Stephen Schaefer covers HBO's New York Sopranos premiere at Radio City Music Hall:
Without giving away any plot details, the ‚ÄúSopranos‚Äù finale seems destined to struggle with the Big Issues even as it curdles and cackles with the blackest humor. Even in a family retreat far from New Jersey‚Äôs mean streets violence, ‚ÄúSopranos‚Äù observes, disruptive, physically and psychologically demeaning violence, is never far. Nor is execution-style murder.
Carmela and Tony can have sex, exchange gifts but can they really comfort each other? As the song goes, Why was I born? Why am I living? What do I give? What am I giving?
As he celebrates his 47th birthday Tony (James Gandolfini) ponders, broods about his legacy. The cops and the Feds hover. A mob boss is dying and the void must be filled ‚Äì but in these times who, really wants to be boss, the capo de capo? Christopher (Michael Imperioli) loses interest in the family business to make horror movies inspired by you-know-who with family money. As for the movie itself, Who‚Äôd have guessed Daniel Baldwin could ever be better than Ben Kingsley?
With little interest in his only son A.J. (Robert Iler), Tony curses how his chosen ‚Äúson‚Äù Christopher has missed all that he‚Äôs tried to pass on to him. Rueful, ruminative and explosive, ‚ÄúSopranos‚Äù is not going quietly into the night. But will Tony go? Really go?
Here's Variety's Steven Zeitchik on the HBO party. And here's a link to Vanity Fair's online Sopranos coverage. The in-depth April cover story on David Chase and the history of the show by Peter Biskind is one of the best magazine reads I've had in a long time. UPDATE: Here's Time's feature story.
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]