The Sopranos reaches its pinnacle in Season 6. Truly. Two episodes down and with the Jersey Godfather comatose, you have his shadow loom as large as it did when he was active. Tony Soprano’s dreams during this time make for a compelling story as he shifts from situation to situation in a travelling salesman avatar. Never have dreams been so engrossing on screen. In the outside world, the burning never stops, nor does the rush of the mafia struggle that takes place clandestinely as various players throw their hat in the ring to take over from the ‘boss’.
This series has lived up to everything it stood for. The unapologetic violence, the unpretentious swag of the Jersey mobs, the loyalty and betrayals and above all – family. Episode 2 of the last season is a wonderful narrative in the stream of consciousness. It could be a tribute to Don Sopranos Psychiatrist too. It weaves from reality to the ‘other world’ seamlessly, giving away few secrets as the characters move ahead. The ending solidifies the goosebumps you feel throughout the episode and with the hauntingly beautiful ‘When it’s cold I’d like to die‘ playing from Moby‘s soundkit you have one of the most beautiful episode closures in this saga.
Crime pays, and how. The critical and commercial success of shows like Breaking Bad, its latest avatar/prequel – Better Call Saul, The Wire, Orange is the New Black, Oz, The Sopranos…. well you get the drift, the list is endless. True Detective took on the really bad guys in brutal poetry. This series deserved its rating as the best series of 2014 and Matthew McConaughey‘s and Woody Harrelson‘s portrayals of the deeply sensitive and world weary detective gave the series its pathos. The series was disturbing from the start, never a sunlit moment. Even the few moments of happiness were moments of foreboding. This was the brilliant first season.
When it comes to the second season I am a bit of a sceptic here. How do you top something so darkly beautiful as season one. Directed mainly by Justin Lin (famous for the Fast and Furious franchise) I wonder what direction this season takes. The promo visuals are not exactly appealing. It’s got a good cast – there’s Colin Farrell, a truly gifted actor, Rachel McAdams, who is definitely not referring her Notebook for tips. The rest are iffy – Vince Vaughn‘s career is on the wane and I would like to see what he can do here. Promos can be misleading. They have in the past. But Season 2 doesn’t seem to have the powerful visual imagery that One had. The upcoming season seems more like a bright movie trailer. However, I would like to be confident that Justin Lin’s True Detective will surprise the daylights out of me. As McConaughey’s character Rust Cohle says, “Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning.” My favourite quote from an intriguing character.