It’s over. The eight year history of The Sopranos has finally ended, or make that non-ended.
The series final episode last night on HBO was anything but a tidy ending to eight years of Tony, Carmelo, A.J. and Meadow. It left viewers in the dark, literally.
Following a shot of Tony downing an onion ring with his family at a neighborhood diner, the whole screen goes black with the music, “Don’t Stop Believing” in the background.
Shady characters who were looking at Tony could have been there to “whack” him. His daughter had trouble parking the car and was rushing into the restaurant as it ended.
What was her lesson in parallel parking all about?
Instead of some answers all we got were about five seconds of a blank, black screen. Since I recorded the show I wondered if there was something wrong with my DVR, cable box or network problem.
Then the credits began to roll and you realized you had been had.
No shoot-outs, no family fighting, no fires, no kisses or hugging. Just a lot of questions causing much discussion around water coolers and radio/TV talk shows everywhere.
One perception you hear is that the show’s creator, David Chase, is a genius. Those happy with the ending say he ended the finale just like any other episode, kind of family business as usual. Some say the final scene related back to an earlier scene in this season’s first episode during a discussion on a boat between Tony and his brother-in-law Bobby. They discussed death and when asked how it is when it’s finally your time to go, Tony just replies I guess it all just goes black. Hence giving credence to those who believe Tony got shot.
Other perceptions don’t paint such a rosy picture. Some say the ending was awful and they’ll cancel their subscriptions to HBO. A few say Chase left it open at the end for a potential movie to be made, extremely doubtful. James Gandolfini, who plays Tony, has been quoted as saying he’s pretty tired of being joined to the hip with the character and wants to move on. Still others, and I’m in this group, would have liked more closure.
Regardless HBO has created tremendous buzz about the episode. From a public relations and marketing standpoint that’s great, but what good will it do now that the series is over?
Will more viewers subscribe to or check out HBO because of this discussion? Probably not.
Will viewers begin to leave HBO now that is over? A few certainly will, even though the show itself has been on only sporadically the last few years.
Where does the network go from here? They most definitely need to develop another huge hit or hits. Since the network is subscriber based ratings aren’t all that important. The need to continue to attract viewers at $10-$15 per month however, and keep some momentum flowing, is paramount.
Two or three interesting series might do the trick. Several of HBO’s own movies and documentaries will also help.
Unfortunately, for most, Sunday night won’t be “must see TV” anymore on HBO. It’s an issue the network will have to overcome if it wants to keep it’s own house in the black.