Tuesday, 12 June 2007

A Comment To Mark The End Of The Sopranos

OK, so I'll have to wait till the inevitable DVD Box set to find out what actually happens, but I gather The Sopranos ending managed to upset one or two.


There's does seem to be a lot of talk about David Chase subverting expectations and deliberately trying to make Tony unlovely (he's a murdering psychopath mob boss, what's not to love) and how some stories never went anywhere (whatever happened to that Russian in "Pine Barrens").

There's plenty of talk about which season was the best and whether it went downhill some time around season 3. Much like Buffy fans where you can get posts on Usenet that just read "2,3,5,1,4,7,6" or somesuch as if that ranking was definitive and, well, actually meant anything. Lost, in particular, both suffers from and is beholden to Internet led nit-picking and clue hunting as well as unending declarations of how it's just not making any sense anymore.

It seems that now that viewers expect season long "arc" stories they also expect them to make sense the moment they spot them, citing the X-Files and how they'd followed all that and they never really had someone come in and explain it all for the slow-watchers in the cheap seats. And while I feel their pain, they also had it in for Doggett from the very beginning whereas Robert Patrick was actually doing some sterling work.

But it's the nit-picking that can be too much. I like and dislike individual episodes of, say, Sopranos, Lost and Buffy, there's a larger story that's holding the smaller stories together (to a greater of lesser extent). You hope the larger story will get told but I'm not sure it's as important as the emotional impact of any single episode. I'm not sure The Sopranos told a consistent, coherent story from beginning to end, but what saga of two families would? Then again the audience could be willfull in misunderstanding what exactly was going on. I seem to remember large numbers of fans getting upset because Chris punched Lauren Bacall in the face, as if this was a step too far for the loveable murdering drug addict.

So, it's over and it seems that David Chase had no intention whatsoever of wrapping it all up neatly and putting a little bow on it. How could it be any other way?

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