"Mad Men" is back for a third season this Sunday at 10 p.m. on AMC.
And for those of you who aren’t fans of the show, I can already predict what you are going to say — that nothing happens in the premiere. And that's partially true. In a TV landscapre where plots often unfold at a rapid, race-to-the-finish pace, "Mad Men" moves at a mesmerizing pace that is all its own.
As the season opens up, Sterling Cooper is under the supervision of the British company that took them over at the end of last season. That means layoffs, rumors and fear are dominating the office politics. Joan (Christina Hendricks) has her hands full dealing with her new British counterpart (who will look familiar to you because he plays Mr. Nigel-Murray on "Bones"). Unfortunately she’s still engaged to that awful lout of a fiancé but I’m definitely thinking no one can get away with treating Joan like that for long. All the inter-company turmoil leads to a promotion for Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) who seems to be getting along with his wife. We can estimate that about seven or eight months has passed since we last left the show since Betty is nearing the end of her pregnancy. Don (Jon Hamm) and Salvatore (Bryan Batt) head out on an out-of-town business trip to ensure their client, London Fog, that it will be business as usual despite the staffing changes. The trip leads to a predictable encounter for Don and unexpected, and ultimately heartbreaking, one for Salvatore.
"Mad Men" continues to draw me into its world and hold me captive as a viewer. No other show transports me to another place and time quite like "Mad Men" does. Watching the show is like catching up with old friends — I'm able to pick right up even though quite a bit of time has passed.
My only complaint is that after all that Betty and Don went through last season, I would like to see some growth for their characters. Don behaves much the way we would expect him to on the business trip, which is disappointing. He remains such a mysterious character — one of the few protagonists on TV where we really don’t know what he’s thinking at any time. That’s fine but as a viewer I would like to think/believe that his life experiences are changing him.
But I’m glad to be back in this mad, mad world. Four out of five stars. After you watch the premiere, let me know what you think.
Season Finale of "In Plain Sight"
In general, I’m not the biggest fans of cliffhangers that put the lead character in dire peril. Because, let’s be honest, I think we can all agree that Mary Shannon is going to live. And I honestly thought it would be Marshall who would be the one in danger as the second season came to a close. Not every season can end with Mary in danger, can it? And I thought the case that put her there was not the best one. I didn’t necessarily believe that Mary would be that reactionary.
But the episode really allowed Fred Weller to shine. I like how he broke down. It’s a human reaction that TV often doesn’t allow men to have. There’s no doubt now how Marshall feels about Mary. When he collapsed on the floor, I teared up.
What did you think of the "In Plain Sight" finale? Talk about it below.
An Open Letter to Lifetime from Amy, the TV Gal
I know you’re excited about the new season of "Project Runway" finally starting next Thursday, August 20. I’m excited too. I’ve missed the calm presence of Tim Gunn, the snarky comments of Michael Kors, the incredulous disbelief from Nina Garcia and the deceptively cheery goodbyes from Heidi Klum just as much as you have. But, listen up, the on-screen promos that appear DURING episodes and take up nearly a third of the screen has got to stop. Was it really necessary to show Gunn’s cheery face during Frank and Denise’s bedroom reconciliation scene on "Army Wives?" It is SO distracting. If you would be a love and stop this nonsense, I would greatly appreciate it.
Carry on. Much love,
The TV Gal Schedule
Due to some changes at Zap2it, effective today my column will be going down to twice a week — Mondays and Fridays. My Monday column will still include a look at all that is coming up that week on television and my Friday column will include the week’s familiar faces and quotes. The columns will be the same, just a little less often. I so appreciate all of you who read my column and I hope you will continue to do so.
Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Standard Time for August 10-16
I want to go on record with saying I could live my entire life without ever hearing any character on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (Monday, ABC Family, 8 p.m.) talk about oral sex ever again. It’s so painfully awkward, isn’t it? As if the actors themselves are embarrassed by the dialogue they are being forced to say. I’m also a little bit unsettled by the fact that the show skipped summer entirely. Like it went on some kind of TV hiatus, but we, as viewers, weren’t privy to it. Tonight, the George/Anne/David situation reaches some kind of resolution.
So I think you guys know this but just in case, Sosie Bacon, the real-life daughter of Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon, is playing Brenda’s niece Charlie on "The Closer" (Monday, TNT, 9 p.m.). Doesn’t she look just like Kevin Bacon? This week, Brenda and the team receive a box with human remains.
As much as I’m a fan of "Better Off Ted," which has its season finale Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. on ABC, I don’t know how I feel about ABC airing all these new episodes during the summer. Sure I was happy to have new episodes to watch but I fear that most people didn’t even know the show was on and the episodes were wasted. The show will be back in the fall and this week Linda (Andrea Anders) decides that she’s not going to date Ted and sets him up with Rachell LeFevre, who has been in the news a lot lately because Bryce Dallas Howard replaced her in the "Twilight" movies.
Andrew McCarthy is back as Tucker’s dad on "Royal Pains" (Thursday, USA, 10 p.m.).
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko on "Lost") guest stars as a man who wants to track down the person responsible for his wife’s death on "Monk" (Friday, USA, 9p.m.). By the way, what did you guys think of last week’s season premiere?
Oh you know I’ll be watching this. "Neil Diamond: Hot August Night NYC" Friday night at 8 p.m. on CBS. Diamond will be singing his most popular hits including "America," "Cracklin' Rosie," "I Am…I Said," "Cherry, Cherry" and, of course, "Sweet Caroline."
Jorja Fox, who we will soon see back on "CSI," guest stars as housewife in jail in desperate need of legal services on "Drop Dead Diva" (Sunday, Lifetime, 9 p.m.). Do you remember a few years ago, when "CSI" acted like they didn’t need Jorja Fox or George Eads and that basically the cast was replaceable a la "Law & Order?" It’s interesting to see that this hasn’t turned out to be the case. The show has suffered in the ratings since all the cast changes. My fearless prediction — Fox will soon be back as a full-time member of the cast.
That’s all for today. I’m back on Friday with this week’s familiar faces and quotes of the week. I’ll also check in on "Entourage," "Psych" and "Nurse Jackie." Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week or a topic for discussion? Write me at
Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal