19 September 2006

The Week Is Still Being Reviewed!




In more dramatic fare than a couple of posts below, I have found much to enjoy in the current series of The Sopranos. It seems the powers that be on the show (most likely Exec Producers, as I doubt a writer would have that much power on the show) have decided to follow the current trend for TV by throwing us a swerve to begin the series.

This, of course, is nothing new in the last couple of small-screen years. The last season of 24 started with a number of major characters getting variously shot and blown up, including the ex-President (but 24 is a law unto itself, ending as it did with Jack being beaten bloody and hauled off to China), and the co-creators of Lost wanted to kill their own Jack in the pilot episode originally (they wanted a star like Michael Keaton back when they were going to kill him. It was going to be instead of the pilot, when he gets grabbed out of the plane).

So, after what was essentially an episode of exposition, with the audience catching up with the characters and meeting some new ones (the bloke who wanted out of the game was new to me, at least), Tony got shot by his increasingly psychologically deteriorating uncle, and was rendered comatose.

I don’t know why it is, but I am fascinated with the mind of the person in a coma. I mean, I’m into psychology in general, and dreams specifically, so a subject like that intrigues me; what goes on in the mind of someone nearly dead to the world?

This is one of the many reasons why I loved the Mars Volta debut so much. The dodgily monikered De-loused in the Comatorium concerned the coma dreams of one of the band’s friends, and the journey his mind took. It was dark and surreal, and really added to the uber-Proggy sound the band had been developing.

And so we return to this Sopranos story strand. Tony got shot at the climax of the season opener, and spent most of the next two episodes in a dream world where he was being mistaken for a ‘Kevin Finnerty’ (read that name aloud), with whom he had accidentally traded briefcases. He was trying to find Finnerty, while the latter’s enemies (Buddhist monks, mainly) hassled our protagonist.

So the execution was rather like Lost’s flashback structure, as the audience was sent between this hotel and the everyday life of the Family, only this flashback had never happened. Or at least, it wasn’t a flashback, as it was currently happening, just not in the physical world.

Before long, he arrived at a party in a mansion, but was afraid to go in, as he kept hearing his daughter’s voice in the distance, pleading with him not to go. Of course, that was him hearing her in the hospital, and he soon woke up. While I’m glad he’s back in the world of the living, I have to admit I was enamoured both with the execution of this aside, and with the fact that it was introduced for some variety.

I eagerly await the rest of this series. Especially as Lost is finishing next week…

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