That was six years ago. I mention it because I recently watched The Sopranos again for the first time since then. This time I viewed the episodes three or four at a sitting, instead of waiting a week between shows and six months between seasons. We got through the whole show in three weeks or so.
It was a different experience. The condensed viewing schedule makes the story less episodic, more novelistic. The characters and their relationships become more clear. Even the hated dream sequences seem somehow less self-indulgent. On the other hand, I quickly went from disliking Tony’s kids to actively despising them. One more accolade for David Chase: A truer portrait of asshole teenagers, circa 2005, has never been painted.
But this is about the ending. Seeing it again, and knowing it’s coming, and being forearmed with all the little details and symbols Soprano-philes have analyzed over the years — well, it makes all the difference. Clearly, Tony got shot in front of his family by the guy in the Member’s Only jacket. The black screen was his personal point-of-view at the moment of death. The problem is, you pretty much needed a military-grade Tivo to appreciate the ingenious tapestry of foreshadowing during the final season and final episode.
I guess this is my way of apologizing to David Chase. I used to think he had contempt for his viewers; now I think he just seriously overestimated our attention to detail. Anyway, if you haven’t seen the show since it last aired in 2007, it’s well worth another look. Especially that ending.