The Sopranos

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

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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.
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Revisiting the Columbus Day ‘Sopranos’ Episode Everyone Hated

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

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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

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

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

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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.
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Handwritten Screenplay Pages From Film and Television

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“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.
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