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And so the unnecessarily long goodbye begins for AMC's breakout, breakthrough signature series Mad Men, its final 14 hours being unconscionably broken into two halves over two years, starting Sunday at 10/9c. (Yes, it worked for Breaking Bad, but this isn't that kind of show.) While prolonging the inevitable, and potentially blunting whatever narrative momentum still exists in a most inelegant and desperate-seeming way, it's no wonder the often dazzling opening episode — titled "Time Zones," in a nod to the firm's now-bicoastal focus — is so preoccupied with time.
There's another serious new player in the ever-expanding universe of online original-content providers (see: Netflix and Hulu) — and happily, Amazon's entry into this suddenly cluttered marketplace is not just seriously funny, but it's as bracingly timely as the latest exasperating political headline. Alpha House (three episodes bow Friday on amazon.com, with future episodes available to Amazon Prime subscribers) is satire at its most blistering and biting, delivered by a master of the trade: Doonesbury's Garry Trudeau, whose contempt for political cynicism, venality and hypocrisy doesn't keep the jaded protagonists of this bawdy, brazen comedy from being great company. The setting is a Washington, D.C., row house, home away from home for four Republican senators, led by the fearlessly outrageous John Goodman as a good-old-boy/former football star who's outraged to discover he won't be able to coast through his next election. (His new opponent: a legendary Duke coach. As someone observes: "You're like a retired god. He's active.")
What kind of family must it be where slacker bartender Nick Miller (Jake Johnson) is seen as the responsible one? That answer becomes clear in a sporadically amusing road-trip episode of Fox's New Girl (9/8c) that takes the roomies to Chicago to lay Nick's scoundrel of a dad (former guest star Dennis Farina) to rest. The formidable Margo Martindale (Justified, The Americans) presides over the ridiculous antics as Nick's gruff but needy mom, and cable clown Nick Kroll hams it up as his emotionally volatile brother. As usual, Schmidt (Max Greenberg) hijacks the proceedings with his death neuroses, and while he wonders "What's with this open casket thing?" it's his encounter with said coffin and its contents that provides the episode's biggest laughs.
Sometimes you just need a little help from your Friends. After struggling in recent weeks without its sizable Voice lead-in, Go On has tapped Courteney Cox to guest-star opposite her former TV husband, Matthew Perry, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Cox, 48, will appear in...
Maybe you've heard lately — possibly in these last two weeks of Olympics force-feeding — that NBC has some new shows coming this fall. One of them starring an old Friend who's fallen on hard sitcom times. (Remember Mr. Sunshine? No?) Not content to merely barrage us with endless promos and teasers during the Olympics, NBC has now decided to sneak-peek entire pilots of two of its new comedies, commercial-free, beginning tonight with Go On (11/10c), an uneasy collision of snark and sentiment that feels like Community rebooted as a Dear John clone. (Helps if you have a long memory for NBC sitcomedy.)