Wednesday, 6 June 2007

My hero, the villian

I don’t want to go on about this, but the other day I thought about the dog’s little face, and was almost brought to tears. Don’t worry though, this isn’t another dog posting, instead it segways nicely into Tony Soprano – another big man who often thinks about animals, and often is brought close to tears (or panic attacks) when he does.

I’ve been a loyal (when channel 4 allowed me to be) follower of what I believe to be the most amazing and powerful television show ever. HBO has the motto of something like ‘It’s not television’ – the implication being that its shows somehow transcend the medium. The Sopranos should have the motto ‘we broke television’, because quite frankly, nothing looks good enough up against it. Which is a problem. This Sunday coming is the final ever episode of the series. Season six, which was split into two chunks, is winding down, and bringing the whole epic drama to a close in what has been a beautifully crafted fashion.

One of the biggest strengths of the show is the powerful performance by James Gandolfini as Anthony Soprano. The programme is peppered with pitch perfect supporting performances, but, partly through the strong writing, partly the great acting, Gandolfini has managed to string the audience along by making us care about a loathsome, sociopathic bully. Sympathy born through the slight of hand of the hope of never-coming redemption and also by the distraction of having even worse foils to Tony.

The villains of the show, in a show full of less than heroic heroes and villains, tend to be so nasty as to appear evil compared to Tony himself. Again, a compliment to the support. The antagonists seem to come at Tony from all sides until you almost feel sorry for him, then just as your guard is down, he’ll commit an act so petty and nasty, that you wonder why you cared – just as this passes through your mind you are sucker punched by the next bastard who makes Tony look like an exacerbated business man surrounded by inept colleagues. And so it goes.

I’ll miss Sopranos – although I do have the bonus of having a few friends that haven’t seen it that I can watch it with from the start. Already I have some other shows lined up to try and fill the sizable hole, but nothing will compare for a while. Some Internet sites that I have looked at have been frantically trying to second-guess the outcome of the finale, but this misses the point – it will end how it will end, and it’s been a fantastic journey getting there.

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