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Midseason TV: Where we left off

'Mad Men,' 'Downton Abbey,' 'Game of Thrones' and more.

January 08, 2012
  • Jon Hamm, left, Jessica Pare and John Slattery in "Mad Men."
Jon Hamm, left, Jessica Pare and John Slattery in "Mad Men." (Jordin Althaus, AMC )

It's been a while since we visited with these old friends. Where did we leave off things?

Mad Men

The winds of change are blowing cigarette smoke in Don Draper's face. When we left in 1965, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce was struggling. Joan had decided not to abort Roger's baby. Torn between two lovers, Don chose sweet, young secretary Megan rather than smart, modern Dr. Faye. Betty snapped (a little more than usual) and fired beloved housekeeper Carla, nailing her spot in the "nastiest TV moms of 2011" pantheon. With the sixth season rumored to pick up in 1966 or 1967, life on Madison Avenue may get a lot more psychedelic.

Downton Abbey

Gorgeous period clothes, a society on the verge of transformation, a man turning his back on his past to fit in with the rich — no, this isn't "Mad Men" again, it's PBS' "Downton Abbey." World War I was fast approaching, but that didn't stop the upstairs-downstairs intrigue, including an on-again, off-again relationship between Lady Mary and her cousin Matthew Crawley, the sweet, middle-class man who is heir to the family's grand house, Downton Abbey. Young suffragette Lady Sybil got friendly with the socialist chauffeur, matriarch Cora found herself pregnant and miscarried — and that was just the rich folks. What will become of the humble servants? Will they continue to manipulate, seduce and entertain one another, or will some of them be sent off to die in the Great War?

Game of Thrones

The Kingdom of Westeros is in chaos, with King Robert dead and the honorable Ned Stark's head on a spike. The sneering, incest-loving Lannisters fill the power vacuum, running amok as young Joffrey takes the throne. Meanwhile, Robb Stark heads North to rustle up troops in preparation for civil war. Brooding heartthrob Jon Snow decides to stay with the Night's Watch, who will soon face the dark creatures stirring on the other side of the Wall. And far, far away, Daenerys rises after Drogo's death like a sexy, blond phoenix from the flames. Winter is coming, and so are the dragons.

30 Rock

Could Season 5 of "30 Rock" have taken place inside one of Liz Lemon's dreams? It left off with Liz joining a chain gang in Central Park in search of peace and quiet. Jenna got offered a job as the representative for wool but chose instead to remain true to herself and her cross-dressing lover, Paul. And poor Jack Donaghy was separated from the love of his life when Avery was taken hostage by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. Will she escape? Can Kenneth replace her in Jack's affections? Can Tracy find new purpose after achieving his EGOT? And will Liz Lemon ever stop eating junk food?

The Killing

In the beginning, Rosie Larsen was killed. First it looked like one or more of Rosie's friends did it, then it didn't. Then it looked like the school janitor did it, then it didn't. Then it looked like her teacher did it, then it didn't (but Rosie's dad didn't get the memo and nearly beat the poor man to death). Then it looked like a bunch of other people did it — including "Mr. Perfect (Too Perfect Running for Mayor with a Penchant for High-Class Call Girls Guy") — but then it didn't (especially after Det. Holder faked a photo to incriminate the candidate). In the end, Rosie is still dead and we still don't know who did it. It'd better not be BOB from "Twin Peaks."

— Joy Press and Martin Miller

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