“Mad Men” was awesome this week. You really should be watching “Silicon Valley.” And I’m psyched for “The Americans” season finale

The Strategy

Haven’t done an all-TV posting in a while, as I’ve been fairly obsessed with the Stanley Cup playoffs, work and other things.

But three quick-hit thoughts on three of my favorite shows going right now:

First, “Mad Men” and I have been in a love-hate relationship for a few years, as I continue to be disgusted by most of Don Draper’s behavior, amused by Roger Sterling’s, and confused by many of the other lackluster storylines.

But the first half of this final season (they’re splitting up the last 14 episodes into two segments, one this year, one last year, because AMC can’t bear to see it go) has been stellar, and last Sunday was one of the best episodes the series has ever done.

(SPOILER ALERT) I love it when the investment you put into characters over years of a TV show pay off, and that’s what happened on “Mad Men” this week, when we had that oh-so-beautiful scene of Don and Peggy in the office, dancing to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” near the end. Their relationship has always been awkward, alternating between jealousy (of him) and resentment (of her), but this was perfect; two very flawed people who’ve known each other for a decade, realizing they’re not living the kind of lives they wanted, and taking comfort in each other.
Really, really sweet. I also loved the Joan and Bob Benson stuff, with Joan clearly having grown some over the years, and any scene with Roger in a sauna with other naked men is bound to be great, which it was. (I’m even hating Pete Campbell a little less this season. But he’s still an ass.)
One more “Mad Men” left until they take a break until next year, and unlike some seasons, I’ll be sad to see it go.

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**Next up, I came late to the party on the HBO show “Silicon Valley,” but after missing the first few episodes I caught up and have been addicted ever since. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a group of 20-something, ultra-nerdy Silicon Valley programmers who are trying to get a start-up off the ground before a major competitor does.

You’ve got characters who could easily be stereotypes and unfunny: the brilliant but socially awkward Indian guy, the nervous genius, the way-too-cocky Steve Jobs wannabe, etc. And there are two competing and completely insane billionaire investor rivals, who both want the start-up (called “Pied Piper”) really badly.

But the show is really, really funny. It mines the little moments and turns them hysterical. The Erlikh character in particular is hilarious, and of course Martin Starr (from “Freaks and Geeks” and “Knocked Up”) is terrific as well.

Definitely check out “Silicon Valley” if you can; it’s just funny.

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**Finally, extremely psyched for “The Americans” season finale tonight. I know I’ve raved about it on here a few times in the last few months, but really, I can’t praise this show enough. Things have been getting so tense the last couple of weeks, as danger encircles Phillip and Elizabeth, and maybe their kids.
Larrick is quite the psycho (not a shock, given that he’s an American-turned-Soviet spy, now gone rogue from both), FBI agent Stan is about to sell his country up the creek for a woman he loves (oldest story in the world, but told brilliantly here), and we have no earthly idea still who killed Soviet spies Emmett and Leann in the season opener. I still can’t believe they’re going to turn Stan from being an FBI agent into a spy for the Russians, but this show always surprises me.

I’m also hoping for Granny (the awesome Margo Martindale) to come back tonight and save the day, for Paige Jennings to run off and join the church and flee her parents, and for Henry Jennings to finally get that Intellivision he’s been wanting.

Great, great show.

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