In one of last season’s final (and very cinematic) scenes, the leaders of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce take in the view from an empty office space, what could be a second floor for the advertising company. As Pete, Don, Joan, Bert and Roger gaze down upon Manhattan, we get a sense of a clean slate. So, with this sixth and penultimate season of Mad Men (9 p.m. Sunday, AMC — subsequent episodes at 10 p.m.) comes a new work space, an updated group of partners and a fresh start for SCDP, the people who work there, and, likely, the other “mad” characters that make this show so captivating.
We’re creeping closer and closer to the 1970s and, as Mad Men consistently reminds us, the times are definitely a-changing. Both Peggy and Megan are off pursuing their own career goals; SCDP has its first female partner and first African-American employee; Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) was even photographed with some groovy sideburns. OK, that last example is just a minor fashion update, but, grand or small, the show succeeds in marking the passage of time with incredible detail — not just generically lumping together “the ’60s.”
Sunday’s two-hour premiere will give us plenty of time to catch up with everyone, hopefully including the SCDP-free Peggy and Don’s ex, Betty (whom everyone just loves to hate). We’ll travel to Hawaii with Don and Megan, see some kind of time jump and finally get an answer to the lingering question from Season Five: Is Don Draper alone?
WEDNESDAY APRIL 3
Hoarding: Buried Alive (9 p.m., TLC) – Cincinnati resident Joanne has been locked up for her hoarding four times. Now, if she does not accept help to clean out her home, she will violate her parole and face her toughest punishment yet. Hey, everyone likes to see a local on TV, right?
THURSDAY APRIL 4
Community (8 p.m., NBC) – Britta mistakenly plans a Sophie B.
Parks and Recreation (8:30 p.m., NBC) – When Ben is offered a key to the city of his native Partridge, Minn., Leslie joins his homecoming. Ron handles Councilman Jamm’s lawsuit.
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – The final five design looks for Jordana Brewster to wear in Marie Claire with help from the eliminated contestants. Hats off to Tim Gunn, who sent chills down my spine with his April Fools’ prank, announcing PR Season 12 would be all menswear. The horror!
Hannibal (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., NBC) – Another horror film prequel makes its way to the small screen. Here, Hugh Dancy stars as Special Agent Will Graham, a prolific FBI criminal profiler who teams up with psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter to identify a gruesome serial killer.
The Ben Show (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Ben takes Ambien!
Nathan For You (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) – Nate-Dog works with a funeral home and a burger joint.
FRIDAY APRIL 5
Vice (Series Premiere, 11 p.m., HBO) – From the folks who brought you the dynamic, sometimes-controversial magazine comes this documentary series that travels across the world to bring us quintessentially unique stories about politics, war and global culture.
SATURDAY APRIL 6
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Melissa McCarthy hosts, Phoenix performs.
SUNDAY APRIL 7
Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) -– We finally catch up with Arya, Jaime and Brienne, and also Bran’s crew (for whom there was not enough time in last week’s premiere). Sansa must decide how honest to be when asked about Joffrey; Shae turns to Tyrion for help.
Shameless (Season Finale, 9 p.m., Showtime) – The crew celebrates Lip becoming the first Gallagher to graduate from high school; Ian enlists in active duty; Jimmy is MIA; Frank faces serious health consequences from his decades of drinking and drugs.
MONDAY APRIL 8
Antiques Roadshow (8 p.m., PBS) – Highlights from the show’s stop in Cincinnati last summer (Part two of three, to be concluded next Monday).
RuPaul’s Drag Race (9 p.m., Logo) – The queens salute the troops by giving drag-overs to gay veterans. Fashion Police’s George Kotsiopoulos and What Not to Wear’s Clinton Kelly guest-judge.
Burning Love (Series Finale, 10 p.m., E!) – Mark chooses either Annie or Carly as his one true love. The rejected ladies get an opportunity to ask Mark some burning questions.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern