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'Mad Men' final season premiere review: Don Draper still in a dark place

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on "Mad Men's"

(Credit: AMC / Michael Yarish)

What it's about: As per custom, "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner asked that no plot details of the seventh and final season opener are offered here, so, instead, some broad strokes.

The end of last season fell around Thanksgiving, 1968, and Don (Jon Hamm) was essentially fired from his own agency after suffering a breakdown in a client meeting with Hershey.

However, he had already told...

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'The Walking Dead' returns Sunday (and a review)

Danai Gurira as Michonne in "The Walking Dead"

(Credit: AP / AMC Gene Page)

"The Walking Dead" is back for the second half of its fourth season Sunday. Here, without further babble, is my review. Bottom line: I still love this show, rolling zombie heads and all.

"The Walking Dead," AMC, Sunday, 9 p.m.

What it's about: In the wake of the epic prison battle between "The Governor's" (David Morrissey) forces and those loosely led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), there is only death and chaos. The survivors begin to scatter as the "walkers" overrun the prison, now completely abandoned. Nothing -- in other words -- is the same. Battered Rick and son Carl (Chandler Riggs) stumble away to who-knows-what-or-where. Michonne (Danai Gurira) and her trusty katana hack their way through the chaos, too. But what remains of the others -- Glenn (Steven Yuen) or of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) or Daryl (Norman Reedus) or Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) or ANYONE? All questions awaiting answers as the second half of the fourth season begins Sunday.

My say: In the 2006 novel by Cormac McCarthy, "The Road" -- later made into the movie of the same name with Viggo Mortensen -- a man and his son pick their perilous way through a post-apocalyptic landscape that is (initially) sculpted only with questions and no answers. That's your scene-setter for Sunday night, too, and quite possibly the balance of the season: Down that long, muddy road where Rick and Carl struggle is most certainly danger -- but what lies at the end?

AMC has said "The Walking Dead" could go on for years and years, so that metaphoric highway now extends to a vanishing point on the horizon. But that tension of not knowing what lies around the next corner, or behind that closed door, or in the shadow of the dark woods is what has always animated "Dead" at its best.

Yet the "not knowing" turns Sunday night into a joy ride of real terror. For, like the survivors, we are all now in an unknown world surrounded (paradoxically) by familiar things -- white picket fences, cans of pudding, spacious homes with spacious, airy porches.

(Carl looks on in joy and wonderment at a wide-screen TV alongside a huge stack of DVDs, then his face clouds over: Oh, right.)

Sunday is brutal, but is also another reset that allows just the briefest light of humor and humanity to penetrate the gloom. And it is terrific.

Bottom line: "Dead" brazenly reinvents itself once again, and the result will have you crawl under the living room couch for safety. (Ah, yes, couches, thank goodness for those.)

Grade: A

'The Walking Dead' mid-season tease

Actor Norman Reedus attends "The Walking Dead" Panel

(Credit: Getty Images)

"The Walking Dead" returns Feb. 9 and...oh, enough! You really don't want any more words, do you? You want to see the clip. And as promised...

  

'Mad Men' back in April

This photo shows the cast of "Mad Men,"

(Credit: AMC)

"Mad Men" will be back a bit sooner than most of expected: April.

AMC just announced this: 

Sunday, April 13 at 10PM ET, the highly-anticipated first half of the final season of “Mad Men” will launch.


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(And don't worry -- not that you necessarily will -- but "Game of Thrones," which starts a week earlier, is at 9.)

AMC release tribute to 'The Walking Dead's' 'Governor'

Michael Rooker, left, and David Morrissey of the

(Credit: AP)

Yes, even the Governor ("...don't call me that") gets his own tribute: AMC just released what must be one of the year's most unique and unexpected love letters - to the Beast of Woodbury himself. As fans are sorrowfully aware, the Guv ate steel in the season finale. And he did not like being called "The Govenor." David Morrissey did a terrific job portraying one of TV's great villains over the past few years. .Take a look...

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