Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary, newcritics

One day a year ago, not long after I had launched M.A.Peel, I got an e-mail from Tom Watson. He had read my post about Joyce and Epiphany, and asked if I wanted to post at newcritics, which he had newly launched. Suddenly, I wasn’t such a tiny boat in the gigantic blog ocean. I was connected to Blue Girl, and Lance Mannion, Self Styled Siren, Maud Newton, Diary of a Heretic, Jon Swift, Dennis Perrin, and the whole gang.

Tom has asked us all to post on a piece of media from the past year that meant something to us.

I will point to the Mad Men phenomenon. Tom had the idea to live blog the show, and asked me to trade off driving the thing with him.

It was a perfect summer activity. It followed right after the end of The Sopranos, a media event itself that did not disappoint. MM offered a strange, wildly vivid world of late 1950s Madison Avenue. It found and gripped an audience very quickly. There was passion in its viewers, which is a wonderful thing. That might have been in part because it filled The Sopranos void, but only in part. It stirred passion all on its own merit. That was the phenomenon of it, and it was fun to watch it unfold.

I enjoyed the watching of and thinking about the series, I enjoyed the essays it led to, and some of the live blogging comments were very funny, truly witty. But I found the storytelling weak—-all form and no substance. Isolated scenes-—like Betty shooting the neighbor’s bird-—were fresh and interesting and memorable, but nothing held together. Each episode felt like a slightly different genre.

MM was a piece of music I couldn’t hear. But I liked its unique place on the landscape, and I’m interested in where it will go when it comes back.

A look back at the posts.


Tom W. said...

Thanks for everything there, Ms. Peel!

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