Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ten Favorite TV Shows Pt. 5: The Sopranos

A startling reflection of the modern American family. Its praises have been sung in countless circles. The one major problem I have with The Sopranos, & one I have with a myriad of TV shows is just how long it was given to run. Granted, the long list of secondary characters- Bobby Bacalieri, Phil Leotardo, Johnny Sack, etc. were given further development. The near existentialism of the first half of Season Six was very welcome. Though, it seemed to run out of steam when looked at in context of the entire show. That still caused Chase to leave room for unnecessary plotlines (ex: Vito Spatafore & the head scratching inclusion of what happened to his son in the last season.)

Now the big thing people have complained about since it aired is of course, the finale. I won't spoil it for those who have yet to wade through this series. Regardless, it works. & very well, I might add. The gangster genre, even traced back all the way to the 30's with Scarface & Public Enemy, has a clear cut message to it. Crime doesn't pay is the message that is always left on our doorsteps with a bowl of egg noodles and ketchup. The triumph of the Sopranos is showing just how damaged the way of American life actually is. This, made all the more chilling by the way David Chase chose how to end the series.

Favorite episodes: Long Term Parking, Whitecaps, Pine Barrens, College, Funhouse, Army of One, Whoever Did This, Join the Club

Favorite characters:
Christopher Moltisanti- Chris once ironically complained about his 'arc' when writing a script in Season One. Out of all the characters on the show, his character arc may be the most interesting. By the ending of Season 2's episode D-Girl, I felt this. By Season 5's episodes (Irregular Around the Margins & Long Term Parking) it was set in stone. In many ways, the 'Jesse Pinkman' of the series.

Paulie Walnuts- Always the comic relief. Probably the most self centered characters on the show (which is saying a hell of a lot).

Most effective villian: Ralph Cifaretto. Sure Richie Aprile & Phil Leotardo have made their impressions. Joe Pantoliano's Cifaretto on the other hand just makes you want to squirm in your seat. (think Cesar from Bound and go even further.) True sleaze that is exemplified in a horrific scene in the intensely dark season 3.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ten Favorite TV Shows Pt. 4: Breaking Bad

Favorite character: Walter White
Favorite episodes: Fly, One Minute, ABQ, Grilled

OK. So it might be a little early to proclaim this a top 10. & in all likeliness, if it continues down its current path on a consistent basis, this could even rank higher. For now, it secures a 7 spot. It may not be as ambitious as some of the other shows on the list. Its strengths however lie in its characterizations and ability to create palpable tension and mix it with jet black humor.