Tuesday, 26 October 2010

MY HIT LIST # 34 The Sopranos

What can one say about The Sopranos?
Having just watched all 5 seasons of the Wire for the second time I am embarking on my third viewing of the Sopranos season1-6. This post is not going to be about making comparisons between these two exemplary pieces of Television but more of a reminder of how good the Sopranos was/is.

To talk about the story is not for here and now, it’s the unravelling of the intricacies of Tony’s life and the small moments that always lead to large repercussions both physically and emotionally. For me the strength is in the ‘less is more’ quality in the writing, staging and acting. In amongst the larger gestures and violence are the subtleties and nuance.

An example is in Season 3 episode 4 Employee Of the Month in which Dr Melfi is raped and is tempted to tell Tony what happened, her temptation to see her rapist punished is tempered by not wishing to involve herself in Tony's world. During her second session with Tony after the rape, Melfi is overcome by her inner conflict and breaks down. When Tony attempts to console her and asks "Do you want to say something?” the pause is filled with power, but she regains her composure and responds, "No."
The dynamics of relationships also have humour to offset intensity. In season 3 episode 11 The Pine Barrens Paulie and Christopher’s bungled interaction with Valery, an utter hard nut, leaves them stranded Blair Witch like in the Pine Barrens. There anger and frustration makes them turn on each other with some hilarious moments of conflict.
In Live Free or Die, Season 6 Episode 6, Vito Spatafore is on the lam in New Hampshire and sees a dream of what life outside ‘our thing’ could be like but we know that he is destined never to have this normal life. The moment he was outed as being gay he was doomed.

Many great moments, many truly wonderful characters aside from the main protagonists; Ralph, Big Pussy, Adriana, Artie, Johnny Sack, Richie, Hesh, Silvio the list goes on.

A number of great cameos from Steve Buscemi, Burt Young, Peter Bogdanovich, Frankie Valli, Ben Kingsley, Lauren Bacall among others.

The Sopranos is so good it actually makes the mind boggle as to how all the elements came together and worked perfectly. Fate or determination to succeed on the part of the production team. Great writing great cast and a real understanding of the life is what sets The Sopranos right at the plateau of excellent US TV Drama.

Episode 1 season 1 is about to go in the DVD player;
“Woke up this morning got myself a gun…”

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having said that;