Monday, March 13, 2006

Tubeservations: Tony Soprano Cries Uncle

The Sopranos return- with a bang.

I had been alerted to a "twist" in last night's episode, but didn't know what it was and was able to avoid being spoiled. It was worth the wait, and kept me interested through a solid but uneventful "background" episode- the kind we've come to expect from TV's most intriguing drama.

That said, I did like the other major storyline- the "retirement," or lack thereof- and thought that, as a mood-setter, the episode did its job. Let's hope Chase and co. now move into the meaty goodness of serious storytelling.

There were plenty of red herrings to the twist- would Tony's weight push him towards a coronary? Would Uncle Jun stroke out? Would Johnny Sack get whacked in the can? The writers managed to come up with something more shocking than anyone imagined.

How great was the shot of delusional, toothless, crazy Uncle Junior blowing a hole in Tony Soprano's enlarged gut? And I dug the lack of promo at episode's end to increase suspense, a tactic used by Six Feet Under wne Nate was buying the farm.

Of course, the trailers for the series were loaded with other shots of Tony (with another woman, twirling a baby, eating ad nauseum), so it's highly likely Tony won't be sleeping with the fishes. Not to mention that it would be pretty tough to deliver 19 more episodes sans the big guy.

My theory on the shooting: Uncle Junior was punishing Tony for overcooking his ziti. I know in our house, it's gotta be al dente, under penalty of death.

Tubeservations: Big Love

So, with the HBO rule fully in effect (that's where I feel like I have to give any new HBO drama a chance, thanks to being burned for bailing out on The Wire and Deadwood), I gave HBO's new polygamy dramady Big Love a shot.

Big mistake.

I wanted to like it, but Bill Paxton, save his Oscar-caliber performance in Weird Science, never did it for me. This performance is no exception- and in may ways it was more disturbing than his typical performance, since he was largely shirtless throughout the episode. I certainly didn't need to see his member tented under a sheet- nor did I need a full shot of his taint.

And whoever keep saying Chloe Sevigny is hott- she ain't. At all.

The only reason to watch is the great Ginnifer Goodwin (Ed), but she's just not enough to keep me interested.

I'm sure, as always, I'll be reading in the papers how brilliant this show has become after a few weeks on the air, but for now, it's a risk I'm willing to take. Big Love? A big bore.