tony_soprano_smokingLike most people I am a huge fan of The Sopranos. It’s the original gold standard of modern television. At the time it aired I didn’t have HBO and to be completely honest the few episodes I did manage to see didn’t blow me away. But I understood I had come crashing in on half-finished storylines and characters I hadn’t gotten a proper introduction to, so a month or so after the final episode aired I started from Season 1, Episode 1 and watched the whole series straight through. I actually think this incidental strategy worked to my advantage in fully understanding the show. It took over my life and it was a rare night over a three month period (maybe more) that I wouldn’t watch at least one episode. Of course at the heart of it all was James Gandolfini’s performance as Tony Soprano. Not only was he amazing in big, dramatic scenes but you could watch the guy eat a donut and learn something about his character. It was one of the most fully-formed performances I’ve ever seen and a landmark acting achievement. I knew it was going to be hard for him to disappear into other roles after the show ended but he did his best with varying success. I was saddened by his recent death, not realizing that he was only 51 or that he had two young children. In a strange twist of fate, writer Brett Martin published a fantastic article on the show for the July issue of GQ, now with a regrettable post-script. I highly recommend it for any fan of the show. RIP Tony, you’ll never be forgotten.

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