding an extra cup of coffee for whomever wants it. Then he keeps doing that. He insinuates himself into lives and situations for his own benefit, and does so with so much skill and finesse that it (almost) never looks oily. He is the perfect stealth sycophant, and as his secrets unfold, so do his machinations. Wearer of very short shorts.

1. Joyce Ramsey (Zosia Mamet)

Joyce Ramsay doesn’t appear very often, but when she does, it’s gold. She gets Peggy Olsen (Elisabeth Moss) weed, helps her land a pantyhose account, and fascinates her with nonchalant lesbianism. Joyce’s deadpan cool and understated self-confidence light Peggy’s (non-sexual) fire; it’s like she’s been beamed in from the future to be Peggy’s power animal and teach her how Not Bothered a woman can be.

Dave White is the film critic for and co-hosts the Linoleum Knife podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @dlelandwhite.

Jon Hamm sat down with Rotten Tomatoes and other journalists at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel on Wednesday to discuss his experience starring on Mad Men as Don Draper for seven seasons.

Hamm, 44, recalled his beginnings as a struggling actor in Los Angeles a decade before Mad Men‘s existence.

“This will be 20 years that I’ve been in Los Angeles; I got here in 1995,” Hamm said. “If you would have told me 20 years ago, when I drove down the 5 [freeway] in my 1986 Toyota Corolla that was overheating so I had to literally turn on the heat and put it in neutral and coast down the Tahone Pass… that in 20 years, I would be sitting here talking about this, I would’ve been over the moon.”

While it’s difficult to imagine anyone other than Hamm filling the suit of Don Draper, Hamm wasn’t so sure that would get the gig when the opportunity came up 10 years ago.

“I had to audition seven to eight times,” Hamm said, explaining a long period of maybes during the casting process. “Every stage of that, if you have one sh—y audition, they go, ‘never mind.’ You have five good ones and one bad one, they go, ‘bye-bye,’… I was able to wiggle my way through that somehow and get the job.”

That first day of shooting Mad Men was especially exciting for Hamm, finally getting his first big Hollywood break. “Have you ever seen a puppy when somebody rings a doorbell, and they kind of wag all of their bodies and they pee on the floor?” Hamm asked. “There’s such a mixture of excitement and terror and awe and wonder and hope and fear, all going on at once. I’ve never been that much of a tail-wagger, so to speak, but I was vibrating on the first day of school.”

Hamm explained that it took a few seasons to feel at ease with his leading-man role. “Around about season four or five was when that first-day-of-school feeling started to go away. I at least felt like a senior. I didn’t feel like a freshman going, ‘Does anyone want to sit with me at lunch? Where’s homeroom?'”

Mad Men‘s final episodes, known as season 7B, begin on AMC on Sunday, Apr. 5 at 10 pm. Will you be watching?

This week on streaming video, we’ve got a Disney adaptation of a Tony Award-winning musical, a documentary about legendary film critic Roger Ebert, all seasons of Mad Men to binge before the final episodes, and a couple of award-winning international indies. Read on for details.

Into the Woods

A mashup of Cinderella, Jack And The Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel, Into the Woods finds all your favorite childhood characters converging and intersecting in a story about a baker and his wife who try to lift a curse that’s been placed on them by a malevolent witch.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play

Life Itself

Steve James’s Certified Fresh portrait of legendary film critic Roger Ebert examines his life through archival footage, live television appearances, interviews with friends and family, and candid chats with the man himself during his final days.

Available now on: Netflix

Mad Men: Season 7

Get all caught up on the dealings of Sterling Cooper & Partners in time for the acclaimed series’ final episodes.

Available now on: Netflix

The Way He Looks

This Brazilian import is a coming-of-age drama about a blind teenager in love.

Available now on: Netflix


This drama is the tale of a punk rocker from Tangiers who becomes indebted to a drug dealer in order to secure a place to practice.

Available now on: Netflix

Water-cooler shows Game of Thrones and Mad Men return to the air next month so now is the time to catch up if you don’t want to feel left out on Monday mornings. Already caught up? Then we have some other shows for you to binge this month too!

Mad Men

What it is: AMC’s breakout hit shows the ins and outs of a 1960s ad agency in New York City helmed by the mysterious, philandering, booze-swillin’ Don Draper (Jon Hamm).

Why you should watch it: This year Mad Men ends forever and the last batch of episodes starts on Sunday, Apr. 5. If you’ve noticed the rise of retro over the past decade, then you’re already aware of Mad Men‘s cultural influence. With acclaimed performances by Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, and Christina Hendricks, Mad Men has been a critics’ darling over its seven-year run.

Where to watch: Seasons one through six are on Netflix and the first half of season seven will drop March 22. Every episode is also available on Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Vudu, and XBox.

Commitment: 70 hours.

Game of Thrones

What it is: George RR Martin’s epic Song of Fire and Ice fantasy novels come alive in HBO’s four seasons of blood-spurting, sibling-bedding, dragon-breathing action, set in a fictional, highly political, medieval world.

Why you should watch it: With season five returning to HBO on Sunday, Apr. 12 at 9 pm, this is your chance to get in on the conversation. Immersing you in the world of Westeros, Game of Thrones has many well-developed characters whose arcs take shocking turns. Certified Fresh for all four seasons, the show is also incredible to look at with big-budget production values that rival any blockbuster film.

Where to watch: Seasons one through four are available on HBO Go, DVD, and Blu-ray.

Commitment: 40 hours.


What it is: In this Batman prequel set in the corruption of Gotham City, Detectives Jim Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) and Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue) investigate the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, while running up against a number of villains from the Batman universe.

Why you should watch it: Currently on hiatus until Apr. 13, you have time to catch up on Fox’s Monday night drama that often successfully blends the fun of the comic books with a gritty police procedural. Plus, any episode featuring Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot is a win.

Where to watch: Catch all of season one on Vudu,
Google Play, and

Commitment: 18 hours.


What it is: Based on the bestselling books by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander is the story of Claire Beauchamp Randall (Caitriona Balfe), a married WWII nurse who finds herself mysteriously transported back in time to 1743 where she meets an irresistible Scottish warrior (Sam Heughan).

Why you should watch it: In addition to bringing two separate historical time periods to life, the Certified Fresh Outlander will win you over with its heroine Claire, whose sexy, feisty nature is anything but dated. Season one returns with new episodes on Saturday, Apr. 4, on Starz.

Where to watch: All eight episodes of season one are available on Starz Play.

Commitment: 8 hours.

Marvel’s Agent Carter

What it is: Hayley Atwell, who made appearances as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has her own show on ABC set in post-WWII America. By day, Peggy holds down a routine office gig, but by night, she is a special agent for Howard Stark.

Why you should watch it: The season one finale aired last month, so now you can watch all the episodes without having to wait a week in between, which — with the number of cliffhangers in the critically acclaimed first season — is a very good thing.

Where to watch: All eight episodes of season one are available on Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Vudu.

Commitment: 8 hours.

The Returned

What it is: In this French TV series brought to the U.S. by SundanceTV, a handful of residents materialize after being dead for a number of years. No one is really sure whether to celebrate or run for the hills.

Why you should watch it: Although the American reboot on A&E is a decent version (this week’s debut was Fresh at 66 percent), the Certified Fresh original is a superior alternative for people who don’t mind subtitles. Totally creepy and engrossing, the French version also has a superb cast who gives these undead some je ne ce quoi!

Where to watch: Watch season one of the French version of The Returned on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, and iTunes.

Commitment: 8 hours.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

What it is: Ellie Kemper plays Kimmy Schmidt, who after living as a “mole woman” in an Indiana cult for 15 years, escapes to a new life in New York City in the Netflix original from Tina Fey.

Why you should watch it: Currently Certified Fresh at 95 percent, critics agree that Kemper shines as Kimmy, whose spirit cannot be broken by the challenges of life in the five boroughs. Add 30 Rock-style humor from a hilarious cast that includes Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, and Carol Kane, and this is one binge that will leave you smiling all weekend.

Where to watch: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is only available on Netflix.

Commitment: 6 hours.

The Escape Artist

What it is: David Tennant stars as a hot-shot barrister with a knack for defending the guilty who finds himself haunted by his own guilt in this three-part PBS Masterpiece Mystery from last year.

Why you should watch it: Anyone watching Broadchurch season two on BBC America will no doubt want something to fill the void from Wednesday to Wednesday and this self-contained British mystery not only thrills but also captures the emotional fallout of unspeakable crimes.

Where to watch: The three episodes of The Escape Artist are available on Amazon Prime, Vudu, Vudu, iTunes, and Google Play.

Commitment: 3 hours.

Which of these shows would you recommend to a friend? Let us know in the comments section below!

On Wednesday, Januray 7, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) released their list of nominees for their annual WGA Awards, honoring outstanding writing in film, television, radio, and new media. The ceremony itself will take place on Saturday, February 7 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, but you can check out a select list of the nominees below:


Original Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay

Documentary Screenplay

Drama Series

Comedy Series

New Series

Each year, the American Film Institute (AFI) announces its picks for the most outstanding movies and TV shows of 2014. Instead of picking a single winner, AFI honors a selection of 10 films and TV shows that are “culturally and artistically representative of the year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image,” celebrating them as a community, not competitors. On Dec. 8, the 2014 awards were released, and for the first time in AFI history, a tie-breaker has lead there to be 11 film honorees, rather than 10. Read through for the full list.


Ep. 068 – Comedian Gary Gulman – Actor Patrick Fischler
In this special edition of the Rotten Tomatoes podcast, Senior Editor Grae Drake interviews actor Patrick Fischler (Lost, Mad Men) about working in Hollywood (interview begins at 38:50). Meanwhile, comedian Gary Gulman chats with Team Tomato’s Sarah Ricard about TV, including Lost, St. Elsewhere, The Wire, and how to solve every Scooby-Doo mystery ever.

Gary Gulman is performing tonight at Largo in Los Angeles. For information about this and other shows on the “It’s About Time” tour, visit

Gary Gulman’s comedy special In This Economy? is streaming now on Netflix.


Elisabeth Moss, best known as Peggy Olson on AMC’s hit series Mad Men, currently stars alongside Jason Schwartzman in the new independent drama Listen Up Philip. When we recently chatted with Moss about her Five Favorite Films, she initially limited her choices to movies about relationships — a major theme in her new film — but as we spoke, we discovered another common thread throughout them. See the full list here:


Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977; 98% Tomatometer)

The first one is Annie Hall. All of these movies are movies that… I mean, I feel that most people’s favorite movies are movies that you can see over and over again. That’s just a movie that, you know, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it and it doesn’t even matter anymore. It’s one of those movies that, every time it comes on TV, I have to sit down and watch it even if I’ve seen it before. To talk about why I love it, I mean, what do I even say? “Because I’m not a moron [laughing]? That’s why I love it?”

That’s a good reason. I like it.

OK, good, we’ll go with that. “Because I’m not a moron.”

Do you remember when you first saw it?

No I don’t. I’ve no idea when I first saw it, no idea.

But you watch it over and over again? Every time it’s on?

For sure. It’s definitely something that, yeah, in fact, just talking about it is making me want to watch it.

You mention relationships in your upcoming film. What is it about the relationship in Annie Hall that is attractive to you?

It’s such a real relationship, you know. I mean the first thing I love about Annie Hall is the humor. It’s just hilarious. It’s a really funny movie. But it’s a very real relationship story and one of my favorite moments is the montage at the end when he goes over all the great moments that he and Annie had. And it’s just that great kind of, like, even after a relationship goes south and you break up or whatever happens, I just love that, the way he looks at it and goes, “Yeah there were a lot of good moments though [laughing].” It has this really, weirdly positive ending.

When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner, 1989; 88% Tomatometer)

That’s a film that, for me, that’s one that, even more than Annie Hall, is like an I-know-every-word kind of movie, you know, that I just can’t get over. It’s very comforting to me. It’s one of those comfort films. And it’s also really funny. And it’s one of those movies like… All the things about these romantic comedies and relationship movies or whatever, they don’t even make them like that any more, you know? Except for independent film. Independent film sometimes does, but you don’t really see them.

Yeah, the styles change, even on television. Everything is changing. And I think what happens is sometimes we get kicked back, we revisit what we enjoyed about previous decades and we see a new variation come up again.

Yeah, yeah. Totally.

Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950; 98% Tomatometer)

This is a film — and this is kind of going away from this relationship theme — but this is a film that, when I was little, I loved. I mean, I’ve loved it my whole life. I don’t know what that says about me, but I loved Sunset Boulevard. I was a big old-movie fan when I was, you know, older than most people should be when they’re older-movie fans. [Gloria Swanson is] just so spectacular in that film and it sort of formed my idea of that raw, dramatic acting. And the writing… The writing in that movie is unbelievable. So many incredible one-liners. It’s one of those movies that you can watch now and you’re just, like, “Damn, that was a good line,” you know? Like, God, that was some good writing back then. The thing is that movies written that way wouldn’t fit in, really, these days. It would sound strange, like you couldn’t really do it now. But thank God we have them.

Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957; 98% Tomatometer)

Another movie I’m going to give you is the same thing. I mean, it’s just that the writing is unbelievable, and that’s Sweet Smell of Success. It was a movie I discovered a little bit later, like maybe in my teens. And that was another move that I was just like, “Jesus, the writing on this thing, it’s unbelievable.” The one-liners are so smart, you know? I loved movies like Sunset Boulevard and I loved the kind of Hitchcock films and all of these kind of things and then I saw Sweet Smell of Success and I was like, “Oooh, this is a little bit naughtier,” you know what I mean? There’s something a little bit darker about that movie. The performances in it are so priceless. It was a little bit more of a leap in the cinematography, I think, than maybe those of, like, Sunset Boulevard or something. The lighting, it was very harsh. They were doing things with the cinematography that I was like, “Ooh, this is naughty,” like, “You’re not supposed to do that.” You know?

So you do have a bit of a dark side.

Yes for sure, for sure. But I mean mainly it was the writing, that is what attracts me to the older black and white classics.

All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950; 100% Tomatometer)

I know I’m kind of sticking in an era. I’m sorry. I know I could probably go to cooler areas like the 1960s and 1970s and stuff.

That’s what you like, though.

Yeah, I mean those are the films I can watch over and over again that I’ve loved since I was a little girl. All About Eve probably preceded all of those movies. I definitely saw that first. That started my love affair with Bette Davis. It kind of introduced me to what an actress was. Bette Davis was my first introduction to what an actress was, like a real actress, you know? And I subsequently saw all of her movies. I was obsessed with her when I was a little girl. That ballsy, confident, beautiful but flawed woman. She’s strong, but vulnerable. I felt like the characters she played, the later ones, have all of that, and that, to me, is like, “Oh that’s acting.” Even though it’s probably a lot broader than what we do now, and it’s obviously a different style. To me, Bette Davis was like, “Oh wow, that’s an actress, I get it.”

And there’s so much truth in that movie, it’s a little scary.

Oh my God, completely, completely. And it’s a brilliant script. And again, incredible dialogue. Just full of the most iconic lines. All of these movies… rarely do we have movies these days where you can quote, like… I’m not talking about “I’ll be back” and “Show me the money,” know what I mean [laughing]? I’m talking about really intelligent, quick-witted one-liners. And these movies have, like, 30 of them in every movie.

Right; they don’t make movies like that now.

They probably couldn’t. It probably would be weird and outdated. It would be strange. I mean, you probably couldn’t anymore, but it’s ok because we can just go watch those.

True, and hope that people stop remaking everything.

Exactly, exactly.

Not sure if you realized, but four out of five of your picks here have an entertainment theme.

Oh, that’s true, I didn’t. [Laughing] I didn’t, because I’m a moron, but you’re absolutely right.

No, you’re not a moron, remember? Because you like Annie Hall.

[Laughing] Because I like Annie Hall, exactly. Thank you.

You were obviously drawn to these sorts of films when you were a little girl and now, here you are, doing so well in your career.

For sure, for sure. Yeah, I definitely was attracted to things that had an entertainment theme to them, and musicals and things about Broadway and all of that kind of thing, I definitely was attracted to.

Listen Up Philip is currently in theaters in limited release.

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