SOPRANOS AND TV
I thought the Sopranos finale was just fine. I didn't like the first half of this last season that ran in the winter of 2006, but these last 10 episodes were solid like the early days. I think people are disappointed with finale episodes because they want to think that they invested all that time for some important season that will eventually be revealed. But TV isn't about resolution. It's like the old movie serials with better production values. They tell novel writers or screenwriters that you have to know your ending up front. No one ever suggests that to a TV writer.
We were discussing the Sopranos at work and I mentioned that finale episodes are still somewhat rare. The old David Jansen FUGITIVE was probably the first event finale. Mary Tyler Moore did one. MASH was the first one I watched at the time. One of the guys said that the MASH finale sucked and another guy agreed. The last 5 years of MASH sucked really. The show went south after Trapper left and Alan Alda took over as producer and comedy was replaced by too many poignant episodes. But the finale was about as good as you could expect. The war ended. There were some ridiculous subplots but the ending was true to the pathetic mess the show had become.
Seinfeld took a lot of criticism too for its ending. Did they want to see Jerry and Elaine get married? George and Elaine? The show was about nothing and except for that George/Susan engagement it had few running story lines. Why not put them in jail. The idea of them sitting there talking about nonsense for a year seems about right.
I all but stopped watching episodic TV as a regular thing after the first season of NYPD Blue. John got me onto it and I still remember it fondly. By the second season, Caruso was gone, the show became about Dennis Franz and his drinking problem and it just got easier to ignore. I have no patience for commercial breaks and I hate waiting until the next week to find out what happens. And how do you start watching anything new? Early episdoes are usually tough because it's either all exposition that wears it down or too little exposition to get an idea of what its about. If you start watching the show 6 or 7 episodes in, you feel like you missed something.
I remember reading good things about the Sopranos before it debuted and even sat down and watched the first episode the week it aired. I grew bored with characters I didn't know and got up and did something else. I finally saw Season 1 four years later courtesy of Netflix. It was perfect. I could watch as many episodes as I liked one after the other. After that we started renting THE SHIELD, DEADWOOD, THE OFFICE and SEX AND THE CITY. I found that I liked TV much better like that.
I still haven't seen an episode of 24, but we're going to tackle it after we finish BAND OF BROTHERS (refresher for me, new to Trish). It's almost like I don't want to watch anything from the middle anymore. If it's good we'll see it later on DVD otherwise forget it. I'm not about to start watching HEROES or LOST until there is a consensus as to whether they're worth it for a couple of seasons.
For some crazy reason Netflix suggested FELICITY based on my renting of TV shows. It didn't read like something that I would like. Smart quiet girl goes chasing the popular boy from her high school across country even though he hardly knows her name. Still I have learned that nearly any subject matter is worth watching or reading if the topic is handled well enough. I groaned when Trish wanted to rent SEX AND THE CITY and then after 4 or 5 episodes the style and wit grew on me. My favorite example of enjoying something despite the subject matter is the book REMAINS OF THE DAY. The story of a WWII era butler and his efforts to be the best servant possible doesn't seem like much, but it is a remarkable book and movie. FELICITY though was what I expected, typical TV fare geared towards teenage girls. Maybe SEX AND THE CITY skewed my cyber tastes according to Netflix.
What have you all been watching the last few years?