When I watched the first episode of the sixth season of Mad Men I expected it to feel like putting on a comfortable, well-worn, pair of slippers. For years we have gotten to know Don, Pete, Peggy, Betty and numerous other characters as their fortunes, and those of the agency, have ebbed and flowed. But disconcertingly the start of the season time travels forward a couple of years from the end of season 5. As a result everything familiar felt different, and it took several episodes to feel reoriented in the lives of the characters. That was a stroke of genius. Mad Men has always made us work hard for the rewards of feeling immersed in its world.
Once the reorientation process was complete, the series continued with the same sharp writing and flawless acting which have made the previous series such compelling viewing. The introduction of several new characters,the toxic fallout from Don's relationships, and the overhaul of the agency all help to keep the stories fresh and open new windows to the souls of the major protagonists. That said, Don's soul remains a dark and mysterious place. That is why we love him, and this show, so much.