5 Reasons Why You Need to Catch Up on Mad Men

If you find yourself aimlessly scrolling through Netflix and searching for a series to binge watch instead of studying, don’t overlook Mad Men. With the debut of the seventh and final season of the iconic AMC series, it is the perfect time to catch up on seasons 1-6. Plus, you can get caught up  to the current season before it ends, since the second half of the final season will debut in the spring of 2015. Yes, they are really making us wait for that ending. For those totally unfamiliar with the plot, here’s the gist: the show tracks the lives of several men and women working at an advertising firm in 1960’s New York City, with a particular focus on the central character Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and plenty of twists and drama along the way. Below are just a few reasons why you need to start watching this show tonight.

1. The 1960’s backdrop

Seriously, who isn’t fascinated by the '60s? If you are even remotely a fan of period dramas, Mad Men will draw you into its irresistible portrayal of one of the most socially and politically important times in our nation’s history. From the assassination of JFK to the Vietnam War, there is a constant stream of historical tension that amplifies the character’s actions and storylines. We are thrown into a world of constant smoking (literally every scene), drinking (at work!) and blatant sexism that serve as somewhat shocking, encouraging signs of how far we’ve come.

2. The fashion

On that note, the 1960s hairstyles, makeup and fashion are not only some of the most fun parts of the show, but they also keep it authentic. Plus, who can resist Don Draper in one of those suits? The fabulous and curvaceous Joan (Christina Hendricks) always manages to look sultry and office-chic at the same time, while Betty Draper’s (January Jones) quintessential housewife attire in the early seasons is spot on. Every season, subtle style evolutions take place as well, especially as the show progresses toward the 70s.

3. Don Draper

If you, much like me before I started the show, are one of those people who fails to understand the appeal of Jon Hamm, trust me, you will. Don Draper is one of the most elusive, complex and maddening characters in television history. No matter how many times he screws up — which, honestly, is pretty often — you still root for him. He is equal parts frustrating and captivating. Every season peels back more layers of his character, and the feeling that we never quite know everything about our central figure or what he plans on doing next is consistently intriguing.

4. Character development

Though it is an ensemble drama with several characters' lives to keep track of, one of the best parts about Mad Men is its realistic and continuous character development. Each character has deep flaws, resulting in a never-ending guessing game of how or if they will evolve throughout the course of the season. Discovering their failures or successes manages to keep the series exciting and fresh.

5. Strong female characters

The world of Mad Men is unfortunately a man’s world most of the time. Though at first it might not seem possible, the show's strong and complex female characters begin to grow out of the limited roles of housewife and secretary, unafraid to go beyond expectations to get what they want. Peggy (Elisabeth Moss, far right) is one of the best examples of this. I don’t want to give any major plot points away, but she is able to hold her own at the advertising firm, even though it is often incredibly difficult to be taken seriously by the men around her.

Now it is time for a marathon — happy viewing!