TVision: ‘Mad Men’ begins third season

Monday, August 10, 2009 at 12:00am

'Mad Men,' the first basic cable show to ever win the Emmy award for Best Drama, debuts its third season at 9 p.m. Sunday night.

Last year Mad Men wrapped up a great season by becoming the first basic cable show to ever win the Emmy award for Best Drama (the second cable show overall). It actually improved slightly over a sensational first year, and established itself as the biggest original series triumph in the history of AMC (American Movie Classics).

But it also drew fire from moralists because of its insistence on period and era accuracy, right down to depicting constant cigarette use and not having women or minority actors in anything other than the subservient situations that were the norm for the early '60s.

Matt Weiner, a former writer on The Sopranos, fought for almost eight years to find a network willing to show Mad Men. Both HBO and Showtime at one point passed on it, and by the time HBO was ready to take a second shot at it, AMC had already grabbed it. Now the program has won six Emmys plus loads of critical recognition while also becoming a big hit in the DVD world through boxed set sales of the first two seasons.

Sunday night Mad Men's third year gets underway at 9 p.m. and the scene shifts to 1963. Ad agency wizard Don Draper (Emmy winner Jon Hamm) is trying to put his marriage back together, having reconciled with his wife Betty (January Jones). Meanwhile, nothing is quite the same at the Sterling Cooper agency.

Some new complications and characters are coming, and more revelations about everyone from in-the-closet gay art director Salvatore Romanto (Bryan Batt) to copywriter Paul Kinsey (Michael Gladis) and account executive Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) are also promised. Weiner won't publicly comment on new faces being added, but has said that some major female characters are coming during the year.

He also adds there will be no departure from the qualities that have made Mad Men something unique on cable or network television, and that includes retaining smoking among the characters.

‘CSI’ changes
A new wardrobe for Laurence Fishburne isn't the only change coming on CBS' CSI, which suffered double-digit drops in audience and ratings last season, particularly over the second half of the year. TV Guide announced that Laurence Lee Smith's character Riley Adams had been dropped from the lineup. That follows the partial return (five episodes) of Jorja Fox as Sarah Sidle.

With CSI beginning year number 10, for the first time since it began the program looks somewhat vulnerable, although things on main competition <i>Grey's Anatomy</i> are also quite unsettled.

New ‘Woodstock’ movie
This week marks the release of numerous CD and DVD reissues as well as both fresh and reworked books celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock music and arts festival. VH1 and The History Channel are combining forces for one of the most ambitious projects yet. Oscar winner Barbara Kopple's new documentary Woodstock: Now and Then debuts Friday night at 8 p.m. on VH1 and VH1 Classic, and repeats August 17 at 7 p.m. on The History Channel.

'Diva' guest
Before she returns to CSI, Jorja Fox moonlights as a special guest Sunday night on Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva at 8 p.m,.; She'll play a surburban housewife whose various tantrums and reactions eventually get her arrested and right in the middle of several odd situations and adventures.


1 Comment on this post:

By: JohnGalt on 8/10/09 at 10:52

"...Laurence Lee Smith's character Riley Adams had been dropped from the lineup."

How about Lauren Smith's character? Has she had a sex change?