July 25th, 2008
10:58 AM ET

Programming tips

A few things to look forward to in the next couple weeks …

"Mad Men" stars Jon Hamm as ad exec Don Draper.

“Mad Men” begins its second season Sunday night on AMC. The show earned 16 Emmy nominations for season one, which introduced us to the Sterling Cooper ad agency circa 1960 - a model firm of polished shoes and polished men in one of New York’s gleaming new glass boxes. Underneath the gloss, of course, things were as messy as the cigarette butts piled up in local tavern ashtrays: affairs, identity crises and a sense that the old order was breaking down. Season two begins its chronicle in February 1962. I’m still wondering how HBO could have passed on this, but the “Sopranos” network’s loss is AMC’s - and our - gain. (Need to catch up on season one? It's just out on DVD.)

– My wife, a ballroom dancing enthusiast, loves a dance show on TV. But it’s not “Dancing with the Stars” (which she dismisses as this decade’s version of “Battle of the Network Stars”) or “So You Think You Can Dance.” No, she’s become addicted to MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” - and gotten me hooked, too. I can do without the audience shrieks (well, it is MTV) or the comments of judges Lil Mama (“You slept on it”) and JC Chasez (remembering his ‘N Sync moves), but the sheer athleticism of the competitors is stunning. The show is getting down to its final four. Check it out Thursdays at 10 p.m. - or many other times throughout the week, since it is MTV and they rerun everything incessantly.

– And for those who didn’t get the first 30 minutes of “Wall-E” because there was no dialogue (and judging from this blog entry, there were many), please make sure you’re watching Turner Classic Movies on Saturday, August 2, when the network will program a full day of Charlie Chaplin films. Among the selections: 1918’s “A Dog’s Life,” 1921’s “The Kid,” 1925’s “The Gold Rush” (the one where he eats his boot), 1936’s “Modern Times” and 1940’s “The Great Dictator.” (Too bad “The Rink” is missing, but you can find it all over the Web.) So much can be said without words, and Chaplin was one of the greats. (Turner Classic Movies is a unit of Time Warner, as is CNN.)

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer

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