Well, I certainly saw this one coming: "Mad Men" has stopped sending out advance review copies to critics because of concern about spoilers, such as Alessandra Stanley's New York Times preview piece.

MMs4ep401_DD The second episode came with this note from producer Matthew Weiner:

"We wanted to make you aware of a new development in terms of our DVD distribution moving forward.

"In an effort to avoid inevitable spoilers and preserve the experience of watching live for our fans, we have chosen to make this the last review copy we send out.

"We ask that in the weeks ahead you continue to write on the progression of our show, and I look forward to your thoughts and commentary along the way."

 Critics will live, of course, as will the series. And there's no reason, really, for writers to receive every episode in advance of an ongoing program, other than perhaps the vanity of being able to lord it over the rest of the world.

But it does compel those who pooh-pooh'ed the issue to acknowledge that their outlets were probably ill-served by being cavalier about blowing key plot points, in a "Well, what are they gonna do about it?" way. The split-the-difference solution would have been to cut off only those scribes that AMC felt violated its "Please, no spoilers" request, and I suspect the paper work on that would have been an enormous pain in the butt, with little upside.

Weiner is famously persnickety about such things, but this doesn't strike me as an unreasonable response — one that asks critics to fire up the TiVo and pour themselves a drink in a highball glass, just like everyone else.

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