David Chase really seems to be trying to close out this show on his own terms.
Not a complete season. Pricey.
The Sopranos: Season Six, Part 1 continues the exploits of probably the most famous, fictional Mob family to ever hail from New Jersey. Turning the 12 episodes into character studies and contemplative moments, most likely was a death knell for Sopranos fans that wanted the laughs and usual business that this show had primarily given them for the 5 seasons prior.
In this first installment of Season 6 (I hate that this thing has been broken up) we see Tony (James Gandolfini) almost die, Carmela (Edie Falco) deal with her loneliness, Paulie (Tony Sirico) coming to terms with some of the bad things he has done, AJ (Robert Iler) thinking he can play with the big boys, and Christopher (Michael Imperioli) walking and sometimes falling off the straight line he knows he needs. It's almost as if The Sopranos: Season Six, Part 1 is mirroring our nation as we try and reconcile just what kind of country we want to be versus the kind of country we are. Perhaps it is our preconceptions about mob types that we never imagine they have these thoughts? In that regard maybe the work of creator David Chase should be hailed as groundbreaking?
Regardless of where things end up for this show, I think that The Sopranos: Season Six, Part 1 represents an interesting departure for both the show and the characters. In movies we get this kind of story in two hours. Here, David Chase has allowed us to see a more fleshed out version played out over multiple seasons.
There are four audio commentary tracks with writer/creator David Chase, writers Terence Winter and Matthew Weiner, and cast members Edie Falco, Robert Iler, Michael Imperioli, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Tony Sirico. Rather than break all of these down in terms of who is where on these discs, I will say that one would be best served to listen to any of the tracks that David Chase is talking on. Afterall, this guy is the mastermind behind this show. Ultimately, he decides who lives or dies and it was enlightening to get his take on things. He discusses what he was trying to do with the characters, how some people didn't get what he was trying to do with the first part of this season, and why he thinks the characters behave how they do. If you are a diehard fan of this show I would say you need to listen to these things.
1.78:1 (16x9). Mastered at 1080p with the VC-1 codec. This show looked pretty darn solid. I am used to watching it on HBO but seeing it on Blu-ray on a really nice HD set was something else. To call these episodes perfect or pristine would be highly misleading. If you look really hard (as I did at times), you can find small flaws here and there, especially with background elements. However, I don't go into these reviews looking for flaws. I would actually like to borrow a similar sized set from somebody so that I could compare how the Standard DVDs of this show looked next to this one. All in all, another solid transfer of a show to the next generation DVD format.
English: PCM 5.1.. Spanish: Dolby Digital 2. English, French, Spanish. I watched a few episodes of this show and I realized that things might too clear. I say that because I've always found James Gandolfini to be nasally, but I started noticing how nasally a lot of the other characters were. I have always found the opening song for this show to be big and this was no exception. I find it very interesting how much Blu-ray has upped the quality of both the pictures and the sound. Having looked at some other sites, I think the biggest problem on the horizon could be the lack of support for various formats offered in the audio/video departments.
Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) sits on a chair in front of the rest of the cast looking very worn out. Behind him are the usual cast of characters like Paulie (Tony Sirico), Christopher (Michael Imperioli), Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco), etc.. The back cover offers up some more shots from this show, a description of what this Sixth Season is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list, and technical specs. Housing 12 episodes on 4 discs, I was impressed with the way that Blu-ray disc was able to store all of these things. However, I was told that the benefit of Blu-ray would be more space and less discs, but I think Blu-ray compression standards are going to take away from that a little bit.
I hadn't really kept up on this show since the Second Season. However, The Sopranos is the kind of animal that if I was in the room when it was on, I couldn't help but sit down and watch it. I would usually get caught up in it and then if I had something else to do, I would eventually have to force myself to get up and go about my business. Yet, even though I haven't seen every episode, I didn't find myself lost when I was given The Sopranos: Season Six, Part 1 to review. It is as if these characters transcend themselves. All one needs to do is have HBO and somehow (through a virtual form of osmosis), they can keep up on what is going on without actually putting all the time in.
Lastly, if you have been collecting The Sopranos on DVD, you should definitely own this set. You want to be able to have the whole story right? If you are a casual fan, I would suggest starting with the First Season and then, if you are so inclined, building up your collection from there.
The Sopranos was released .