Back to the Future

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Matt Weiner on the latest crop of '60s shows:


I see the whole experience as a vindication. The same people who are greenlighting these shows hated [the notion of a period drama] when I pitched it 11 years ago. It's a thrill that these same people now are seeing something commercial in it. I wish them the best. We're not competing. I lived through Far From Heaven, and people saying, "Oh, they did your [script]." So I can't worry about it. I'm not being magnanimous, either: I don't own the period.

I liked Far From Heaven, for the record. My only concern is that, much like how every MC after Biggie thought he was fresh because he rhymed about cars, the newer shows will think Mad Men works because of the clothes. 

The ability to juxtapose the glamor of certain era, with its deep-seated social problems always made Mad Men special to me. Beautiful writing aside, and there is plenty there, I've always admired how Weiner gave you the breadth of his early 1960s. That and the sympathy he bestowed on even the worst characters on the show.

That sort of story-telling has never been common.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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