christinahendricks madmen s3 290 I'm Jonesing for Joan on 'Mad Men'Last night’s episode of “Mad Men” was great except for one thing – there was no Joan. “Mad Men” has created this world where characters effortlessly move in and out of episodes from the background to the center of the action. For example, we saw little of Pete and a lot more of Sal last night and this format serves the show extremely well. But I need more Joan. Except for her brief and devastating appearance as a department store manager last week, Joan has been missing in action for far too long. I can’t stand not knowing what’s going on with her and her awful marriage. It’s unacceptable. How is she doing now that she’s not working at Sterling Cooper.  I feel like there’s a whole show I’m missing out on. Because let me be clear, I would watch a TV series centered around Joan. We don’t get that many episodes of “Mad Men” per season. It’s stressing me out that Joan is missing from so many of them. (Granted, I was already stressed yesterday because of the extremely upsetting Red Sox game — the lack of Joan just added to it.)

You know who else I miss? Taub on “House.” While I don’t loathe Thirteen like many of you do, I think it’s a mistake that right now she’s the only one of new cast remaining. Sometimes I feel like the show has written itself into a corner with so many good characters and not know how to handle them all.  I know we’ve been wanting to see more of Chase on but what happened with his character last week seemed to come out of nowhere, don’t you think? Chase would suddenly unilaterally decide to kill a patient? That kind of wild character arc (it will play out over the next several episodes) seems more like “Grey’s Anatomy” than “House.” It feels like the show is playing musical chairs with its cast because it is.

And I really don’t understand “Melrose Place” bringing back both Laura Leighton and Thomas Calabro and the so under using them. (Why Jane Mancini is suddenly evil is a topic for another time.) The show would be so much stronger if Sydney were still among the living. I watch every episode hoping this is when we learn Sydney faked her death AGAIN.

But you know what character I think should be totally dropped? Let the Ryan story line go on “Brothers & Sisters.” I don’t think it was the actor’s fault. He was doomed from the start since none of us were that interested in learning about another Walker illegitimate sibling. And having him try to bring down the Walker family business just isn’t that interesting to me.

Who do you want to see more of? Who do you want to see less of? Talk about it below.

Highlights of the Week Ahead

All times listed are Eastern Standard Time for October 12-18

My friend Korbi tells me we definitely need to watch “How I Met Your Mother” (Monday, CBS, 8 p.m.) tonight. Jason Segel will be singing as Marshall and Lilly and Barney and Robin go on a double date. As much as I love the show, the past two episdoes have been a bit of a let down. Here’s hoping tonight’s episode gets the show back on track.

I think by now you know that “Cheers” remains one of my all-time favorite TV shows. So I’m beyond thrilled that Shelley Long is appearing on “Modern Family” (Wednesday, ABC, 9 p.m.) as Jay’s ex-wife and Claire and Mitchell’s mother.

Scott Foley, who we can’t see in “The Unit” any more, pops up on this week’s “Law & Order: SVU” (Wednesday, NBC, 9 p.m.). Many of you have written to me that you’re not a fan of Christine Lahti’s new ADA. I SO agree. As much as I like Lahti, I just can’t stand her character. No character is entertaining when they are that one-dimensional and unreasonable.

I’m sorry I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the premiere of “Nip/Tuck” (Wednesday, FX, 10 p.m.) I usually try to watch everything when it premieres but this show lost me a long time ago. For those of you who will still be tuning in, look for Katey Sackoff, Rose McGowan, Linda Hunt, Mario Lopez, and Wayne Knight to guest star. And if you think the show has improved, definitely let me know.

If you were hesitant to start watching “FlashForward” for fear ABC would cancel it abruptly (a completely reasonable fear given ABC’s track record with dramas we like), you can go ahead and get hooked. ABC has picked up the series for the full season. (The network also picked up “Modern Family,” “The Middle,” and “Cougar Town” for full seasons). This week on “FlashForward,” Peyton List returns as Nicole, Mark and Olivia’s babysitter. I don’t know about you but I have to keep reminding myself that List is also Roger’s wife Jane on “Mad Men.”

So we already know I’m just looking for a reason to not watch NBC anymore and totally launch a full on boycott of the network to protest they way they’ve treated “Southland.” But that’s not going to happen anytime soon since I loved, loved, loved last week’s wedding episode of “The Office.” Can you imagine being the couple who had their wedding video on YouTube? It’s one thing to be on “The Today Show,” it’s quite another to inspire an episode of “The Office.” What I liked the most about the episode is that it was “The Office” at its best. Amid all the hilarious inanity, the emotions between Jim and Pam were so relatable. My favorite part was when Pam said, “This was supposed to be our wedding day. Why did we invite all these people?” I have to tell you there were times I felt precisely like that. And the whole scene at the end that juxtaposed Jim and Pam getting married on the Maid of the Mist with everyone else’s ridiculous dancing was just perfect. I totally see tourism to Niagra Falls going way up. We won’t see Jim and Pam on “The Office” (Thursday, NBC, 9 p.m.) this week and executive producer Paul Lieberstein (Toby) told critics over the summer that with Jim and Pam off on their honeymoon, “the coalition of reason” is gone from the Scranton branch. Therefore, everyone becomes convinced that Michael is doing business with the mafia.

“30 Rock” is back for a fourth season Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on NBC. The gang is informed by Jack that they need to become more relatable to the American public. So that means Jenna is doing promos for NBC sports and Tracy takes to the streets to meet the common man. Meanwhile Kenneth organizes a strike but his demands are very Kenneth-like. The episode has some genuine laughs. I particularly appreciated the digs at NBC (which I was so in the mood for) and the rather snarky tag at the very end of the episode. But, overall, I didn’t think the episode really worked. It felt clunky and awkward to me. On a scale of what I know “30 Rock” is capable of, I’m giving the premiere three and a half out of five stars. The show definitely mines its humor from being absolutely absurd but the outrageousness needs to be grounded in something and I think that’s missing from the premiere. I definitely like next week’s episode, featuring my not-so-secret TV boyfriend Will Arnett, much better. But I do worry about the direction the show is taking Jenna (Jane Krakowski). You know I’ve always felt like the Jenna character was the weak link of the show and she’s more ridiculous that usual in the first two episode.

Enrique Murciano, who we can’t see on “Without a Trace” anymore, guests on “CSI” (Thursday, CBS, 9 p.m.) as a detective.

Chandra Wilson’s Dr. Bailey descends on “Private Practice” (Thursday ABC, 10 p.m.) to try to talk some sense into Oceanside Wellness. As much as I wasn’t a fan of the Addison/Noah story line, I’m glad the show isn’t completely dropping it and pretending like the whole thing never happened. We’ll see more of the Noah/Addison fall out this week.

It’s the season finale of “Psych” this Friday at 10 p.m. on USA, but don’t worry the show will return with new episodes in January.

“Being Erica” has been picked up for a second season and will begin airing on SOAPnet on January 20, 2010. If you’re like me, you might have missed some of the episodes of the first season. SOAPnet begins reairing the first season this Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 11 p.m.

I feel as though I must issue a formal apology to “Brothers & Sisters” (Sunday, ABC, 10 p.m.). Although I was prepared to totally despise the “Kitty has cancer” story line and I definitely could do without another Walker family dinner that dissolves into a screaming match, I must admit that the show is handling the story line quite well. It’s been heart-wrenching and believable to see the family’s reaction to Kitty’s diagnosis. This week Gilles Marini (the object of Samantha’s lust in the “Sex and the City” movie) guest stars as the sexy man Sarah met while she was on vacation in France.

That’s all for today. I’m back on Friday with a review of the two-hour premiere of “Ugly Betty,” why you should be watching “Dollhouse” (the show has been so good this season) and this week’s familiar faces (Fred as very bad man) and quotes of the week. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week or a topic for conversation? Write me at mailto:amytvgal@zap2it.comor follow me on Twitter. Talk to you on Friday.

Amy Amatangelo, TV Gal

Posted by:Amy Amatangelo