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It's a 'Mad Men' world

Don't expect a "Game of Thrones" body count as AMC drama begins its final, two-year season.

In the final-season premiere of "Mad Men," Don Draper (Jon Hamm), on indefinite leave, jets off to L.A. to see whether he can salvage his second marriage.
In the final-season premiere of "Mad Men," Don Draper (Jon Hamm), on indefinite leave, jets off to L.A. to see whether he can salvage his second marriage.Read more

* MAD MEN. 10 p.m. Sunday, AMC.

"MAD MEN" returns on Sunday for its seventh and final season, but thanks to AMC, which has trouble letting go (see "Bad, Breaking"), we won't have to start obsessing about the finale until 2015.

Which is a relief, because there's something about "Mad Men" that drives some of the people who love it most a little crazy. Week after week, season after season, they sit down to watch one show, clearly expecting another.

Finale fever's only going to make that worse.

Season 7 has reportedly already attracted at least one wild theory - Don Draper as vanished hijacker D.B. Cooper? Really? - as if the murder and mayhem some foresaw for Season 6 had actually taken place.

(The offscreen death of Pete Campbell's mother, however suspicious, hardly justifies the speculation that followed Megan's appearance in a T-shirt like one once worn by slain actress Sharon Tate.)

"Mad Men," a show set in the world of 1960s advertising, spills blood from time to time, but it's not "Game of Thrones." If Don (Jon Hamm) attended a Red Wedding, the bridesmaids might be in scarlet and the guests feasting on steak tartare, but everyone would get home alive. If not sober.

So what can I tell you about the season premiere?

Not much.

Creator Matthew Weiner has his usual list of potential spoilers, starting with the year in which the episode, "Time Zones," takes place.

I hope you'll feel a warm glow when you figure it out. The Season 6 finale set some things in motion. Expect to spend some time getting the new lay of the land.

Air travel will be involved.

Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) and Joan (Christina Hendricks) will both have reasons to be annoyed.

Some hemlines seem higher than ever - and so does one hairline - but these might also be optical illusions.

There's something that I should have seen coming but didn't and it gave me the kind of small pleasure that "Mad Men" is still capable of delivering, even though it meant that even less had changed than I'd thought.

If I was less charmed by an earlier scene that felt like video outtakes from a Vogue photo shoot, well, I've always blown hot and cold on "Mad Men." I appreciate its willingness to be life-sized, if not exactly subtle, in a medium that increasingly demands its drama on steroids. And I applaud its rejection of nostalgia as much as I do its avoidance (so far) of serial killers.

It's the fetishizing of the visual, not lack of action, that leaves me impatient.

But for now, we're on a plane and Weiner's in the cockpit. The drinks are flowing. I don't know where we're going and neither do you. Might as well sit back and enjoy what's left of the ride.

'Living Dangerously'

If you're trying to convince a science-phobic portion of the public of the reality of man-made climate change, a celebrity-driven, premium-cable documentary series whose lead-in is "Californication" is probably not a winning strategy.

At least not in places where droughts are considered the will of God, not a side effect of deforestation.

But we have to take our inconvenient truths where we find them, and "Years of Living Dangerously" (10 p.m. Sunday, Showtime), produced by James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger, does a good job in its premiere of widening the discussion of global warming.

Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman are dispatched all over the world to conduct interviews, but the real star turns out to be a climate scientist named Katharine Hayhoe.

Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian who's trying to bring her two worlds together to help save ours, doesn't condescend to the ignorant, saving her wrath for those who, she says, "I know know better [and are] deliberately lying to people" about climate change.

Someone needs to get this woman a bigger pulpit.

On Twitter: @elgray