Some observers felt Mad Men got off to a bit of a slow start in its third season, but the episodes over the last several weeks have arguably been the best run of excellence in the show's history. And now that the characters have experienced the Kennedy assassination, marking the true point where it became "the Sixties" culturally as well as chronologically, we can expect the pace of change to only get more dizzying.
But we're going to have to wait until 2010 for most of those developments, since it's already (sob!) season finale time (AMC, Sunday 10 p.m.). Big questions that I hope to get at least a few answers to: Is the Draper marriage really falling apart? Will Pete really leave Sterling Cooper? Will Don's flaky mistress reappear at some point? Will Don, Roger, Cooper or some combination of them try to buy the firm back? Is Salvatore ever coming back into the picture? Can Peggy please get a bedmate who isn't totally gross? And what about that inscrutable Conrad Hilton, who has been ominously absent of late? We can hope there's enough fodder to carry us into next summer.
Also this week:
Monday: Heroes (NBC, 8 p.m.): The draw this week is a pair of guest stars. Jayma Mays (Glee), still fondly remembered by this show's fans for her brief appearance in the debut season, is back this week despite her character being dead. Hey, it's not the biggest cheat they've ever pulled on Heroes. Also, former Law & Order mannequin Elisabeth Rohm plays the Primatech partner of Noah (Jack Coleman). The only scary thing about Rohm is her acting.
Tuesday: V (ABC, 8 p.m.): The sci-fi cult miniseries-turned-weekly series from the early 1980s, about an alien visitation that may be more ominous than it first appears, gets the remake treatment from ABC. The pilot finds Anna, the leader of the aliens, delivering a message of peace to the entire world. A likely story! Elizabeth Mitchell of Lost fame serves as the primary geek bait in the cast.
Wednesday: CSI: NY (CBS, 10 p.m.): It's always humorous when CSIs come face-to-face with an offbeat sexual subculture. This time around, the mysterious death of a software executive leads the investigators into the world of "sploshing" -- folks who get down and dirty (literally) with people who are covered in food. So you don't have to choose between food and sex? I've been missing out.
Thursday: FlashForward (ABC, 8 p.m.): Demetri (John Cho) finally admits that his flash forward didn't contain any information; Mark (Joseph Fiennes) and Demetri work with an MI6 agent to investigate some suicides; Aaron is visited by someone who knew his daughter in the Army.
Friday: Medium (CBS, 9 p.m.): After a small car mishap, Allison (Patricia Arquette) rents an SUV with an odd option added on: a satellite radio that permits her to hear conversations taking place elsewhere. Does a certified medium really need the additional help?
Saturday: The Wanda Sykes Show (Fox, 11 p.m.): Sykes is a great talk show guest and her attitude seems just right for a Saturday night, but you never know if someone has the hosting chops until you actually see them behind a desk. But this new entrant in the talk wars has to be better than the last several years of MADtv, right?