Always enjoy the synchronicity when one of my favorite TV shows ends its season, on the same night as another begins.
I got a great season premiere of “Mad Men” Sunday night, and at the same time, the underrated and criminally unloved “Shameless” finished its third season.
Two very different shows, but both were fantastic on Sunday. First, some “Mad Men” thoughts (SPOILER ALERT!)
No. 1, a terrific episode that showed why we love Roger Sterling and Peggy Olson, and why we love and loathe both Don and Betty. I thought the scene with Don and the young Vietnam soldier in Hawaii was terrific; the whole episode was filled with darkness, which is right up Don Draper’s alley.
No. 2, I love that Peggy in her new firm has become a little Don Draper; ordering around the staff and making them stay late; she has become what she always railed against.
No. 3, how fantastic is all the new hair on this show? It’s 1968 and Harry and Stan have crazy beard/sideburns, and Abe, I don’t know what’s going on with Abe’s facial hair. But it’s beautiful. Six years ago all these guys were straight-laced and clean-cut; now it’s 1968 and they’ve all let themselves go.
Finally, I’m glad they’re finally showing Betty to be at least a little human this season. They’ve made her so damn unlikable that I used to root for bad things to happen to her. But now she’s at least showing a little bit of a soul in trying to help wayward young Sandy.
As for “Shameless,” this was a crazy year with a million bizarre plot twists, but it all ended really nicely. Fiona has no boyfriend again, as (we think) Jimmy/Steve has been killed by his gangster father-in-law. Lip actually got into college, and might even go. Ian runs away to join the Army, stealing his older brother’s identity in the process.
And Frank, well, I really hope the show doesn’t start next season trying to redeem him. In fact, I’d love it if they killed him off. I know William H. Macy is awesome and a brilliant actor and all that, but his character adds so little to the show, I think it’d be better without it.
If you don’t watch “Shameless,” catching up on the just-completed season would be a good place to start. It’s a riotously funny, tragic, wonderfully-acted show.
**Monday night’s NCAA championship game was the best since … I can’t remember one as thrilling. It’s been a while, that’s for sure. Louisville and Michigan played a phenomenal, entertaining game filled with great athleticism and drama.
Some quick thoughts before I drift off to sleep:
— That first half was played as good as basketball can be. Spike Albrecht of Michigan, who averaged like 2 points a game this year, scored 17 (And I enjoyed all the “Teen Wolf” jokes about him on Twitter). And then the Hancock kid goes nuts to get the Cards back in.
— Trey Burke. How good is that kid? And the CBS announcers (Greg Anthony and Doug Gottlieb) are nuts if they think his sitting out the last minutes of the first half is why Michigan lost. The Wolverines lost because they couldn’t get a rebound in the second half, and couldn’t guard Peyton Siva in the lane (then again, no one can).
— Man, the basketball fans in the state of Kentucky are going to be insufferable this year. Last year Kentucky won, this year Louisville.
— So glad that after a poor-shooting tournament that featured lots of sloppy games, we got a thriller tonight. A great advertisement for the great sport of college hoops.
— I love “One Shining Moment” as much as anyone, but I thought this year’s was just … pretty good. I actually thought we’d see more Florida Gulf Coast highlights, but as always I got chills watching the buzzer-beaters and the emotional stuff. So glad CBS has kept that tradition going.
— Can’t wait ’till Oct. 15, first day of practice next year. Let’s go Duke.
**It’s sort of hard to explain to young people just how important Margaret Thatcher was in world history. Oh, Meryl Streep did a great job (so I hear, I haven’t seen it yet) portraying Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” But unless you lived through it, I think it’s difficult to comprehend just how radical her being elected prime minister was.
For 11 years from 1979-90, a woman led one of the most important and powerful countries in the world. Long before Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel, Thatcher was the trailblazer.
She was beloved, she was hated, but she was truly a unique voice in the world. Reading some of the obits about her on Monday, after she died at age 87, it was clear that she revolutionized England, modernized it, and did things her own way and in a way no woman leader had ever done before.
She left a giant footprint on the world, and she’ll be missed.