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News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.

'Mad Men:' The end is near. (Sunday, in fact)

Sunday is wrap day for "Mad Men's" sixth season, and let's now begin to ponder what it all meant, if anything - or everything. I've got a column on this very subject in today's Newsday, re-posted here for your consideration. Bottom line: Fine season, though certainly not all would agree wtih that! 

  Meanwhile, two days after the tragic death of James Gandolfini, it's worth...

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'Mad Men' recap: The Bob Benson mystery solved, maybe

James Wolk as Bob Benson on "Mad Men."

(Credit: AMC)

And so Sunday night, the great mystery of "Mad Men's" Season 6 six is solved -- Bob Benson.

Let's quickly add up the "nots," as in the not-what-Bob-is (though some speculated he was): Journalist, spy, KGB agent (no one thought of that, but someone should have), corporate espionage craftsman.

Instead, Bob's just a prefabricated Potemkin suit -- not quite a grifter,...

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'Mad Men': Say, what about this Bob Benson...?

James Wolk as Bob Benson on "Mad Men."

(Credit: AMC)

I, like you, am still recovering from Sunday's towering inferno of "Mad Men" reveals -- Bob Benson, maybe gay!; Don Draper and Sylvia Rosen caught in flagrante delicto by Sally! -- but finally have had a little time to sort matters outs.

What does it all mean?

Anything? Nothing? Everything?

The episode "Favors" was masterful -- a classic within a classic that...

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'The Sopranos' tops Writers Guild of America list of 101 best-written series

James Gandolfini, second from left, and Tony Sirico

(Credit: HBO)

In one of those lists expressly designed to create debate -- or dissent -- the Writers Guild of America has released its 101 best-written series compilation topped by (no surprise) "The Sopranos."  

It's unclear what constitutes "best written," so one must assume a certain degree of  subjectivity has crept in here -- subjectivity and conventional wisdom -- for where is it written that a show that lands in 57th place is all that better than one that lands in 58th? And so on. 

Nevertheless, the list is a fun one, and it's certainly safe to say that the top choices here are very well-written indeed... though really surprised "The Simpsons" didn't land in the top 10. Recount! (It's at number 11.)

Other oddities: "The Daily Show" of course gets a top billing (17) and should, but not even the slightest mention of Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" anywhere on this? Recount! Oh wait, I've already asked for one of those.

And David Letterman's "Late Night" barely makes the top 100, but no mention of "Late Show?"  And how can you do a list about great TV writing without at least one tiny mention of "The Ernie Kovacs Show," since we're talking "Late  Night" -- so deeply inspired by Kovacs?   

Honestly, I'm mostly bugged about the Carson no-mention and the ridiculous passover of Letterman's "Late Show." (Which brings to mind that old Bob Hope joke at the Oscars -- "what's Oscar night in my house? Passover..." Ba dum.)   

See? The debate has begun even before I finished this post. The WGA doesn't explain methodology, but I am assuming this was thrown open to membership to vote...

I have more quibbles, but let's get to the list... Here's the top 10 and if you want to read the full 101 go here. (Have patience with the page - it takes a while to load as it loads up all the cookies on your computer, but it's worth the wait... ) 

1. The Sopranos (HBO), Created by David Chase

2. Seinfeld (NBC), Created by Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld

3. The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959), Season One writers: Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Robert Presnell Jr., Rod Serling

4. All in the Family (CBS), Developed for Television by Norman Lear, Based on Till Death Do Us Part, Created by Johnny Speight

5. M*A*S*H (CBS), Developed for Television by Larry Gelbart

6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (CBS), Created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns

7. Mad Men (AMC), Created by Matthew Weiner

8. Cheers (NBC), Created by Glen Charles & Les Charles and James Burrows

9. The Wire (HBO), Created by David Simon

10. The West Wing (NBC), Created by Aaron Sorkin

'Mad Men' recap: Twenty mad crazy scenes from 'The Crash'

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in "Mad Men" Season

(Credit: AMC)

"The Crash" began with a crash, and ended with a crash, and kind of crashed multiple times during the entire episode, which is to say: Sunday night's "Mad Men" was quite possibly the most accurately entitled episode in show history.

But let's not tarry. Presumably you've already seen, so nothing will be spoiled here for you, but just in case, don't bother reading on. Too...

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'Mad Men' recap: Counting the ways the new agency will implode

The "Mad Men" from Season 6 are, from

(Credit: AMC)

What could wrong with Ted and Don in the same room? In the same company? Oh come on, now, really. So yes, Sunday's "For Immediate Release" was a game-changer.

But --  just to borrow a little bit of the negative vibe that Ted Chaough brings in abundance to every human encounter, let's count the ten ways this union of SCDP and Ted's outfit -- which I guess we should now be calling...

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'Mad Men' recap: 'The Flood,' April 4, 1968, and wallpaper

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his wife, Megan,

(Credit: AMC)

And so we come to "The Flood," the fifth episode of the sixth season of "Mad Men," and what was probably the most complicated, layered, interlaced episode of the entire run: Full of symbols, historic tangents, backstory, front-story, foreshadows, old shadows, new shadows, pop culture references and touchstones, character development, inter-family complexities, emotional riffs...

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Jessica Paré on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:' Charming

"Mad Men” actress Jessica Pare attends the celebration

(Credit: AP )

Did you know that Jessica Paré - who's doing a bang-up job on this season's "Mad Men" as the soap actress with a faithless feckless husband known as Don Draper - has never ever been a guest on a late night show? I didn't either, but she made her debut on last night's "Late Show with Jimmy Fallon." I think that merits a blog post - don't you? She was - as fans would rightly expect - charming: Talked about this season, how she got the gig, and a little more about "Zou Bisou Bisou." Take it away:  

'Mad Men' recap: The best lines from Sunday's 'To Have and To Hold'

From left, Bertram Cooper (Robert Morse), Pete Campbell

(Credit: AMC)

So let's talk "To Have and To Hold," the third episode of "Mad Men's" sixth season and judging by the Twittersphere reaction two days later, the least liked episode so far. Which more than anything proves the downside of crowdsourcing opinions — they can be wrong, everywhere, instantly.

"To Have and To Hold" was this season's best episode. It was a pure pleasure...

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'Mad Men:' On collaborators, Churchill, and 'The Collaborators'

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and Megan Draper (Jessica

(Credit: AMC)

Apologies for this late post on Sunday's interesting "Mad Men," titled "The Collaborators," but like you, I have had a lot else to reflect on than the latest Don Draper bed-hopping episode.

But in light of the tragedy in Boston, it's almost -- in an unexpected way -- bizarre that an episode, which revolved around a Winston Churchill quote, would air the night before.


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