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Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Spraino, Soprano -- My wife fell down the stairs of our apartment building on Saturday, spraining her ankle and giving us an opportunity to spend some quality time in front of our DVD player. We rented most of Season Three of The Sopranos, and as of this writing have gotten through all but the last episode. Hopefully we'll find time this afternoon.

My wife is recovering nicely, although there was some Poison Control intervention after she accidentally ingested my diabetes medication Saturday night instead of her painkillers. Suffice to say that Saturday was not a very nice day for my poor wife -- but again, she's recovering nicely, and the only long-term problem I see is, well, she's still stuck with me.

As for Tony Soprano and company, wow, what a season. The highlight (barring the not-yet-viewed final episode) was Pine Barrens, directed by the brilliant Steve Buscemi and featuring Christopher and Paulie lost in the woods, starving and eventually at each other's throats. The brilliance of this episode is in the set-up. They come to be in the woods through perfectly ordinary (for this gang of crooks)
circumstances -- just another day at the office, essentially. But a cascade effect of mistakes sets in, and the next thing you know the boys are in big, big trouble. A riveting episode, extremely cinematic, and all the more impressive for the lack of emphasis on the character of Tony Soprano.

Other highlights of this season included Tony hooking up with a frenzied, troubled but irresistible car dealer -- the tension as she drove Tony's unsuspecting wife home from the car dealership was one of the best scenes in the history of the series. Also of note is the eerie coincidence of Anthony Jr.'s brush with trouble, mirroring the legal trouble the little bastard got into in real life.

The DVD format has really been revelatory in the case of a show like The Sopranos or Buffy, where the excellence is obvious, week in and week out, and is enhanced and emphasized by the commercial-free, high quality sound and picture. The only flaw in the developing system is the insistence of some companies -- including whoever does The Sopranos -- of overpricing the sets. I'll rent but not buy stuff like The Sopranos when it sells for $100.00 a set. But when I can get twice as many Buffy episodes for about half the price, those I'll shell out the cash for. If the companies would price the sets a little more reasonably, I'm quite sure they'd be
getting a lot more of my money than they currently are.



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