DVDs in Review: #105: The Sopranos: Season Five

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The fifth season of The Sopranos marks the moment where that legend of an actor Steve Buscemi (seriously, name something he's not good in) steps out from behind the camera and onto the screen. Taking the role of Tony Soprano's cousin Tony Blundetto. He'd been involved in the show previously - directing the episodes Pine Barrens and Everybody Hurts. Tony B's story is one of the major arcs of the fifth season, the man did grow up alongside Tony Soprano and, as it turns out, went to prison at least partially because of Tony S.

Tony B's story is a pretty interesting one, for those of you who've seen the season before and need a refresher I do recommend the wikipedia article on it (here) - as long as no-one has amended it to mention that Tony B was in fact an intergalactic time traveller from Vogon 6 who came to Earth in order to determine the secret of making really good cheese. (Unlikely as, let's face it, Americans don't know how to make decent cheeses - they'd be better off snooping on the British or French). Tony B's story is also strengthened by Steve Buscemi's unholy Acting Talent, (did I mention how good Steve is in his performances? I did, well let's mention it again). Fortunately for The Sopranos the show is filled with accomplished actors providing charaters that are deep, meaningful and very real - so Steve's performance as Tony B fits into the show like Cinderella's foot in the glass slipper (such a daft fairy tale) - he doesn't overwhelm the plot, instead he remains a low key prescence who gradually grows, changes and becomes more significant in an entirely natural fashion.

The rest of the season continues in the solid, real and above all else, brilliant style you should have come to expect from The Sopranos by now. Tony is dealing with his seperation from Carmella in the only way he can, by persuing Dr Melfi, Meadow and AJ are dealing with their parent's break up in their own ways. And Uncle June begins to show mild, early signs of Alzheimer's disease - which would be a tragic (if somewhat fitting) end for a man who lived a life that was pretty dispicable in the terms of normal society.

The mounting tension between the New York families provides another thrust of season five's plot - the struggle naturally has a great deal of influence on the lives of the New Jersey crew as they (in essence) live in the shadow of the "New York Mobs". And when other events begin to strain the relationship between the two groups things really begin to break out.

There's an awful lot to like about the fifth season of The Sopranos, it's on par with the fourth one in terms of quality and is a fantastic piece of television in it's own right.


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