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The Sopranos (S4)
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: Indiana Sev
The Sopranos (S4) order
Director:
Various

Actors:
James Gandolfini
Edie Falco
Lorraine Bracco

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Mob boss Tony Soprano (Gandolfini) has a pretty complicated life. Aside from the regular troubles a family man has to deal with (a wife and two teenage kids), he’s also trying to keep things afloat with a little thing he’s got on the side called "organized crime". That’s enough to drive any man to therapy.

What’s Season 4 about?

Things aren’t getting any easier for “Tone” in year 4 of this extremely popular HBO series. On the home front, money’s tight, his daughter Meadow is getting more and more rebellious and uncle Junior is about to stand trial. If that weren’t enough, his wife Carmela is finding herself more and more attracted to Furio, one of Tony’s soldiers. Christopher (the great Michael Imperioli) is getting more responsibility in the “family” and climbing the ranks but his increasing drug problem is really mucking things up. There are a lot of changes in season 4 with a lot of lives, marriages and balls on the line. Is there a war on the horizon between mob families? Will a life or two be in peril? Will Drea de Matteo look freakin’ hot again? It’s the Sopranos...what do you think, you mook?!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I wasn’t into season 3 of THE SOPRANOS as much as I was into its first two seasons. There weren’t enough interesting plotlines during that year or many great cliffhangers by season’s end. I mean, I love the show, but I really wasn’t looking all that forward to season 4. Well, I was pleasantly surprised after my two-day marathon of this four-disc set. There are a lot of fascinating storylines this year: in-fighting within the “family”, unrequited love, court cases, undercover FBI agents and many other tense situations with the same quality of writing you’ve come to expect from this show. That’s the beauty of THE SOPRANOS, it isn’t really the directing or the sets or even the actors per se, that make it truly special, it’s the dark humor mixed in with the silly, the gruesome, unspeakable murders thrown in with the unexpected sentimentality, the cowardice of some and the honor of others. The writing in season four is probably the best since the famed first year of the series and that’s saying a lot.

The acting in THE SOPRANOS has always been brilliant as well. They’ve assembled a great cast and it’s always been a proud mark of the show (just watch the Emmys every single year, Christ, you’d think it was the only show in contention). Although its two actors in particular that really put some sizzle and excitement into this season: Michael Imperioli (Christopher) and Joe Pantoliano (Ralph). They’re both loose cannons, incredibly charismatic and used often enough to keep me salivating and interested every episode. It’s already been four years that this show is on the air and I’d just like to say that I’m still not sick of “Woke Up This Morning” the theme song from THE SOPRANOS by A3. How much do I love it? It’ll be playing at my wedding as my wife walks down the aisle. I-shit-you-not.

To sum up, THE SOPRANOS: SEASON 4 is as fresh and lively as it was in 1999, when the series first aired. The way the story moves forward, every show just makes you want to start the other immediately (as I did), until you’ve lost your job, loved ones and complete touch with reality (I contemplated more than once a life of crime while enjoying this show). It’s crazy, it’s bloody and it feels oddly real. Damn straight...it’s a good TV show!
THE EXTRAS
Four audio commentaries with writers Terence Winter, Michael Imperioli, Robin Green & Mitchell Burgess and show creator David Chase: Episodes 4 (The Weight), 6 (Everybody Hurts), 9 (Whoever Did This) and 13 (Whitecaps) all have their own respective commentary tracks by the writers of the episode in question. Usually, in commentary tracks, most people prefer to hear from the actors, the stars of the show or movie, but considering it’s the authentic dialogue and powerful storylines that are the highlights of THE SOPRANOS, I was delighted to see them give the writers their take on things for once. David Chase’s track on the final episode held a particular interest with me as he is the show’s creator and I was interested in his thoughts on how far the show had come, how much his characters had grown and of course, where it was all headed. Having said that, all of the writers had considerable nuggets of information to provide as well. These tracks are a great listen.

Season Recaps & Episodic previews & recaps: I was dreading not having this feature included when I got the set. Not so much the episodic recaps, but it had been a year since I’d watched season 3, so it was capital that I get a nice refresher course to the past seasons. There is a very comprehensive recap of seasons one through three. I suggest watching them all in a row (no more than a few minutes each) before starting this set.

Awards and Nominations: A listing of the jillions of awards and nominations the show has garnered over the years.

DVD-ROM/Weblink and Cast and Filmmaker biographies.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Did you love GOODFELLAS? Of course you did! So did I, and if like me, you’re a fan of Henry, Jimmy, Tommy and Paulie, then you’re going to adore Tony, Christopher, Ralph and… well, Paulie. The extras on this set are okay, but it’s the show that takes center stage with this DVD set. With recaps of the previous 3 seasons, you’re all set for 13 episodes and most likely 13 straight hours of Soprano magic. Buy it for your favorite mobster.
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