Throughout the last season (Season 4) of AMC's Mad Men, Don Draper (Jon Hamm) suffered a string of losses. (Spoiler alert if you haven't seen it yet!) Divorce killed his relationship with Betty (January Jones). Lost clients threatened his professional prowess. Anna Draper's death robbed him of his closest friend. And in the finale, he even seemingly lost his sanity, when he impulsively proposed to his secretary, Megan (Jessica Paré).
Has all this loss tainted the show itself? On Sunday night, the Mad Men cast arrived at the Screen Actors Guild Awards with three nominations, and left empty-handed. This was a repeat of what happened two weeks ago at the Golden Globes. Is the show itself beginning to follow the trajectory of its leading man -- a seemingly unbeatable Adonis who hits a wall in Season 4?
Some TV pundits are suggesting as much. But the truth is, it's way too early to predict Mad Men's demise. Season 4 averaged 2.3 million viewers per week -- its highest ratings yet. The show continues to be almost universally adored by critics -- many of whom say it just keeps getting better with each season.
So it's much more likely that Mad Men's recent losses have more to do with another show's gains. Boardwalk Empire took awards in several categories (like best series ensemble and best actor) that Mad Men would normally win. That show is newer, and also deserving of accolades. It may be that SAG simply wanted to spread the wealth around.
Tim Appelo of The Hollywood Reporter applauds Boardwalk Empire's win, but dolls out props to Mad Men, too. "Mad Men is old news that stays news, renewed and improving shark-jump immune, yet the new thing always has an edge," he writes. In other words, Mad Men may not have won, but it's still a winner. Now, can the same be said of Don Draper? Stay tuned.
Do you think Mad Men has reached the end of its winning streak?