Pour yourself an Old Fashioned: Don Draper is back. AMC is set to announce this morning that Mad Men will return for its sixth season on Sunday, April 7 at 9/8c with a two-hour season premiere. The show will then move to its regular time, 10/9c, the following week.
Creator Matthew Weiner confirms to TV Guide Magazine that the show (last seen in 1967) will make another jump in time, putting Mad Men straight in the middle of the tumultuous late 1960s. The time jump "at this point has been such a great story engine for the show," he says. "I love writing that first episode as if the audience knows everything that has happened, and watching them piece it in their head. It's an elliptical experience."
"As the season went on and Megan began to express her own desires and ambitions, it was a real blow to Don and didn't jibe with what his fantasy of this relationship was meant to be," Weiner says. "Maybe Megan wasn't exciting to him once she wasn't completely devoted to him anymore. But it ain't over. What was interesting to me was to see that journey of us taking his relationship seriously with her, and what the reaction was from the audience."
Weiner said he's proud of how Mad Men ended last year by "turning the emotional relationship between a husband and wife into a cliffhanger. That's the emotional scale that the show is operating on."
Weiner and his team are currently working on the eighth episode of season six, and at the same time he and the show's writers are breaking stories for the season finale. One of the major challenges this upcoming year was finding a way to depict the late 1960s without falling into the trap of how pop culture has reinterpreted that era. "I didn't know the show would go on this long," Weiner says. "And this part of the 60s I've always been fighting an image of the period that has been created by books and movies. It's the baby boomers' childhood. There is a propaganda that goes along with the whole era."
While it may be easy to pigeonhole the late 1960s as the time of protests, free love and hippies, the real timeframe is much more complicated, diverse and multi-generational. For example, even as artists like The Beatles and Jefferson Airplane revolutionized music, Weiner notes that Frank Sinatra continued to record No. 1 hits during that same era.