RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,959
Posts: 5,391,519
Members: 24,722
Currently online: 432
Newest member: Jadakiss

TrekToday headlines

Forbes Cast In Powers
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

Dorn To Voice Firefly Character
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

No ALS Ice Bucket For Saldana
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

Free Star Trek Trexels Game
By: T'Bonz on Aug 22

New Trek-themed Bobble Heads
By: T'Bonz on Aug 21

IDW Publishing November Trek Comic
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Pegg/Wright Trilogy In The Works
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Star Trek: The Compendium Rebate Details
By: T'Bonz on Aug 20

Gold Key Archives Volume 2
By: T'Bonz on Aug 19

Takei Documentary Wins Award
By: T'Bonz on Aug 19


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > TV & Media

TV & Media Non-Trek television, movies, books, music, etc.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old June 25 2010, 05:20 PM   #1
Kegg
Rear Admiral
 
Kegg's Avatar
 
Location: Ireland.
The Sopranos (Complete Series Spoilers Herein)

Well, during my regular unplanned sabbatical from the TrekBBS, one of the many things I did was watch the entire series of the Sopranos on DVDs that had been graciously lent to me for the duration.

It's really not easy to sit down and watch a series after being told repeatedly it was one of the best series ever made; and I had wondered if the Sopranos' popularity was based more on the influx of serious-minded cable dramas that resulted from the show. But hey, I loved Mad Men, so it was worth a shot.

Alas; no amount of hype could really obscure the inescapable conclusion that the Sopranos really is as good as it's marketed to be; and perhaps even better. I have very little actual criticism of the series. Well, I still feel it could have benefited from more Hesh Rabkin; it dropped the ball on Meadow Soprano more then once - with her relationship with her crazed roomate and later Finn being tidily resolved offscreen (in the former case, years later).

The show also always seemed uncertain as to what it wanted to do with Dr. Melfi as a character - after futzing around in the first season ineffectually about her personal life, giving her a shrink to reverse her dynamic with Tony (played by Bogdanovich, a nice touch) was about the only thing that worked with her. Getting her raped almost seemed to be more about running out of ideas then anything else; her termination of her relationship with Tony wasn't entirely satisfactory (yes, a paper suggested it was a bad idea, but she'd been treating him for seven years with an apparent belief that it included progress; does she so readily discount her own opinon?) Anyway, it was interesting to me how the show - which initially made her such a major part - wound up devoting far more time to the role Bracco turned down, Carmella Soprano.

Oh, yes, Carmella Soprano. I haven't thought long and hard about who my favourite female characters on TV are (for various reasons, sadly, it'd be a short list) but Carmella would definitely make and very likely top such a list. Absolutely fantastic, memorable character from year to year; with her blithe wrestling wtih Catholic morality and respectable sense of suburban ways. When her husband is pulled over for a parking ticket that she observes the cops should be spending more time trying to get the real criminals is a priceless moment.

Women in other mob dramas can be invisible - Michael Corleone's mother exists literally as a plot point in his souring relationship with Fredo - but Livia Soprano was riveting viewing for her time on the show. I like observing that Nancy Marchand once played Frasier Crane's mother on an episode of Cheers; where she is a dominating, domineering woman who pulls a gun on Diane when trying to manipulate her. A connection? Probably not, but I'd like to think so.

In general, though, this show just had an excellent supporting cast; and a mostly consistent level of quality writing year in, year out. But whatever, cast-wise Gandolfini... well. He inverts my expectations rather tidily. After Godfathers and Goodfellas, one almost expects the protagonist in a mob drama to a slim, handsome man; perhaps with a patrician air - as Michael at least did. In stead we get a slovenly nouveau riche-type who is also by far one of the most consistently compelling and downright entertaining characters I've seen on TV.

Oh, and I liked the ending. It was a slap in the face, sure, but AJ's line that harkens back to the way the final scene from the first season makes it feel like a tidy bookend.

Bottom line; it's a fun, addictive ride and I'll miss it now.

Best TV show ever made? If not, then 'one of the'.
__________________
'Spock is always right, even when he's wrong. It's the tone of voice, the supernatural reasonability; this is not a man like us; this is a god.'
- Philip K. Dick

Last edited by Kegg; June 25 2010 at 05:54 PM.
Kegg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25 2010, 05:43 PM   #2
Goliath
Vice Admiral
 
Goliath's Avatar
 
Location: The Fifth Dimension
Re: The Sopranos (Complete Series Spoilers Herein)

Funny--I did much the same thing recently. Except I bought the DVDs instead of borrowing them. And I had the misfortune to watch them while I was sick, and at home, recovering from first the flu, then pneumonia.

Maybe it was my depressed physical state, but while I thought the show was every bit as good as you say, I also found it dispiritingly nihilistic. In the end, as Livia said, it was all a big nothing.

When I watch it again, I plan to pace myself, and spend a little time outdoors in the sun between seasons. I think I'll enjoy it more that way.
__________________
An illusion--with intelligence! A malignant vision, with a will of pure evil!
Goliath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 25 2010, 05:49 PM   #3
Kegg
Rear Admiral
 
Kegg's Avatar
 
Location: Ireland.
Re: The Sopranos (Complete Series Spoilers Herein)

Camelopard wrote: View Post
Maybe it was my depressed physical state, but while I thought the show was every bit as good as you say, I also found it dispiritingly nihilistic. In the end, as Livia said, it was all a big nothing.
I wouldn't disagree with that, I just didn't have a problem with it either. I guess I'm just fundamentally a very pessimistic person as far as good goes to the point it doesn't make me bat an eye.

I guess the only time it bothered me, oddly enough, was the meek and generally morally conscious Finn finding himself first working for gangsters and then literally ratting out a man for being gay. He has the common sense to realise that this is wrong, but... well, that's about it.
__________________
'Spock is always right, even when he's wrong. It's the tone of voice, the supernatural reasonability; this is not a man like us; this is a god.'
- Philip K. Dick
Kegg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26 2010, 12:07 AM   #4
Yoda
Rear Admiral
 
Yoda's Avatar
 
Location: San Diego
Re: The Sopranos (Complete Series Spoilers Herein)

I watched the show a few years ago from start to finish, probably not long after it ended its run... and I didn't really enjoy it. The first season or two was decent, but then the quality dropped off and never recovered. There wasn't really one likable character for me in the bunch. Tony was an unlikable asshole, his wife was a shrill bitch, his children were annoying spoiled fuckwits, the Melfi psychobabble was grating. That one late season episode that took place entirely in Tony's head or whatever was one of the worst episodes of anything that I've ever watched, but then again I usually find trying to depict someone's dreams, subconsciousness, or "the character must ESCAPE HIS OWN MIND AND FEARS" episodes to be completely tedious.

Of all the supposedly great TV Shows/Movies, The Sopranos is probably the one I just "don't get", the most. And typically I really like the Italian Mob type stories.
__________________
Yoda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26 2010, 01:55 AM   #5
TheGodBen
Rear Admiral
 
TheGodBen's Avatar
 
Location: Ireland
Re: The Sopranos (Complete Series Spoilers Herein)

It's one of my favourite shows; great writing, great direction, great acting and... well, it was great in most ways. I jumped into it in season 5 and got the DVDs to watch the whole show before the final season aired. (And by final season I'm referring to the final 9 episodes.) Just yesterday I rewatched the scene where Tony, Silvio and Paulie take Big Pussy on a boat ride... fantastic stuff.

Kegg wrote: View Post
The show also always seemed uncertain as to what it wanted to do with Dr. Melfi as a character - after futzing around in the first season ineffectually about her personal life, giving her a shrink to reverse her dynamic with Tony (played by Bogdanovich, a nice touch) was about the only thing that worked with her. Getting her raped almost seemed to be more about running out of ideas then anything else; her termination of her relationship with Tony wasn't entirely satisfactory (yes, a paper suggested it was a bad idea, but she'd been treating him for seven years with an apparent belief that it included progress; does she so readily discount her own opinon?) Anyway, it was interesting to me how the show - which initially made her such a major part - wound up devoting far more time to the role Bracco turned down, Carmella Soprano.
I don't think Dr Melfi dumped Tony based purely on the results of that one paper, but reading the paper made her realise that Tony really hadn't been making progress and she saw him exhibiting all the negative traits that the paper suggested he would. Subconsciously, Melfi didn't really think that she was helping Tony, she kept him around because she liked him and she got some level of perverse pleasure from delving into the mind of a sociopath. Also, after she was raped she almost felt like she needed him around because he helped her feel empowered. Once she read the paper, realised the truth about Tony, and thus the truth about herself, she felt that she had no option but to dump him for her own sake.

At least, I think that's what the show was going for. In the real world the way that Melfi dumped Tony was criticised by psychoanalysts, including one of the authors of the paper she read, although he admits that he never saw the show therefore he wouldn't have understood the deeper meaning that I've pulled out of my ass to explain it.

Women in other mob dramas can be invisible - Michael Corleone's mother exists literally as a plot point in his souring relationship with Fredo - but Livia Soprano was riveting viewing for her time on the show. I like observing that Nancy Marchand once played Frasier Crane's mother on an episode of Cheers; where she is a dominating, domineering woman who pulls a gun on Diane when trying to manipulate her. A connection? Probably not, but I'd like to think so.
Livia was amazing in the first season, the story about her plotting to kill Tony because he put her in a nursing home was one of the best in the show, if not the best. Sadly, in season 2 she didn't do much, she was just kinda there, which was necessary given the way season 1 ended, but definitely a step down for her character. They were planning a story in the third season where she was going to testify against Tony in the trial about the stolen airline tickets, but Nancy Marchand died and they had the throw together a CG Livia for one scene. It's one of the weirdest sights in the whole show.

In general, though, this show just had an excellent supporting cast; and a mostly consistent level of quality writing year in, year out. But whatever, cast-wise Gandolfini... well. He inverts my expectations rather tidily. After Godfathers and Goodfellas, one almost expects the protagonist in a mob drama to a slim, handsome man; perhaps with a patrician air - as Michael at least did. In stead we get a slovenly nouveau riche-type who is also by far one of the most consistently compelling and downright entertaining characters I've seen on TV.
Absolutely, Gandolfini made that show what it is. They were considering hiring David Proval (Richie Aprile) for the role, and whenever I try to visualise him as Tony I just can't see it. Gandolfini could be visceral and animal-like, then in the next scene he could be crying about some ducks, and you never doubted that it was the same character.

Yoda wrote: View Post
That one late season episode that took place entirely in Tony's head or whatever was one of the worst episodes of anything that I've ever watched, but then again I usually find trying to depict someone's dreams, subconsciousness, or "the character must ESCAPE HIS OWN MIND AND FEARS" episodes to be completely tedious.
I'd normally agree, when most shows try to depict a dream they never capture it right, but I found that The Sopranos captured what my dreams are like almost perfectly. One scene bleeds into another, characters will change seemingly at random, you'll see a butterfly on someone's head for no reason that you can discern. Perhaps not everyone's dreams are the same, but The Sopranos came the closest to what I experience in my dreams of any show I've ever seen.
__________________
...so many different suns...
TheGodBen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26 2010, 07:30 AM   #6
Kegg
Rear Admiral
 
Kegg's Avatar
 
Location: Ireland.
Re: The Sopranos (Complete Series Spoilers Herein)

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
I don't think Dr Melfi dumped Tony based purely on the results of that one paper, but reading the paper made her realise that Tony really hadn't been making progress and she saw him exhibiting all the negative traits that the paper suggested he would.
I just didn't think that's the case, as we'd see Melfi sincerely and repeatedly state she'd made some progress with Tony... and she had the benefit of being right. She did actually make meaningful headway in his depression, dealing with his mother and panic attacks. Granted, most of this was early in the series, but then narratively they were spinning their wheels with Melfi as a device for years in the latter part of the series (by this point she just exists for the occasional soundboard scene with Tony.)

But then, Bogdavonich's character's cavalier change of heart based on the paper also irked me. He was basically the guy who strongly implied that in turning down Tony she was shirking her duty to do serious psychiatry work.

Eh. You can explain it, sure (the other shrink's attitude to boot), but generally it didn't sit well with me.
Livia was amazing in the first season, the story about her plotting to kill Tony because he put her in a nursing home was one of the best in the show, if not the best. Sadly, in season 2 she didn't do much, she was just kinda there, which was necessary given the way season 1 ended, but definitely a step down for her character.
That's true, and it was a problem I had also with, well, season six. It made sense for the show to completely sideline Junior Soprano at that point (he had like, what, one episode of note in the entire extended sixth season?), but it also sort of sucked to completely sideline Junior Soprano.
[quote]but Nancy Marchand died and they had the throw together a CG Livia for one scene. It's one of the weirdest sights in the whole show.
Yeah that was... abrupt. I knew Nancy Marchand had passed on in real life (because if she hadn't, of course, she would have inevitably shown up in a dream sequence
Absolutely, Gandolfini made that show what it is. They were considering hiring David Proval (Richie Aprile) for the role, and whenever I try to visualise him as Tony I just can't see it.
I think Van Zandt, aka Silvio Dante, was also up for the role. I could see either actor as Tony Soprano pretty well, actually... they'd just be far more stereotypical choices for a mob boss leader; either one has a sort of Al Pacino for TV look (Van Zandt to the point it's Sil's running joke.)

Yoda wrote: View Post
That one late season episode that took place entirely in Tony's head or whatever was one of the worst episodes of anything that I've ever watched,
Thing is I can offhand think of two episodes like that. There's the one in season five with the lengthy dream about Tony Blundetto, with Tony's foreknowledge his cousin is going to do some serious crap egging at him the whole time (with Annette Benning and his high school coach, brilliant), which I loved and considered one of the show's best use of dream imagery; and then there's the episode with a major arc with Tony Soprano living the life of a respectable salesman stuck in a hotel... which, actually, as a nagging alternate-world 'respectable' Tony was pretty interesting too.
__________________
'Spock is always right, even when he's wrong. It's the tone of voice, the supernatural reasonability; this is not a man like us; this is a god.'
- Philip K. Dick
Kegg is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:42 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.