'Mad Men' Returns! See Where the Show Left Off -- And Why We're Glad It's Back

After a 17-month hiatus, AMC's Emmy-winning hit finally returns on Sunday. Read on for a season 4 refresher and for the top 5 reasons we're psyched for its return!

After a 17-month hiatus, AMC's Mad Men finally returns for season 5 this Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET! But don't bother hoping for a sneak peek before then; there's not a trailer or teaser clip in sight (though there is a featurette with the stars talking about the season). Why the lack of previews? Creator Matthew Weiner has his own way of teasing fans: He makes 'em wait.

"This is a (show) whose success is tied to its mystery," Weiner tells Reuters. "I don't have giant nuclear bombs, and plane hijackings and bloodbaths. I have a story on a human level, so that things that seem inconsequential like, 'When is it taking place?' and 'What is the state of Don's (Jon Hamm) personal life?' -- that is a lot of story."

Fair enough. The new season's time frame and the state of Don's personal life are big questions. When the show left off, our tortured but debonair ad man was still basking in the glow of his impulsive marriage proposal to his 25-year-old secretary (Jessica Pare), a woman who'd only appeared in the last few episodes. (Mid-life crisis, anyone?)

Don's ex-wife Betty (January Jones) had remarried and moved in with her handsome new husband, but -- shocker! -- she remains just about the most bitter houswife ever. And instead of focusing on her own psychological well-being, she was taking it out her issues on her unhappy daughter Sally (Kiernan Shipka), whom she dragged off to therapy.

Joan (Christina Hendricks, a.k.a. iVillage's reigning Woman of the Week -- see video below) was carrying womanizing Roger's (John Slattery) baby unbeknownst to her hapless husband (Samuel Page), who thinks the baby is his. Poor guy.

Copywriting star Peggy (Elisabeth Moss), who saved the ad agency at the end of season 4 by landing a pantyhose account, was chagrinned that her sizable contributions to the agency were overshadowed by Don's personal life.

And the agency itself was in turmoil after losing its biggest client, Lucky Strike (though it does have that pantyhose account now!).

This leads us to the top 5 reasons we're glad Mad Men is back...

1. All these months later, we're still curious about whether Don will come to regret his rash union with the lovely, toothy Megan. Are they still together? Or has ex-wife Betty re-entered the picture, reuniting their dysfunctional family? Which would be worse? (This is a show whose characters are all so complex, it's hard to know who to root for.)

2. Speaking of Jones, we're dying to know how (or if) the show incorporated the actress's pregnancy into the story.

3. We're intrigued by Weiner's vague hints about big changes ahead. "As it relates to the business and his personal life, Don is in a different place," he tells Reuters. "That is the story I want to tell. You have to be prepared that this season is going to be about something different." But how different? Is our straight-edged '50s antihero going to morph into a long haired disco-loving hippie in the 70's?! (We suspect not, but that would be kind of fun.)

4. It's the only series on TV that manages to be both retro and fashion-forward at the same time.

5. Who can deny a show that's won the Emmy Award for best TV drama series four years in a row (for each and every season that it's been on the air)? Not us!
 

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