Sometimes, the most interesting thing about a successful TV show comes along after it ends. With all the beloved actors receiving so much goodwill as they do their highly-rated goodbyes and walk off into history, they do so on equal footing. Some will make good career choices and soar; others will make bad ones and fade away. From “Friends” to “Seinfeld” to “Lost,” it’s interesting to see which actors become something far bigger — and which will always be “that actor from that show.”
One year ago at this time, the cast of “Mad Men” were getting ready to say goodbye. Twelve months later, who’s still bringing the heat? Below, a breakdown of the series stars’ choices — and which seem to best be navigating the post-’60s landscape.
After seven seasons and just under a hundred episodes, Hamm seems to be enjoying some time outside of a suit and tie. The former Don Draper has long cultivated a side career as a funnyman and friend to improv performers, and has been embracing that part of himself by playing “Richard Wayne Gary Wayne” on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Other than a small part in the upcoming “Absolutely Fabulous” movie, the most notable thing he’s done this past year has been a hilarious cameo on “Saturday Night Live.” Sure, some of his former co-stars may have landed more high-profile gigs over the last twelve months — but none of them got to say: “What’s up, Hamm Solo?”
Moss has been busy — you just haven’t seen any of it. The films “Truth,” “High-Rise” and “The Free World” came and went without making much of an impact, and her TV series “Top of the Lake” airs on Sundance Channel and has a second season supposedly on the way later this year.
But don’t feel too bad for the former Peggy Olson, because Moss was just cast in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” a high-profile project for Hulu. Based on a bestselling novel, it tells the story of a dystopian, totalitarian society in the former United States where women are valued solely for their fertility. Moss will play Offred, a Handmaid forced into sexual servitude as she tries to survive.
Judging by the photo below, the former Pete Campbell has spent most of the last year growing out his bangs. Then again, his IMDb page doesn’t really dispute that notion — he has a handful of movies that you won’t soon see at a theater near you (“Day Out of Days,” “A Kind of Murder”), and briefly appeared in a miniseries called “Saints & Sinners.”
Hendricks’ post-“Mad Men” career has been impressively diverse, beginning with an appearance opposite one of Hollywood’s most beloved leading men … Elmo? She has shown off some impressive comedic chops on the very funny “Another Period,” shot a small cameo for “Zoolander 2,” and currently stars in the solid Sundance drama “Hap and Leonard.” How’s that for range?
The silver fox may just have the best post-“Mad Men” project of anyone under his belt, winning the prize for his solid work in the Oscar winner “Spotlight.” Mixing things up, he’s also been spotted as a delusional producer in the recent “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” and will return as Tony Stark’s dad in “Captain America: Civil War.”
Don’s third wife invigorated the show with her beauty, brains and penchant for musical numbers. But the actress who plays her doesn’t seem to have carried much momentum over from “Mad Men,” as her only projects are a TV movie called “The Interestings” and another small film opposite Jay Baruchel called “Lovesick.” Maybe it’s time to start breaking out some “Zou Bisou Bisou” at auditions.
For a brief while, she was the new Kelly Ripa or Alison Sweeney, seemingly appearing on half the shows television had to offer. Now, the 33-year-old beauty no longer has “Mad Men” or “Community,” but continues to provide her perky voice to things like “The LEGO Movie” franchise and “BoJack Horseman.” Brie has also found time to shoot movies both low-budget and good (“Sleeping with Other People”) and big-budget and bad (“Get Hard”).
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that January has the most successful post-“Mad Men” career yet. She’s been very funny on “The Last Man on Earth,” still one of the best comedies on TV. Sure, it’s just one year after “Mad Men” left us, and many of these folks still have long careers ahead of them — here’s hoping that in the time to come, a few of them are lucky enough to once again stumble across a project that utilizes their talents as well.