It’s only natural for AMC’s Mad Men to be consumed with thoughts of mortality as it heads further into the turbulent late ’60s in its sixth and reportedly next-to-last season of existence. A year ago, the central set piece in the premiere was a surprise birthday party. This time, it’s a similarly eventful wake. And that’s not the only way in which Sunday’s two-hour opener (9/8c), written by series creator Matthew Weiner, drives the death-comes-to-us-all theme home with such sledgehammer relentlessness and obviousness that for the first time, I began to think maybe it is time for this beautifully crafted series to start thinking about giving up the ghost. There’s no denying the importance of a show that manages to win four well-deserved best-drama Emmys in its first four times at bat — I didn’t hesitate to include Mad Men among the Top 10 in a recent “60 Greatest Dramas of All Time” package in TV Guide Magazine. But does it have to be this self-important?
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