Yes, by now you know that The Sopranos is wrapping up this coming Sunday, but one of the unsung heroes associated with the show has been The Star Ledger's Alan Sepinwall Monday morning column called Sopranos Rewind. Well up until recently it was printed in the paper edition of the Ledger every Monday, but now if you need need your Sepinwall fix on Monday you had to go online to his column. More on that in a second, first let me sing Sepinwall's praises.
The wrap up was essential reading for any real fan of the show. He gave honest reviews that told it like it was, unlike other reviewers that shilled for the show. Sepinwall broke down the plot, filled in blanks on the show, unraveled some of the show's quirks (ex, when a character gets killed they almost always wear white shoes, except for Paulie who always wears white), pointed out where characters have been or the last time you saw them, and most importantly tied recent events with shows from years past. Truly a must read every Monday morning.
That was until a few weeks ago. It seems Sepinwall was missing the deadlines when he wrote his review forcing diehard readers like myself to go to the website to get the scoop from the previous day's show. And, like most news stories it is better online. Besides the excellent summary, you got great feedback from the fans in the comment section; not the message boards which are unfiltered and as typical message boards go, filled mostly with arguments and the occasional curse. Comments like this can be found at the end of Sepinwall's story which adds a tremendous amount to the fanbase:
- mediatext: "Paulie has already defected to Phil, Tony will find that out and will kill him. Tony, desperate, alone and hunted by Phil, will reach to the FBI guys --or they will reach him"
- grappa: but I am starting to think the flip is coming from Tony. Agent Harris has been in almost every episode the lap top screen in AJ's room featuring a story on terrorism
- seapointer: The difference with Tony is that he sought treatment voluntarily for personal problems, and never hid the fact that his criminal activities were continuing.
- fordmail: I for one wanted to see Sil pay a price for the way he killed Ade like a dog, instead we saw him meet his end fumbling for his gun "Fredo Style". On the other hand, we saw one of the most likeable characters (Bobby) taken out "Sonny Style".
- jamcpa: The greatest impact that Chase could possibly make in the show's last episode is for Tony to live on, without his Family or his family, with the guilt of the loss of a loved one, ie. Meadow or AJ - similar to Godfather III.
- NJkenn: for those talking of the possibility of an eventual Sopranos movie, I heard Frank Vincent (Phil Leotardo) interviewed this morning, and he said that the rumor he keeps hearing is that, if a movie is to be made, it will be a prequel.....Tony, though, having likely already begun changing his patterns as soon as Harris told him about the possible hit, would be hardest one to find, especially in a timely, coordinated fashion since he would be specifically avoiding places like the Bing or Satriales
- sonnysighed: But in the scene between T and Sil in T's garage, it becomes clear that Phil may have known about the planned hit ahead of time, and cleared out in advance. Which means it's likely that either Paulie or Patsi are also "playing both sides of the fence" (get well, Sil! or RIP).
You get the idea. This is a pure example of social marketing at its best with the Sopranos community adding to the discussion. However, The Star Ledger could have "forced" readers earlier to the website instead of waiting until close to the end of the show. I'm sure they were trying to balance out paper sales with online sales, only demonstrating that local newspapers still have a ways to go in figuring out how to monetize their online traffic. Its time for the Ledger to push more and more content to the web only - they might as well start now because once someone figures out how to put a newspaper in a large, but light handheld that's convenient to read in the Men's room, their paper sales will be toast.
My final words on the show (who can resist) which I've been saying since the second episode of this season. Tony Soprano rides off into the sunset. He doesn't die and doesn't turn to the feds to protection. The last scene will be Tony and his family sitting at Bobby's lake house somewhere in upstate NY looking at Canada.
Alan Sepinwall's column will be the second most missed part of the long running HBO show. Thanks Alan for making your NJ reader's Monday morning extra special by making the show last just a little longer for all of us.