The last season of Mad Men ended with a dull ache rather than swift punch. The final note was a contemplative one, not entirely somber but with so much change in the air it was difficult to tell just where the character's could go from here. We've been waiting for months now to see how Peggy will fare outside of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, how Don will deal with his wife's newly found independence, and just how Joan will maintain the strength that's always pushed her forward. But the wait will soon be over. AMC has officially announced that the show will have its return on April 7th with a special two-hour season premiere.
“I am going to skip ahead in time,” said Weiner in a recent interview with the Daily Beast. “I won’t say how long, but the first two episodes are a movie unto themselves. And they do foreshadow what’s going to happen in the season. They do tell a story of the period and root you where you are in these people’s lives. But a lot has changed when the season opens up. A lot has changed.”
The special premiere will be written by Weiner himself and directed by Scott Hornbacher, with the following episode on the 17th written by Jonathan Weiner and directed by Jon Hamm. Speaking to the dramatic and drastic changes made in the previous seasons—from Peggy's departure, to Lane's suicide, Weiner commented:
I don’t think anybody else has done a permanent divorce like that, or moved people out of their home, or dissolved their businesses or anything. So they were worried. I never said to anyone that Elisabeth was leaving the show. I just said that the character was moving on and you’ll have to watch. That’s what I always say: ‘You’ll have to watch.’ And you know what? If people were angry, God bless them, I’m glad that their emotions are wrapped up in the show. It’s a kind of interest that you can’t pay for… I’m not driven by giving them what they want. I’m driven by entertaining them.
This will also be the final season before Weiner wraps things up with a seventh season in the year to follow. And unrelatedly but sadly, this year will also see the end to one of television's most-beloved and acclaimed shows, also an AMC hit, Breaking Bad. Charlie Collier, President and General Manager of AMC said, "It is a calling card and a point of great pride for AMC to be the network home of Mad Men,led by Matthew Weiner and his brilliant team," to which Kevin Briggs, President, Lionsgate Television Group said, "The success of Mad Men is built on the exceptional artistry and imagination of Matthew Weiner, the cast, and the entirewriting and producing team. They continually strive to raise the bar and we look forward to bringing viewers another great season."
And in the sixth season of the show, the characters of Mad Men will not only face the darker and more poignant issues that plagued the 1960s, which we saw begin to develop in the fifth season but, "for some reason or another, this season feels particularly related to where I feel that we are right now, as a country and as a society," says Weiner. "There’s been a bit of a blow to our self-esteem. None of the economic realities of the ’60s, of any of the years that we’ve done the show, reflect what’s going on right now. It was really a boom time for the economy, for job creation, and American industy. But I think that the social order, the blow to our self-esteem and turning inward as we deal with the loss of something. "The loss of our— Now I’m being super-vague about it. I’m not prepared to talk about it.”
He may be vague but we wouldn't want it any other way. One of the best things about Mad Men is the every-evolving and surprising narrative, how each episode unfolds like a story of it's own, weaving in out of conflict and stillness that keep us connected to the characters and challenge us an audience. Every episode may not be perfect but there's always a sense that you're watching something that's truly been meticulously crafted and executed and personally, I'm looking forward to diving into the new season and seeing just how these characters deal when thrust into a new world. So get your drinks ready because April isn't too far off.