The Sopranos

The Ethics of Loyalty: ‘Game of Thrones” Startlingly Contemporary Moral Compass

The massive popularity of Game of Thrones is something of an outlier in the field of what we might call Quality TV. Much of the 21st-century television renaissance has involved shows that have, in various ways, held up a mirror to what’s going on in post-millennial America: it doesn’t take a genius to draw a line between the subprime mortgage fiasco and TV’s constant narrative theme of a trapdoor opening under an average, middle-class life (Breaking Bad, Weeds, Orange Is the New Black, innumerable zombie shows), while the rise and rise of the antihero seems to parallel a widespread sense of moral ambiguity, a feeling that the world isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. In this context, an epic sword-and-sorcery drama — one that is, let’s be honest, a giant soap opera with lots of death and inventive swearing — seems somewhat out of place. Why is it so popular? You might argue that it’s pure escapism, but I think the answer is more nuanced than that. … Read More

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Revisiting the Columbus Day ‘Sopranos’ Episode Everyone Hated

Of all the cringe-worthy moments in six seasons of The Sopranos, perhaps the most awkward, embarrassing scene comes a few minutes into the third episode of Season 4. Tony’s sister, Janice, is in bed with Ralphie and, well, if you’re a fan of the show, I probably don’t need to say more because what she’s doing to him — not to mention the fact that she keeps muttering about “pimping him out” while doing it — is something you can’t un-see. The scene was obviously meant to make the viewer feel uncomfortable; it probably was not meant to sum up the way most of us felt about the episode as a whole. … Read More

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10 TV Shows to Fill the ‘Breaking Bad’-Shaped Hole in Your Heart

Last night at 10:15 pm was the moment we’d all been dreading: the end of AMC’s Breaking Bad. As we brace ourselves for life in a post-Breaking Bad world (much like Low Winter Sun, we imagine), our Sunday nights seem as lonely as the New Mexico desert. To cheer ourselves — and hopefully you, too — up, we took a temporary leave from mourning to recommend ten television shows that should help fill the Breaking Bad-shaped hole in your… Read More

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‘Mad Men’s’ Split Season 7: You’re Killing Me, AMC

Here in the “responsive commentary” racket, the only thing that rivals writing something too late is writing something too early. Last week, this site looked at the dire-sounding Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, surveyed the less-than-promising post-BrBa/Mad Men AMC line-up, and asked the question, “Is the golden age of AMC over?” For asking said question, I was branded with both the “e-word” (elitist) and the “h-world” (hipster). Such accusations prompted, as usual, a worried removal of my artisan organic wire-rimmed glasses, a long pull off my home-brewed stout, and a few heartfelt spins of Animal Collective on vinyl. And then AMC announced that their solutions to filling the original programming holes in their schedule are a) a Walking Dead spin-off and b) splitting the final season of Mad Men into two seven-episode halves. Can I say “told you so” yet? … Read More

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What to Read While You’re Missing Your Favorite TV Shows

It’s August, and there’s still nothing on TV. So what to do with all that free time in the evenings? Pick up a book, of course. And if you’re at a loss, your obliging Flavorwire editors have got you covered. After all, books are kind of like television, except better for you (sometimes). After the jump, a guide to what to read based on your all-time favorite TV shows (both current and past) — because fans of The Sopranos don’t necessarily want to read the same book as fans of Buffy. Check out our suggestions after the jump, and add your own in the comments. … Read More

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Just Because There’s No Female Tony Soprano Doesn’t Mean TV Can’t Have Great Female Antiheroes

Along with expressions of grief and shock, James Gandolfini’s untimely death prompted many critics to reflect on Tony Soprano, the actor’s defining role. And to the blogosphere’s credit, a solid chunk of that debate has centered not just on what Tony’s influence has changed in the world of television, but also what it hasn’t: since The Sopranos went off the air, audiences have seen a physician Tony (Greg House), a 1960s Tony (Donald Draper, of course), and a politician Tony (Francis Underwood), but we’ve yet to meet a female Tony. The absence of women from television’s current crop of antiheroes has been well noted by everyone from Flavorwire’s own Jason Bailey to The Atlantic’s Akash Nikolas, who offer a host of explanations for why women have yet to receive the Soprano treatment. But the reason there hasn’t been a female Tony Soprano may be that Tony isn’t a fitting template for women antiheroes — and creating convincing ones may require moving beyond The Sopranos, not following in its footsteps. … Read More

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Handwritten Screenplay Pages From Film and Television

“You can’t write poetry on a computer,” says Quentin Tarantino, and he can’t write his screenplays on one either — he does it old school, longhand, in a notebook, putting his words in typewritten form at the last possible second. It may make him sound like a Luddite, but he’s far from the only one; plenty of Hollywood’s most successful scribes prefer to work by hand, at least in the early stages. This week, we found out that Lawrence Kasdan wrote The Empire Strikes Back in longhand as well, and a trip down the Internet rabbit hole turned up several more popular films that were worked out by hand before they made it to the screen. … Read More

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What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links That Made the Rounds In Our Office

Today at Flavorpill, we learned a few things we didn’t know about holiday songs. We found out why English writer Alan Moore turned his back on Hollywood. We learned that something beautiful happens when you throw boiling water over a balcony in Russia. We read Popular Mechanics’ 110 predictions for the next 110 years. We watched Big Boi read How the Grinch Stole Christmas. … Read More

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10 TV Shows We'd Love to See in Black and White

This week, we were probably inordinately excited to hear that AMC is planning to air all 18 episodes of The Walking Dead in black and white. This is such a cool idea, especially considering that the original comic was done completely in grayscale line-drawings. Indeed, the network has explained that the black and white treatment is meant to “give the series a Universal Monsters feel as well as mimicking the artistic style of the comic.” The news got us to thinking about some other TV shows we’d like to see get the old-timey treatment — whether based on their period or just their visual style. Click through to see our picks (plus a few doctored screenshots) and let us know what we missed in the comments! … Read More

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Watch the Trailer for ‘Sopranos’ Creator David Chase’s ‘Not Fade Away’

Does the world need another movie about teenage boys from the suburbs who start a rock ‘n’ roll band just as Beatlemania is starting to take hold? Probably not, but since the movie in question is also the feature film directorial debut of Sopranos creator David Chase, we’ll take it. His first project to see the light of day since since that show ended in 2007, Not Fade Away finds him returning to New Jersey and reuniting with James Gandolfini, who plays a rigid ’60s dad who seemingly embodies the generation gap. Fans of Chase will recognize his touch in the vivid, detailed visuals — but the guys’ exuberant, idealistic energy adds an extra jolt of revolutionary youthfulness. As reticent as we are to indulge Boomer nostalgia, this might just make our must-see list. Watch the first trailer for Not Fade Away, which opens December 21st, below. … Read More

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