Promoting Shows With Powerful Key Art

You can think of it as a good sign that TV critics these days continue to ponder not just easily digestible video trailers but print key art for critically acclaimed shows.

What else can you expect from the "golden age of drama"? And especially from the first ad-supported original cable drama series that copped some big critical reviews and Emmy wins. We speak of AMC's "Mad Men,” the 1960s-themed show about the complex life of advertising executive Don Draper.

Entering its sixth season on April 7, "Mad Men’s” key art shows a retro-style illustration in somewhat light pastel colors. Draper is holding hands with some woman -- but she is out of frame. Draper is kind of looking back at someone who’s passing him on Madison Ave. Hey, it's another Don Draper!

The best kind of promotional entertainment art teases the audience with what’s to come – and this one does it well. Two Drapers? Well, this refers of course to his early double life -- his upbringing as Dick Whitman. Do Whitman's early transgressions still haunt him? Seems so.



The woman? Seems like it could be his current wife Megan. But, hey, maybe not.  Draper could be resuming his early cheatin' ways.

New York City policemen figure in the illustration -- which offers the question of whether Draper or his agency is in some sort of serious legal trouble. A jet plane going somewhere is also in the background. Draper has traveled some in recent seasons to deal with potential clients, as well as to make peace with people in his earlier life.

Deeply involving dramas like "Lost" and "24" offered similar mysteries in their promotional material during the later periods of their substantial runs.

By comparison, one new upcoming show "Rogue" --  the first original scripted series for DirecTV's Audience channel -- makes its pitch more plainly. The key art conveys an obviously dark drama, especially its tag line, "Truth has its Consequences."

“Rogue” star Thandie Newtown plays an emotionally conflicted undercover detective named Grace who thinks her actions contributed to her son’s death. She’s had a “forbidden relationship” with a sexy crime boss. 

In the art, Grace appears in a grimy white shirt and leather jacket, with a troubled look and dark looming shipyards in the background.  We get the picture -- and that's okay.

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