PopWatch Planner: 'Mad Men,' 'Game of Thrones,' and 'The Killing' return, and Spock beams down to 'The Big Bang Theory'

mad-men-cast

Image Credit: Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Judging by its record-setting opening weekend, the odds are ever more in your favor that you’ve seen The Hunger Games by now. Which means your schedule is that much more free to have it be overwhelmed by the DVR death-match looming next Sunday, when the second seasons of The Killing and Game of Thrones premiere, against the second episode of Mad Men‘s fifth season (and, oh right, there’s The Good Wife and The Amazing Race and The Simpsons and the final season of Desperate Housewives, too). It’ll be up to you to decide how the heck to navigate this scheduling minefield, but click here to see how EW TV critic Ken Tucker’s wading through it.

In between, Madonna’s newest studio album hits stores, Spock(‘s voice) comes to The Big Bang Theory, and Julia Roberts and Sam Worthington valiantly vie for second place against the Hunger Games juggernaut. But first things first, tonight marks the long-awaited, two-hour return of Mad Men. Enjoy your week!

SUNDAY, March 25
Mad Men season premiere — 9 p.m., AMC

We’ve waited 17 months, so the least Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger, and Pete can do is welcome us back with a two hour feast of gorgeous 1960s nostalgia and doleful glances into bottomless chasms of existential ennui, right? 

MONDAY, March 26
Madonna’s MDNA released

She triumphed at the Super Bowl. Her latest music video, for “Girl Gone Wild,” manages to re-capture her late-80s/early-90s hyper-sexual glory days. She’s on as solid pop-culture ground as she’s been in years. Now all that remains is whether her latest album can match all this pre-release hype. (Click here for EW’s review.)

TUESDAY, March 27
A Dangerous Method out on DVD/Blu-ray

You may have been too shy to go to a public theater to watch Michael Fassbender’s Carl Jung spank his patient, played by Keira Knightley. And that’s fine — no judgement here. But now you can enjoy the film in the privacy of your own home. So what’s your excuse now?

WEDNESDAY, March 28
South Park — 10 p.m., Comedy Central

So far, the 16th season of South Park has tweaked the TSA, leaving the toilet seat up, Cash 4 Gold stores, and home shopping networks. Who will Matt and Trey take on next?

THURSDAY, March 29
The Big Bang Theory — 8 p.m., CBS

Leonard Nimoy lends his voice to a historic episode of Big Bang, after the gift of a Star Trek toy from Penny (Kaley Cuoco) plunges Sheldon (Jim Parsons) into a geeky moral conundrum.

FRIDAY, March 30
Mirror MirrorWrath of the Titans, and Bully open in theaters

The first of 2012’s Snow White films — this is the one with Julia Roberts as the evil queen, actual little person actors playing the seven dwarfs, and a candy-colored, family-friendy comedy vibe to the proceedings — goes up against the manly sequel-no-one-really-asked-for-but-somehow-I’m-still-keen-on-seeing-it Wrath of the Titans. But if you’re kinda over big budget spectacle for now thanks to The Hunger Games, might we suggest taking a teenager to see the controversially R-rated documentary Bully instead?

SATURDAY, March 31
Kids’ Choice Awards — 8 p.m., Nickelodeon

Remember Will Smith? He was the Biggest Movie Star on the Planet, and then he made a small, dour drama few people saw (Seven Pounds) — well, for a Will Smith movie, anyway. He’s been mostly M.I.A. for the last four years, content to work behind the scenes on turning his kids Jaden and Willow into superstars as well. But that all changes when the star of this summer’s Men in Black 3 hosts the 25th annual argument for including sliming in all awards shows.

SUNDAY, April 1
The Killing and Game of Thrones season premieres — 8 p.m., AMC; 9 p.m., HBO

The former captivated audiences right out of the gate, only to sour many fans with a season finale that stubbornly refused to reveal who killed Rosie Larsen. The latter turned off some viewers with its slow-going opening episodes, but by the end had built up a large and rabid following thanks to some terrifically daring and assured hours of television. Can The Killing win you back? Can Game of Thrones keep that momentum going? There’s only one way to find out.

Read more:
‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner gives you character-by-character teases for season 5… with a twist
What TV do you watch on Sunday nights, and when do you watch it? — VIDEO
‘Game of Thrones': 25 new pics

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