AMC’s Mad Men has become a favorite of television fans everywhere since its inception in 2007, and Season 6′s April 7 premiere is eagerly anticipated. There have been some very interesting developments, so you’ll want to re-watch Season 5 before viewing the Season 6 (or reading this article, for that matter). Read on to find out everything you need to know about the upcoming season.
1. The Same Cast Returns, with One Exception
SEASON 5 SPOILER ALERT: Lane Pryce (Jared Harris) hanged himself at the end of the last season, but with that exception the rest of the cast will reprise their previous roles. Fans were worried that Betty Francis (January Jones) and Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) wouldn’t return because of their decreased airtime at the end of Season 5, but series creator Matt Weiner has confirmed that they’ll be back.
2. It’s Circling the Drain
This will be the second-to-last season of the hit series, which is probably for the best. Shows that run for more than their share of seasons tend to get a bit lackluster toward the end, so the fact that this one has a clear end date in mind foreshadows good things for the storyline.
3. Jon Hamm and John Slattery Will Direct Episodes
Series stars Jon Hamm (Don Draper) and John Slattery (Roger Sterling) both will direct some episodes of Season 6. This won’t be the first time that’s happened — both directed episodes in Season 5 — but their chops as directors are formidable.
4. Some Shooting Was Done On-Location in Hawaii
Matt Weiner confirmed that some of the two-hour season premiere was shot on location in Hawaii, a markedly different scene from the hustle and bustle of New York City. We know that both Don and Megan Draper are there, though we’re not exactly sure why.
5. Betty Gets More Airtime
In an interview with Vulture, January Jones said her character would be getting more onscreen time than last season. “I’m in it more,” she said. “I can only say that, I think. We’re halfway done — and I’ve gotten to do a lot of weird stuff.” People love to hate Betty, the beautiful ice queen and Don’s ex-wife, so her character’s developments are highly anticipated.
6. There Will Be a Time Leap Between Seasons
Season 6 will pick up after some time has passed from Season 5′s conclusion, but it’s not clear exactly how much time will have elapsed. That could have various implications for the story and the disposition of each character, and although the reasoning behind that decision remains elusive it was probably for the best.
7. Pete Won’t Kill Himself
There were several hints at the possibility of suicide dropped throughout Season 5, but Matt Weiner never intended for it to be Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser). Frankly, he’s surprised that anyone suspected it. As Weiner said in an interview with The Daily Beast:
I know the character of Pete very well and I don’t see Peter Campbell as someone who would ever commit suicide. He is very judgmental about mental illness. He eventually said it in Episode 13 that he views it as weak, and that was already written and shot when all of this hubbub started.
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8. Matt Weiner Kept Himself Busy Between Seasons
Weiner wasn’t just idling away during the break between shooting seasons of his brainchild program — he kept himself busy by shooting a feature film he wrote. The film, called You Are Here, stars Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler, and it’s now in post-production. As he told TV Guide:
I’ve been trying to make this movie for 10 years, and when I saw that the stars were going to line up, I said, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.’
9. It’ll Reflect Our Times
“I think the social environment and the general sense of anxiety and decay [in Season 6]” reflects how Americans are feeling right now, Weiner told TV Guide. “I think it’s about, whether we realize it or not, we have lost something recently, and it feels very different. There’s a bit of a self-esteem problem for the country, and it’s turned people inwards.” The ’60s were an economically prosperous time, so that sentiment won’t be as reflective of our era than the inner feelings of the characters will.
10. Details are Pretty Hush-Hush
The cast and writers have understandably been very careful not to let any details leak, but we want to know things, dammit! We’ll just have to hold out for the April 7 premiere to fill us in, as much as we might not want to wait.