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Must List: Week of August 16, 2009

”Mad Men” returns, ”The Simpsons” season 12 on DVD, a new Radiohead single, and 12 more pop culture gems YOU and the EW staff love this week

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Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

TV
MAD MEN season 3 premiere
Babies, affairs, and office politics — it’s all been so complicated. But the Emmy-winning series returns to AMC with a (deceptively) simple question: Just who is Don Draper? Jon Hamm, take it away.

MOVIES
DISTRICT 9
Message films don’t often become blockbusters, but this Peter Jackson production is an apartheid allegory and a kick-ass summer action flick. With aliens living in inhumane ghettos, it’s the humans who end up turning into real beasts.

DVD
THE SIMPSONS season 12
C’mon, you remember which brilliant season this was! The one where Homer goes on a hunger strike when the Isotopes threaten to leave town, a crayon pulled out of Homer’s brain transforms him into a genius, and the Who bring Springfield together after a new area code rips it apart. Plus, the discs serve up tons of commentary, and Easter eggs actually worth the hunt.

TV
FLIPPING OUT on Bravo
You never know, the new assistant on this reality series might keep Jeff from spazzing that he can’t flip houses in a down market. Or not. Probably not.

BOOKS
HELL IS OTHER PARENTS, by Deborah Copaken Kogan
The former war photojournalist (author of Shutterbabe) delivers funny, surprisingly riveting ”tales of maternal combustion” in this book of collected essays.

MOVIES
PONYO
Hey, Miyazaki fans, see the latest film from the exuberant animation genius behind 2002’s Spirited Away! Hey, folks who don’t know from anime, this Hans Christian Andersen-inspired fable is about a fish who turns into a girl who is crazy about a little boy…and ham! Yeah, that’s right, ham.

MUSIC
”HARRY PATCH (IN MEMORY OF),” Radiohead
Harry Patch’s service ended nearly a century ago, but the last British WWI soldier (who died in July) lives on in this evocative single by a band with its heart and its wallet (all proceeds go to charity) in the right place.

DVD
THE FRENCH CHEF WITH JULIA CHILD
If Julie & Julia inspired you to get cooking, consider this source: DVDs of the classic PBS series, complete with all the endearing goofs and spills that modern-day TV chefs wouldn’t dream of airing. Bon appétit!

MOVIES
”CINEMASH” SHORTS
Can you picture Will Arnett as the titular prom queen in Carrie, or Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Training Day? They can! Stars act out their dream roles in absurdly comic low-budget short films at movies.msn.com/cinemash.

READER’S CHOICE: TV
MERRITT WEVER on Nurse Jackie
As the naive, perky newbie to Edie Falco’s grizzled, bitter veteran RN, Wever is the perfect dose of comic relief on the Showtime dramedy about a New York City hospital that desperately needs a bedpan-half-full kind of optimist like Zoey. —Submitted by Jake

READER’S CHOICE: MOVIES
ADAM
”As an individual with Asperger’s, I’m excited about Adam, as it is the first film to accurately depict what it’s like to live with the syndrome — and what’s more, it’s actually, y’know, good.” —Daniel

READER’S CHOICE: DVD
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: The Complete Series
”It should go without saying, but this show was tremendous. It touched on so many relevant topics and touched so many hearts. It is a shame the Emmys have ignored it.” —Kaitlyn

READER’S CHOICE: MUSIC
”FIREFLIES,” Owl City
”You can’t help but feel the positive energy radiating from Adam Young’s lyrics about receiving ‘a hug from ten thousand lightning bugs.’ It reminds me of the summer nights of childhood.” —Manny

READER’S CHOICE: MOVIES
CHARLENE YI in Paper Heart
”I thought Charlene Yi was endearing in Paper Heart. Her film was refreshing in its take on modern ‘romance,’ or whatever it is we do in trying to find someone to love. I hope we see more of her in the future!” —Patrik

READER’S CHOICE: INTERNET
THE 5 LIVES OF CRISS ANGEL game
”I’ve never been a magic fan, but I’m a huge Criss Angel fan, and finally Mindfreak is back on! I have to admit, the awesome game on the show’s web site using augmented reality blows your mind.” —Larry