Sunday, March 25 (AMC)
Season Premiere: The Season 4 finale of Mad Men aired (cabled?) Oct. 17, 2010—17 months ago! Squint hard and remember: Don (Jon Hamm) had impetuously proposed to his much, much younger secretary, Megan (Jessica Paré); Joan (Christina Hendricks) decided to go through with her pregnancy by Roger (John Slattery) and pass the baby off as her absentee husband’s; Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) were (kinda) gaining some traction and respect within Sterling Cooper Draper Price; SCDP lost its biggest client, Lucky Strike, thanks to Don’s grandstanding; Betty (January Jones) finally became the least-likable character on a show flush with bastards; Pete’s wife Trudy (Alison Brie) was waaay underutilized (in the opinion of The Only TV Column That Matters™); it was fall 1965.
Mad Men creator/producer/writer Matthew Weiner has asked journalists not to reveal any key plot points of Sunday’s two-hour Season 5 premiere … I’m not a journalist, but I’ll try to respect his wishes. First of all, Betty doesn’t even show up in the premiere—but Trudy does! Also, Don’s turning 40 and Megan (who reveals more talents than just making her teeth appear normal-size) throws him the most awkward-cool swingin’ surprise party this side of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. While you’re Googling that, look up the Summer of Love—it’s the year Mad Men has jumped to this season. Non-spoiler: Don (also not known as Dick Whitman) still doesn’t know who he is or what he wants, but he at least realizes the world is quickly changing around him—not that he likes it one bit. Oh, and paper bags can be used as water balloons in a pinch.
What can be told (shameless pimping alert): City Weekly, True TV, Epic Brewing and Brewvies Cinema Pub (677 S. 200 West, 21+) will be presenting the two-hour Season 5 premiere of Mad Men on the big screen, free, at 9 p.m. (following Geek Show Movie Night), and every Sunday following at 8 p.m., until the June 10 season finale. Come dressed as Joan, and I’ll buy you the Epic beer of your choice.
Sunday, March 25 (HBO)
Series Finale: HBO pulled the plug on the dense David Milch/Michael Mann pony-betting drama after three horses were killed during production—not because it was pricey to produce, or because Milch and Mann are pissy perfectionists, or because viewership was hovering close to that of a 3 a.m. rerun of Green Lantern. Still, Luck’s immaculately produced nine episodes, like Milch’s Deadwood (not so much his John From Cincinnati), are as perfect as television gets. Just focus on the drama on the screen, not off.
Wednesday, March 28 (NBC)
Season Finale: Yes, I was one of Whitney’s lone supporters when it debuted in September, and I still believe that a 21st-century sitcom with a laugh track (sorry, live studio audience) can be as funny as a single-camera mockumentary (related: When will the crews filming The Office finally have enough footage to finish their doc?). Though not as much so as in the early episodes, Whitney can still generate genuine laughs—mostly due to the crack supporting cast with which Whitney Cummings has wisely surrounded herself (especially her “boyfriend,” comedian Chris D’Elia, easily one of the best finds of the 2011-12 season). Whitney deserves a second season to prove it/herself, unlike …
Are You There, Chelsea?
Wednesday, March 28 (NBC)
Season Finale: It didn’t seem possible that Are You There, Chelsea? could get worse than the pilot, but then came 11 more incrementally sucktastic episodes that couldn’t even be helped by the cast addition of legitimately funny comic Natasha Leggero in a pushup bra apparently engineered by NASA. Die, Chelsea, die.