Catch up on last year’s best new dramatic series

Let’s face it: This past television season was basically a bust. What with the writers’ strike, The Wire’s departure, and some questionable incest plotlines (Brothers & Sisters, we’re looking at you), watching TV became a depressing exercise. The saving grace? AMC’s gleaming 1960’s-era drama Mad Men.

Set at a New York ad agency, Mad Men is an unashamedly low-concept series. There are no time-shifting gimmicks or supernatural subplots, just excellent storytelling, courtesy of creator Matthew Weiner (formerly of The Sopranos), and dynamite actors like Golden Globe winner Jon Hamm and Mr. J. Pierpont Finch himself, Robert Morse.

Originally, Mad Men (season one available on DVD 7/1) received attention for its visual style (which it deserved — the to-die-for costumes and sets would make Douglas Sirk jealous), but it’s the characters that hook you and, like a good advertising slogan, linger in your mind for a long, long time.

The second season premieres on AMC July 27, giving you just enough time to catch up. So get going!

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This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. Catch up on last year’s best new dramatic series