Don Draper in "a different place" as 'Mad Men' returns

Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:03pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The creator of stylish Emmy-winning drama "Mad Men" is full of anticipation. And also a teeny bit worried.

The 1960s advertising series returns to U.S. television screens on Sunday after a 17 month-absence stemming from a contract dispute between Weiner and cable channel AMC.

That's a lifetime in an era of the 24-hour news cycle, and no-one is more aware of it than its creator Matthew Weiner, who told Reuters he decided to do a two-hour premiere because "I have been worried about it (the long gap) the whole time."

"I want people to see it already and I am excited that they seem to be excited," Weiner said in an interview, explaining the longer premiere "was a calculated desire to give the audience a bigger, better, super-sized dose of the show and get them into it right away. And also to say, 'I value you'."

But Weiner, who in 2010 left TV audiences with brilliant but mysterious ad executive Don Draper (Jon Hamm) suddenly proposing to his beautiful young secretary Megan Calvet (Jessica Pare), isn't prepared to say much about the upcoming Season 5. Not even what year it is set in.

All Weiner will reveal is that the new season will be very different, and that after the personal struggles that befell Draper when we last saw him, the enigmatic creative director is "in the next part of his life, good or bad."

"As it relates to the business and his personal life, Don is in a different place. That is the story I want to tell. You have to be prepared that this season is going to be about something different," he said.

Teasers, trailers and previews are not favored by Weiner, partly because he savors surprising fans of the show, but also because much of the fascination of "Mad Men" lies in the sub-text and in the slow-burning development of the show's myriad characters.   Continued...

Jon Hamm as Don Draper. REUTERS/AMC