Since I won’t be getting any more “Mad Men” screeners in advance after this one, let me simply say that the second episode — airing on Aug. 1 — has more going on than almost any installment of the show I can remember, in a really good way. The hour manages to deliver moments that are alternately laugh-out-loud funny, touching, and slightly unnerving.
Which got me thinking: Will a very strong fourth season help the show’s chances of winning a third consecutive best-drama Emmy?
Although the eligibility period covers last year, it’s only human nature to consider the episodes you’re currently watching when sitting down to fill out the ballot. And if the fourth season — currently in progress — is stronger than the third (which was slightly uneven), might that benefit the show?
It’s no accident, I’d argue, that AMC times “Mad Men’s” seasons in this fashion, ensuring that the program is top of mind when the Emmy voting is in progress. It’s a shrewd move, one that could also benefit other cable programs (think “True Blood”) that have original summer runs, while network contenders have taken a summer siesta.
Of course, there’s a corresponding sort of politics with Oscar voting, with the assumption that movies released near the end of the year have an advantage. In TV, it’s a bit different, since the episodes viewers are seeing right now aren’t the ones that are in contention.
There’s no way of knowing, ultimately, but as they used to say on the “You Don’t Have to be Jewish” albums that were in vogue around the time of “Mad Men,” it couldn’t hurt.