Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I have't seen "The Sopranos" since its third or fourth season. I don't remember which, since each season is more or less the same - keep the major players alive, and pick off the supporting cast one at a time. Or even better, just kill off the special guest star (Joe Pantoliano, Steve Buscemi) who didn't appear to be there for any other purpose. The show's been such a cash cow (or whatever it is that HBO wants from it) that David Chase has been unwilling to pull the plug, keeping its increasingly cartoonish cast of characters on life support at the expense of its once taut and compelling storyline. "Ok, just two more seasons. Alright, five. No, six!"

Maybe I'm wrong, and the last few seasons have been great. All I know is that the show hasn't been on the air for something like 2 years, and the new season hasn't started yet, but I'm already sick and tired of the same old boring names and faces cropping up in fawning, breathless preview pieces and ads.

I know, I know - "But how will it all end?" ask the fans. Simple. Some people will die, others will go to jail, others will get away. Could it go any other direction? And could anyone really care at this point, long after the once emotionally and psychologically complicated series has burned through or worn down every last unique tick or trick?

Besides, nothing this show has done has come close to the brilliance of the first two "Godfather" films, or the entertainment value of "GoodFellas." It's become self-consciously iconic, both on its own terms and culturally, which leaves it little more than a middlebrow pretender. Unlike, say, "Deadwood," which my sister turned me on to and which has found a completely cliche-free way to deconstruct another American icon, the Western. And as everyone knows, great westerns beat gangster tales any day.


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