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Thread: Last season of the Sopranos

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Last season of the Sopranos

    NEW YORK — The Sopranos unfolds its sixth season March 12 after the show's longest break yet: an interminable 21 months. But while fans are undoubtedly excited, TV's favorite New Jersey Mob family is down in the dumps.


    The arrest of New York rival Johnny "Sack" Sacramoni, now seen in an orange prison jumpsuit, has upended the Soprano family. It renews simmering tensions between the clans and turns up the heat as the feds seem to close in.

    Each season has its own recurring theme. This one is "dissatisfaction with one's life, failed expectations," says Michael Imperioli, who plays Tony's cousin Christopher.

    "I think it's darker," says Lorraine Bracco, whose Dr. Melfi knows a thing or two about diagnoses. "I don't think it's desperation, but it's despair."

    "They're on edge, disquieted, off balance," says creator David Chase, philosophically mulling. "What a short time we're on this Earth." Johnny's dire straits weigh heavily on Tony: "It affects him a lot. He only has to look at his friend across the river to see one version of his future."

    It all adds gravitas to what producer (and Paramount Pictures chairman) Brad Grey calls "our best season, elegantly written and very rich."

    The series wraps production on its 12-episode season just as it returns to HBO March 12 (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT).

    After a few months off, actors return in June to film eight final "bonus" episodes, due next January. Chase says he agreed to extend the series when he couldn't fit two important plots into the upcoming batch. But he's sticking with his original plan for how to end it, which he conceived more than two years ago.

    TV cut to Chase's style
    Slight, pale and balding, Chase, 60, is a veteran TV writer/producer best known for The Rockford Files. Like Tony Soprano, Chase is from New Jersey, had a troubled relationship with his mother and underwent psychotherapy. But the comparisons stop there.

    He hasn't yet made a feature film, but many critics say the HBO series has a filmlike quality that's unusual in television. It's full of nuance, silent moments and plotlines that don't tie together neatly.

    "All you have to do is watch the first minute and a half of the new season, and you know there's no other show like it," says HBO chairman Chris Albrecht, who brought the show - and its violent, profane texture - to pay television after Fox famously passed.





    Like most things Sopranos, the end is shrouded in secrecy: The show's stars say they have no clue about their own fates.

    "I will not give up any info," longtime director Tim Van Patten says. "My friends know better than to ask; omertà reigns supreme."

    Things kick into high gear with a momentous event near the end of the premiere. Look for major story lines involving Soprano son A.J. (Robert Iler), who gets a job, and Mob lieutenant Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri, who has "two very big personal issues that he deals with this year that are monumental," actor Tony Sirico says.

    Bracco says she, too, has more screen time, "which I'm happy about, but it's also fun because it means Tony's trying to work it out" with his longtime therapist.

    In the series' second overseas trip — following Season 2's sojourn to Italy — Carmela and Rosalie Aprile win a trip to Paris. And the wiseguys take center stage with plenty of maneuvering for position and influence.

    "There's a lot of jockeying going on, and that in itself should provoke a lot of fans' interest," Sirico says.

    Great attention to detail

    There was plenty of movement on five vast soundstages at Silvercup Studios here last month as Gandolfini, Edie Falco (Mob wife Carmela) and Iler filmed a tense family scene in the Soprano living room. The room is part of a meticulously crafted copy of a real suburban McMansion in North Caldwell, N.J., that was used in the series pilot. But this season, the series spent more time on location in New Jersey than ever before.

    Each episode takes about eight days to prepare and 15 to film, double the length of a typical network drama. The shoot is preceded by "tone meetings" with Chase, at which minutiae and an overall vibe to each episode are discussed. "It may not seem like it, but these are complicated story lines, so it takes a lot of work," Van Patten says. "Part of the success of the show is it's so detailed."

    Viewers may be forgiven if they're hazy on such details or exactly where the show left off in — wow — June 2004. (Tony and Carmela reconciled, Sack was arrested, Christopher's fiancée, Adriana, was whacked and cousin Tony Blundetto was blown away by Soprano, who spared him from torture.)

    "I don't remember where we left off, in a way," Gandolfini says. "The last hiatus was long, and it took a while to get back in" when shooting resumed in April.

    "I personally prefer a month and a half off and get back to work. You get into kind of a groove."

    Says Sirico, echoing the now-familiar complaints of viewers who are unaccustomed to such interminable breaks: "Coming back was wonderful. In terms of waiting to come back, it was horrible."

    Bracco says she and fellow castmates tired of answering the same question for fans: When? "We just wanted to get T-shirts that said, 'Shut up, already!' "

    But if history is any guide, most think the portrayal of a typical suburban family with a very atypical occupation is worth the wait. It's the most-watched series ever to air on cable; it averaged 9.8 million Sunday viewers for its fifth season and 11 million for its fourth. And it's one of TV's most acclaimed series, with multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards, including the best-drama Emmy in 2004.

    Befitting a show in its sixth season, characters have matured since the premiere in January 1999.

    Tony is now "a middle-aged man, and he's not immune to any of those changes that happen, both physical and psychological, and emotional," Chase says. (He does seem to have put on weight.)

    "Tony has mellowed a little bit, just out of necessity," Gandolfini says. "He was driving himself crazy, so he has calmed down."

    And just as he and Carmela have recovered from a stormy fifth season of marital discord, his relationship with protégé Christopher "is becoming more one of equals, which is probably good."

    "Christopher has matured," Imperioli says, to the point of ratting out his snitching fiancée. "I guess he sees himself more as an equal than he actually is with Tony. He has gotten closer to him in life experience, (where) there was much more of a generation gap" in earlier seasons.

    But the biggest changes this season are in Soprano offspring Meadow and A.J., who have grown up and are now more aware of their dad's Mob life, enjoying its perks and yet struggling to deal with it.

    "Neither one of those kids are kids anymore, and yet they're not prepared to be adults," Chase says.

    This season's guest stars include Julianna Margulies (ER), who plays a real estate agent named Julianna; Hal Holbrook as a former Bell Labs scientist who crosses paths with Tony; Ben Kingsley as himself; and Elizabeth Bracco (Lorraine's sister) as a wiseguy's wife. Also returning are Jerry Adler (Hesh), Tim Daly and Frankie Valli.

    Though he has changed his mind twice before, Chase insists this season really will be the last. He agreed to next winter's eight episodes — a pattern identical to the final year of Sex and the City - for creative reasons.

    "There were two story lines that were supposed to be in the final season that we never got to, we never had room for," he says. "One of them ties all the way back to the beginning of the show."

    Plans for what's next

    Chase is asked why he thinks fans are so passionate about the series. "I would wish it was because of the top writers, that it didn't make sense some of the time, it was well executed, and it was mysterious," he says. "Maybe The Sopranos is happening down the street."

    Although there is plenty of work to do, cast and crew already are thinking of life after the show. Gandolfini is still toying with playing Ernest Hemingway in a biopic, though he's finding it a long and difficult process to set up the project at a studio.

    Sirico hopes to play second fiddle in a sitcom "as somebody's Uncle Carmine, just out of the can. That would be fun."

    Imperioli is waiting for "whatever comes along" and says he doesn't necessarily favor movies over television.

    But Chase wants to make a feature film and is mulling ideas for a comedy or psychological thriller.

    Now that the final season is extended, a Sopranos movie is less likely, though the actors say they're game. Even Chase "couldn't rule out the fact that somebody might want to do a movie that takes place over one or two days in 2005, something that happened in the last Sopranos you never saw," as a stand-alone prequel to this season.

    Gandolfini has another idea: "I was hoping we'd do a Gilligan's Island dream. I'd be the captain, and I'd pin him with a hat all the time. Edie and Sharon (Angela, who plays Rosalie) can be Marianne and Ginger. The professor would be Stevie Van Zandt," aka Silvio Dante. And Steve R. Schirripa, who plays Tony's new brother-in-law Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri: "Thurston Howell."

    usatoday.com
    I love this show and am really excited to see the final seasons. I predict AJ gets into the family business, much to his mother's dismay--but Tony will be secretly pleased.

    Also, if a film is made, I think they should do it about when Tony was a kid. The flashbacks with his mother and father and the whole life in Newark back when he was young are brilliant and worthy of thier own story.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    No, they just have a long hiatus between each season, with this one being particularly long. But I am sure it will be worth the wait...this show is the greatest.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    About f-ing time already. I don't think 2 freaking years of hiatus was necessary--I understand there's a lot that goes into this show, and the creator is obviously an uber freak about it, but come on. We ditched HBO because this is the only show we watch on it...now my hubby refuses to get it again because he feels so used/abused by this long break.

    I want to watch though!!!

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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    omg I can't fucking wait!!!!
    They can't kill Tony cause he always comes out on top at the expense of everyone around him; thats the whole point/wonderful thing bout the show and did you see AJ's long hair; he's so fugly now! but his face is just like James Gandofini's so its funny...and am I the only one w/ a major crush on Johnny Sack???

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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    Yeah, something about Johnny Sack and his Satan-like presence is quite the turn-on. Actually, I've got a bit of crush on quite a few of them. Christopher at times, the guy who died taking a crap in Season 3, Furio (sp?)...they are grossly sexy at times and yes, even Tony can get me excited in a certain light.

    Now, I don't think they'll kill Tony, but I think he might be deposed as head of the family. I think Meadow might get killed or maybe AJ...something that will bring it all home to Tony. Remember, Meadow's fiancé Finn caught the fat guy blowing the security guard, so he isn't long for this world. Or maybe if Finn is bumped, Meadow will finally break for real with her father. Oh, the possibilities!!! I cannot fucking wait!!!
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    A*O
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    I LOVE this show. I have all the DVD's. I think Christopher might turn Super Witness after they wacked Adrianna. Maybe Meadow will take over as the Boss? There are a LOT of female mafiosi bosses in Italy. Or we will have happy ever after and Tony will elope with the shrink, and Carmella will go and track down Furio in Italy. I have a secret crush on dumb Pauli.
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    Elite Member calendargurl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    i've never seen one single episode of this show

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    Elite Member miss_perfect's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    Quote Originally Posted by AliceInWonderland
    omg I can't fucking wait!!!!
    They can't kill Tony cause he always comes out on top at the expense of everyone around him; thats the whole point/wonderful thing bout the show and did you see AJ's long hair; he's so fugly now! but his face is just like James Gandofini's so its funny...and am I the only one w/ a major crush on Johnny Sack???
    No way, you're not alone. I always root for the bad guy and I love Johnny Sack. I thought it was sweet when he flipped out on Ralph making the fat comment about his wife.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    oh yes the guy who died taking a crap on the pot; he was hot

    & Bill Maher rules!!!!

    Clinton/Maher 08' for president!!!!

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    Quote Originally Posted by calendargurl
    i've never seen one single episode of this show


    If you get the chance, rent the Season 1, see if you like it, then rent the other seasons. It will suck you in.....it's not the mafia story you are probably thinking it is. It's very different....
    Definitely a great show. I don't know a single person who doesn't think it's awesome. It's just NEVER on, and when it is, it's only like 7 episodes than it disappears for 2 yrs. But it almost doesn't matter....

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    Super Moderator NoDayButToday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    To give you an idea of how fantastic, my RABBI was addicted to this show back when I was in confirmation classes. She was always talking about how good it was and how her husband got her hooked on it. For a woman as religious as my Rabbi was to be addicted to the mafia show (and all the things that go along with that), there's gotta be some kind of value to it.

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    Bronze Member chowter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    Quote Originally Posted by AliceInWonderland

    & Bill Maher rules!!!!

    Clinton/Maher 08' for president!!!!



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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    I never watched it. It seems like a made-for-TV Goodfellas, with some
    pretentious episodes thrown in to show off their acting chops.
    (James Gandolfini had this one dream girl that kept appearing to him
    in visions, nursing a baby, etc...)

    Love the opening music though. ♪

    ♫` ∴|| ~∞≠∝ ♫♪ $ -4C

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    A*O
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    The 'dream' thing is ONE episode Ourman - and it's kinda in context if you watch the previous episodes. I strongly recommend you get the first series on DVD, watch it, and then decide if you want any more. I was equally sceptical at first, but soon got completely involved. The acting and writing is superb and it's NOT another Goodfellas - honest.
    I've never liked lesbianism - it leaves a bad taste in my mouth
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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Last season of the Sopranos

    its funny to see the first few episodes where Tony doesn't have a NJ accent and James Gandolfini hadn't fully developed the character into the loveable sociopath we see him as today

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