The Short List
Critics' Picks: 'Mad Men' season finale, 'True Blood' season premiere and the blog Brainpickings.org
Three things Seattle Times writers love this week: the season finale of "Mad Men" on AMC, the addictive "curated curiosity" blog Brainpickings.org and the Season Five premiere of "True Blood" on HBO.
Lane punching Pete in the nose. Joan and Don sitting in a Christmas-lit bar. Peggy, gulping out, "Don't be a stranger." Roger, high on LSD, hearing music from a vodka bottle. Megan crooning, "Zou bisou bisou" to an incredulous Don. Paul returning as a Hare Krishna. Joan saying to Greg, "I want you to go." Lane trying vainly to start that green Jaguar. Ken writing fiction in the dark. Sally in a silver minidress and go-go boots. Can this "Mad Men" season, slow to start but rich in perfect character moments, be ending already? See how things wrap up at Sterling Cooper Draper (alas, no more Pryce) tonight, and start the long countdown to Season Six. 10 p.m. Sunday, AMC.
Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts writer
The blog (and its companion Twitter feed @brainpicker) is formally known as a "curated inventory of cross-disciplinary curiosity," but its devoted readers know it as a place to find entries about things such as the relationship between creativity and dishonesty; the 100 ideas that changed cinema; a history of political propaganda; plus photos, video and examples of great graphic design. If you can extricate yourself from the site in less than 30 minutes, you're stronger than I am.
Weekend Plus editor
Welcome back, residents of Bon Temps, La. Be you vampire, werewolf, shape-shifter or human (are there any bona fide humans left on this show?), you help make this horror/comedy series the deliriously fizzy/bloody cocktail of summer TV. Season Five picks up right where last season left off and thankfully concentrates on the show's core characters. It's so nice to see some great (and yes, moving) backstory for Eric and Pam (Alexander Skarsgard and Kristin Bauer). And Christopher Meloni makes a great addition to the cast (and wears those fangs like a pro). 9 p.m. Sunday, HBO.
Doug Knoop, Seattle Times staff