The last episode of Season 3 of MAD MEN proved to be one of its best, tying together strands from all three seasons. The writers have continued to illuminate Don Draper's mysteriously cold character through flashbacks and affairs and his strange behaviors towards the women in his life. All these entanglements begin to clear as Don's business life and marital life are on the brink. What is the future for Stirling Cooper? And for Betty Draper and all the characters we have grown to love/hate/tolerate in this complex story? And what of the Draper kids? Will they turn out to be cold animatrons like Mom and Dad and have to pay enormous psychiatric bills? We will just have to wait until next summer to find out.
Last night we went to see Robert Zemeckis' new 3-D version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL in his sometimes painful animation process where the more normal humans look less real than the grotesques. Marley's ghost and the three spirtis are less scary than Tiny Tim. Somehow that problem needs solving, although the process is much improved over the robotic looks of BEOWULF. Nevertheless, this version is far closer to the original Dickens' version than any I can remember in a long time. The grimy soot of London is everywhere, the candlelight as the only source of light is perfectly real, and the story develops with most of Dickens's original dialogue intact. "Are there no prisons?" growls a Jim Carrey-voiced Scrooge. One caveat: this one may be too dark and scary for small kids who must sit through the early exposition and then have their socks scared off by those apparitions. But, as a Holiday entertainment or just one of the great stories, this A CHRISTMAS CAROL delivers.