'Mad Men' back for season four ... Other shows of note - East Valley Tribune: Television

'Mad Men' back for season four ... Other shows of note

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Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2010 3:00 pm

A less-than-flattering newspaper profile has Don Draper (Jon Hamm), the dashing Madison Avenue force of nature, realizing he hasn't quite grasped who he needs to be.

"My job is to write ads, not go around talking about who I am," he says in the fourth-season opener of "Mad Men" (10 p.m. EDT Sunday, AMC).

"Who knows who you are?" yells business partner Roger Sterling Jr. (John Slattery).

If "Mad Men" has learned anything from Madison Avenue over the years, it's a keen sense of knowing the product, selling it and calculating the perfect time for redefining it. By now, "Mad Men" could suffer greatly from oversaturation. The drama has won almost every major award possible, and the expectations for staying one of television's best dramas are high.

Yet the early-1960s-set series makes no mistakes as it rounds a new corner in the season opener.

Hamm's cool and studied performance remains brilliant. "Mad Men" is as sharp as ever, relevant in the way it mirrors our times.

Like Draper, "Mad Men" is at a crossroads. Based solely on the one episode offered for review, the season has chosen the right path to take. "Mad Men's" pervasive darkness sticks to its unusual subtleties. The humor is ramped up slightly, going from amusing and quirky to, at times, laugh-out-loud.

Other highlights for the week of July 25-31. All times EDT. Listings subject to change. Check local listings:

SUNDAY

-- "Steve Byrne: The Byrne Identity" (10 p.m., Comedy Central). What do men and women tell their friends the night after a first date? The standup comedian compares the two in this special.

MONDAY

-- "Homeless: The Motel Kids of Orange County" (9 p.m., HBO). In one of the most affluent areas in the country, poor and desperate families are on the rise, according to this documentary.

TUESDAY

-- "Breakthrough With Tony Robbins" (8 p.m., NBC). The self-help guru takes his act to prime time, aiding folks who are in personal crisis.

-- "Masterchef" (9 p.m., Fox). Gordon Ramsey is searching for the best home cooks in the country.

-- "Growing Up Twisted" (10 p.m., A&E). Dee Snider of Twisted Sister stars in his own reality show. Remember when A&E used to be a respectable channel with classy programming?

WEDNESDAY

-- "Plain Jane" (10 p.m., CW). An expert in beauty and fashion offers help to women.

THURSDAY

-- "Project Runway" (9 p.m., Lifetime). Seventeen new designers try to claw their way up the fabric chain.

-- "Jersey Shore" (10 p.m., MTV). The eight housemates return for a new season. In it, Snookie goes gorilla hunting -- and she doesn't leave the U.S.

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