Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘The Sopranos

The Fat Lady Is Singing And She’s A Soprano.

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The Sopranos

I’m not sure whether it’s my second or third time through but I’m now halfway into the sixth and final series and I really don’t want it to end.  I feel like I’m about to enter mourning with only half a dozen episodes left.

‘The Sopranos’ is magnificent drama.  In my opinion, it is, without doubt, the best of them all.  ‘The Wire’ was great, ‘Breaking Bad’ was good but nothing comes close to the tale of Tony Soprano and his family.  I’m not a fan of violence on film or TV but it’s all in context and appropriate.  The story of an Italian, organised crime family in New Jersey contains everything you would imagine but a whole lot more.  It is sensitive, intelligent, insightful, funny, frightening .  The acting is superb and the characters are marvellous.  Once you get to series three or four  they have been so well constructed and developed that the script becomes very subtle and the issues tackled transcend the storyline and become poetry, parables, allegories for our time and our lives.

James Gandolfini, who plays Tony Soprano, is a great actor, now sadly passed.  He could have done so much more but this iconic role is a masterpiece.  The rest of the cast is fantastic too, different lives portrayed in all their humanity, good mixed with bad, venality mixed with morality.  There is much to learn from enjoying this wonderful, masterful exposition of TV drama.

I give ‘The Sopranos’ my highest possible recommendation.  Don’t miss it.  It is extraordinary.

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 4, 2016 at 4:22 pm

The Newsroom

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This is a wonderful new HBO television series of the standard of the Wire, The Sopranos, ER and, most significantly, The West Wing.  Its writer, the legendary Aaron Sorkin, also writes and produces The Newsroom.  Official website here.

Emily Mortimer

It is beautifully done and sows so many seeds of so much plot and character potential in its first episode – and it gets even better in the second.

Emily Mortimer is gorgeous as the female lead.  It amuses, irritates and then enrages me that this delightful British actress plays the noble American “land of the free” story but at least she doesn’t feign any accent and it’s clear she’s a Brit.

It starts as the Gulf of Mexico disaster is breaking news and it has a great, inspirational philosophy too – do you remember when we used to regard journalists as heroes and seekers after truth?

The Newsroom is exciting and very special.

Watch it.

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Mad Men

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It’s hit British TV already so I’m a little bit late but I’m delighted and enthralled by this “Desperate Housewives” about the Madison Avenue ad business in the early 60s.  I think that the hiatus and hysteria that I participated in thirty years later in London was the fantasy fulfilment of those earlier years.


Mad Men is the story of Donald Draper, a handsome creative director (in the days when they wore suits!) who has everything:  a beautiful, adoring wife; a beautiful, adoring secretary; a beautiful mistress who kicks him out even before he gets his breath back and a host of adoring colleagues and staff.  He seems to have just one skelton in the cupboard: a long, lost half brother who he doesn’t want to know any more.  The story is still unfolding but, thank heavens for the internet, I have the whole of seasons one and two waiting to be watched.

You have to be an ad man to get all the in jokes.  If you don’t understand the significance of the DDB VW ads then you’ll miss out on much of the point of episode three.  The indolence and last minute, off the top of the head ideas are the truth about the ad business as are the enormous quantities of alcohol and the  pampering and pimping for clients.   The almost constant cigarette smoking by every member  of the cast is the truth about the 60s too.

So who put these ideas down on paper and sold them to the production company?  It’s Matthew Weiner, writer of The Sopranos and, as far as I can tell, no background as an ad man so all credit to his talent as a researcher.  It’s a great show and demonstrates the sort of quality TV that we just don’t do in the UK.

Written by Peter Reynolds

March 16, 2009 at 11:35 am