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Old 06-11-2007   #1
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Default Final Sopranos Episode Makes Viewers Think Their DVR Was Broken

It’s no secret that David Chase, the creator of the hit HBO series, The Sopranos, is fond of ending his episodes by dramatically fading out to music and a black screen. Last night’s “Made In America” episode took that directorial technique to an insulting and jarring new level. At the very end of the show, Chase dramatically built tension around what looked like either an FBI raid or a mob-hit on the Soprano family as they sat in one of New Jersey’s famous diners. Meadow Soprano, Tony’s beloved daughter and law student, was haplessly trying to parallel park her Lexus as her family sat inside the diner. The show built to an intense musical crescendo that led the viewer to think something of significance was going to happen. And then – out of nowhere – the episode abruptly cut to black and left the screen dark for an extended period of time.

In what felt like twenty seconds of silence and a black screen, everyone who was watching the show sat nervously, wondering what happened to their theater system. Did the TiVo not record the show correctly? Did my cable go out? Did my receiver fail? It wasn’t until the credits rolled after a pregnant-with-quadruplettes pause did loyal viewers realize that the show, as well as the series, was over.

David Chase’s decision to abruptly end the show the way he did in “Made In America” was a departure from his normal fade to black technique of wrapping up past episodes. Without anyone in the immediate Soprano family getting whacked, his directorial decision was tantamount to killing them off to the viewer without the care or sensitivity to give any level of closure.

Pundits of the show swear there is a feature film coming, but Chase is characteristically difficult to predict. Internet blogs and forums have said today is the official “cancel your HBO” day. With Big Love, HBO’s show about fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy coming back Monday night, the network is betting on the idea that fans that loved Tony Soprano could also learn to love another anti-hero, even if he doesn’t curse as much or doesn’t spend his free time at a strip club. Time will tell if this bet pays off.

For as much as David Chase changed the rules of pay television, resulting in a boom in subscriptions for HBO and the potential of a silver screen franchise, the way he handled the last scene of the last episode of his critically acclaimed show has left America rightfully boo-hooing about how badly such a beloved show ended. The question is - will HBO subscribers line up to leave their comfy living rooms to head out to the movies in a few years to see an aging Tony Sopranos and his cohorts perhaps face federal indictment or fight in a power struggle for control over the profitable racquets of
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