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Watch the 'Mad Men' pilot episode... for free!

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Whether you’re part of the rabid pack of fans who made Mad Men a cult favorite last summer, or if you’re still wondering what the heck all the hype is about, this blog post is for you. Indeed, with the show’s second-season premiere approaching (July 27, to be specific), AMC is streaming the season 1 pilot episode — which is under consideration as one of 10 semifinalists for a 2008 Emmy nomination in the Best Drama category — as part of its $25 million promotional campaign to transform its flagship series into a bona fide hit.

As you’ll see from the episode (embedded below), the series, which depicts the lives and loves of a group of ad-agency execs in the early 1960s, has captivated fans because of its fastidious attention to period detail, its accurate representation of the overtly manly culture inherent in workplaces less than 50 years ago, and its crystallization of 1960 as a moment on the cusp of vast social changes beyond the imagination of any of the characters. These include the firm’s talented but drifting executive, Don Draper (Jon Hamm); his troubled wife, Betty (January Jones); the firm’s office manager and sexy femme fatale, Joan (Christina Hendricks); and green account manager Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser).

For more on Mad Men, click here and read Missy Schwartz’s recent cover story, then let us know your hopes and expectations for the show in season 2. Until then, press play and enjoy!