"Set in New York City, Mad Men takes place in 1960s at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on New York City's Madison Avenue and centres on Don Draper, a high-level advertising executive, and the people in his life in and out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of early 1960s America." Wikipedia
Last summer's Army Wives has started on Living which is a solid quality genre show but I usually multi-tasked while watching it. Last summer's Mad Men just forces you to stop chatting or blogging and pay attention. With the former the attraction is seeing how cleverly they hit all the expected genre beats, with the latter the attraction is not having a clue what the hell they are going to do.
This quote from the Chicago Trib explains it better than I can:
"As Weiner learned from Chase and demonstrates so beautifully on “Mad Men,” what makes us sit up and take notice are those moments when preconceptions are subverted with compelling plot twists or digressions that delve into unexpected emotional territory."
The characters have psychological truth and depth and complexity. They are clearly a product of their time, just as we are of ours. While the dramatic irony is frequently hilarious it's never overplayed and annoying as other recent period dramas have been.
Interestingly the pilot for this is what got Weiner the gig on The Sopranos and lay in a drawer for seven years until an opportunity to sell it to the emerging drama powerhouse AMC arose. (Look out for their other quality drama Breaking Bad on FX).
This import is very highly recommended and not to be missed.