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  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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The Sopranos - The Complete Fourth Season

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 709 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Okay readers, you know the drill with my Sopranos Reviews. I'm gonna pretend to be Tony Soprano talking about the show, and you're gonna pretend to be a reader who gives a damn. If you don't wanna know what happens with this seasons storyline, drill down to the transfer discussion and read in safety. Otherwise, lock up your grandmother and shove cotton wool in the ears of young children, 'cause here we go with Season 4..

Ep 1. For All Debts Public and Private
You know, my daily walk down the driveway to get my mornin’ paper gives me time to think about a lot of things. Take the economy, its bad you know? Business is slow, money isn't flowing like it used to, and for some reason Carmela is really bustin’ my balls to plan for our retirement. It's not like I haven't got enough on my mind with Uncle Ju's sqeezin' me for more points pay for his courtcase; Christopher tryin' hard as possible to fuck up my big plans for him; Adriana is spendin’ too much time with that nosey putana Danielle, and Pauly is in the can for some bullshit gun charges. Like I said, all this thinkin’ is giving me a friggin’ headache.

Ep 2. No Show
You know me, I love my family -both of them, but I swear to God that sometimes I wanna kill the lot of them and dump the bodies in a ditch in Manhattan. Adriana's friend Danielle reveals her true face, Meadow has got some stupid thought in her head about going to Europe instead of school, pullin’ some silly bullshit about grief over Jackie Jnr's death. Geez, what is about these kids and f*ckin’ grief? They’re dead, and that’s that. Her and Carmela are fighting like f*ckin’ dogs over it, and then, with the other family I got Patsy Parisi pissed because he got passed over for captain by Christopher instead while Pauly's in the can and finally --Madon'-- like having the two dysfunctional families isn't easy enough, I gotta find out that my idiot sister Janice is hooked up with Ralphie which makes the line even more blurred. What the f*ck is it with that friggin’ moron hippy parasite? I take a look at my family tree and all I see are monkeys that never climbed down.

Ep 3. Christoper
It's been 16 years, but the Soprano's are finally headin' back to court again for Uncle Ju's hearing. This is gonna be hard enough to deal with, with the old man acting up and shit, but now Silvio and the boys also wanna butt heads with some Native Americans who are trying to f*ck up the Columbus Day Parade and Paulie is stirrin’ up the shit with Johnny Sack behind my back by passin’ on a joke Ralphie told about his wifes fat ass. It was a good joke, and she has got a fat ass, but that shit hasta stay inhouse.

Ep 4. The Weight
The shit Paulie has stirred up with Johnny Sack is causing me no end of trouble. Johnny has a lot of pull and is going make things hard for Ralphie, which in turns means making things hard for me because of the business with Assemblyman Zelman, and if Ralph isn't careful he's gonna end up at the bottom of a concrete pylon. A little closer to home, Carmela is starting to get a little infatuated with Furio. I know she's just helpin' him with his new house and all, but she's getting’ that look in her eye that goes further than striped wallpaper and Roman blinds, you know what I mean? Of course you know what I mean. You can’t be as stupid as you look--

Ep 5. Pie O My
You like that name, Pie O My? It's my new horse..well, it's Ralphie's really, but fuck 'im, he works for me so everything that’s his is mine, really. Do I gotta spell it out? You know, now that I think about it (here I go with the thinking again) I must have some kinda ‘animal thing’ wrong with me, first the ducks and now the horse, but fact is I haven't felt this good in years, and it helps that I'm making money on her at the track in this time of economic downturn, which should make Carmela happy with all the shit she's givin' me about investments and crap. Raining on my parade is Adriana, who's getting’ leaned on by the Feds, not helped out by the fact we use her club as a meeting point for business. If I hadda known at the time what was happening, she woulda been wearin’ her push up bra in a coffin at the bottom of a deep swamp.

Ep 6. Everybody Hurts
'Cause of all the shit going down I gotta limit my exposure, so I'm puttin’ all my orders through Christopher from now on. The only problem with that is how f*cked up he's getting’ on herion, so this added responsibility will either straighten him out or f*ck him up worse with the pressure. I’m betting he gets more f*cked up, naturally. It goes without saying that this makes it a good time for everyone else to give me a healthy dose of agita. I find out my one of my old girlfriends, Gloria Trillo, topped herself, and Dr. Melfi never told me she had real problems that I coulda prevented. Sure, she was a bit of mental defective, what with all the clingy shit and the throwin’a steak at my head thing, but I kinda blame myself for her death. So, I over-compensate in my time of grief and lend Artie Bucco 50 large, which he then loses to some slimy French frog f*ck. This scares the shit outta him, getting’ beat up by a frog and not being able to repay me, so he tries to kill himself. which makes me feel even worse. I mean, what the fuck is it about me that makes people want to be dead? Don’t I have enough problems already?

Ep. 7. Watching Too Much Television
Paulie’s outta the can and already he’s riding my ass for money and shit to get back in the game. He’s still pissed at me over somethin’, so he’s layin the groundwork for settin himself up with Johnny Sack’s crew. This shit between Furio and Carmela is still brewin’ in the wrong direction but I guess that at least it distracts her from the fact that her straight-laced cousin the investment advisor has put me on a sweet real estate scam arrangement with Zelman the scumbag, and I say scumbag in the nicest possible way, because he’s doin my old gomare Irina, which I think I feel okay about, but you know me, I’ll probably beat the provolone outta him by the end of the episode. Mmm…provalone..

Ep. 8. Mergers & Acquisitions
I dunno, is it just me or is it everyone else who should be in terapy? Furio’s gotta go back to the homeland for his sick father, Carmela’s in the dumps ‘bout sumptin’ –probably Furio being gone, Paulie is determined to drive me fuckin’ insane with the shit about his ma in Green Gables Retirement Home, Christopher is half dead to the world at the best of times because of his smack problem and I find out some pretty freaky shit about Ralphies sexual peccadillos that don’t sit easily with me. I’m betting that Ralphie can’t even sit considering some of the shit he likes to do. On the flip side, I’m bangin’ his new girlfriend, so that’s somethin’ to be happy about I guess. First I take his horse (not in the biblical sense, you understand) and now I take his girl. It’s good to be badda bing.

EP. 9. Whoever Did This
We get the opportunity for a new court strategy when Uncle Ju falls down the courthouse steps and knocks his head, but only problem is that maybe he isn’t foolin’. Ralph stirs up the shit with Paulie but instant karma sticks him in the arse when his son has a near fatal accident. Ralph turns into a basket case over this and it affects his judgement in a way that I’d never imagine. As bad as he feels about his situation, it’s nothin compared to how he’s gonna feel later, the stupid mezza fenuch, even if it goes against my better judgement.

Ep. 10. The Strong Silent Type
You know I’ve been depressed before, it’s basically what this whole series is about –me and my f*cked head. And killin’ people and shit too, I guess, but mostly about my f*cked head. But lately I’m feeling really down, like everything is for shit more than usual and there’s no sense to it all. I mean, Ralph’s kid is in hospital looking down the barrell of being a vegetable, the poor kid. Pie O My has gone to the great stable in the sky –I loved that stupid animal, all the shit with the crew and life at home like a f*ckin merry-go-round, I think I’m turnin into a f*cking basket case. It don’t help that we all confront Christopher about his smack problem and nearly kill him to make him aware of how f*cked up he is--call it tough love-- but I figure that I owe it to him to get him straightened out, but if it was anyone else in the family with this problem and it woulda been “Hello Mr. 38”, if you follow.

Ep. 11. Calling All Cars
Okay, enough of the Mr. Sad Faced Clown shit from me, Dr. Melfi has done nothing to fix my problems so I’m done wit her and her psychobabble bullshit. Four years and ziltch –I’m still f*cked up and she can’t fix me, even if she thinks we’ve made some progress. F*cking progress my ass, big deal if I don’t pass out anymore. Besides, I gotta lot of tings to deal with, like the little problem with Johnny Sack and Carmine tryin’ to cut into my deal with Zelman. That Johhny is a fuckin slimy piece of shit, the way he’s twisting Pauly around his finger with talk about taking him into Carmine’s family and shit, playing him little a little girl on her first date. Janice is bullying Bobby Baccala and the kids to get over their grieving so she can move into their family. Janice is a manipulative f*cking bitch and if she wasn’t my sister I’d ditch her into the Potomac for what she’s doing to that poor guy.

Ep. 12. Eloise
We’re nearly at the end of the season now, and naturally all the threads are comin to a head. Uncle Ju’s courtcase is at a critical junction, so we gotta find a ‘sympathetic’ juror or he’s f*cked. The Carmine/Johnny Sack disagreement is gonna be settled one way or another, and it’s looking more and more like it’s gonna be the ‘another’ option. Paulie finds out just how valued he is with Carmine. Carmela and Furio, I’d dunno, they got this unspoken thing, and maybe it’s beginning to affect Furio’s ability to perform his duties, so maybe I gotta watch out some, otherwise the dago sonofabitch might get some stupid ideas in his greasy head.

Ep. 13. Whitecaps
And here we are, the end of another year of looking in on my life, and I bet you’ve loved every second of it you sick degenerate voyeur perverts. If you’ve paid any attention to what I been saying--and if you haven’t, why the fuck not? You to got something better to watch?--then you’ll see that this year has been pretty intense for me on both sides of the family. Carm’s actin all sick and shit like she’s got some kinda bug, Furio’s taken off to Italy again with no warning the stupid fuckin stronz, Paulie’s gotta decide whether he’s for us or against us, Christopher’s come good with his smack dry out, we finally get word handed down on Ju’s case and the problem with Carmine and the Esplanade slowdown looks like it’ll be settled once and for all, with a little help from Christopher’s ex-smack buddies. On a brighter note, I’ve decided the family could use some place to get away from all the crap we been going through, so I’m gonna buy us a little beachfront escape. Little do I know that I wont have any use for it soon enough. Is that enough shit for ya or you don’t think enough happens?

  Video
Contract

Filmed for Hi-Def t.v. in the States, the 1.78:1, 16:9 enhanced picture is about as good as you’ll get for a show. It exhibits perfect detail, great clarity, a classy filmy look with a real depth and solid colours. All shows across the 4 discs are about as flawless as you’ll give a damn about, with the picture playing second fiddle to the quality stories and acting. And that’s exactly as it should be with good television (or film, for that matter), because I buy DVDs for the story, not the picture and sound. Done right, you shouldn’t have to think about the technical aspects. Leave that shit to the professionals at DVDnet, and no-one will get hurt.

  Audio
Contract

Same rule applies here, naturally. Of course, given a 5.1 mix it does the best it can, but it’s silly to expect popcorn film audio gymnastics in a week to week show. As much as this show is about the machinations of the mob it’s just as much about the dysfunctional operations of family and friends, so the weighting here is on dialogue not gunshots. Be thankful then that the conversations are clear and easy going throughout, and the soundstage pretty open and airy. After a slight clarity stumble in episode 1, the way is clear for more pleasantly transparent viewing. Tony’s wheezing never sounded so good.

  Extras
Contract

Since season 1 hit DVD a while back the packages haven’t really offered much bonus stuff to rip into. That’s been fine with me, because the show has been my primary interest, not 6 minutes fluff pieces amounting to squat.

Not much different here, but we do okay with 4 audio commentaries, which are on average good enough quality to give a run through when you have a little down time. A fair choice is made, namely with the inclusion of a Michael Imperioli scripted effort and a David Chase ep (Whitecaps) standout. Chase is dry and monotonous of voice, but listen up and he’ll impart quite a bit about the shows grounding in real life and the intent, including admitting that many people bemoaned the lack of violence in the final ep (including my whining brother in that list)! Imperioli paints himself as much more than his character, something which is continually surprising and satisfying.

Other than that, the discs are mostly just episodes and menus with text screens for Bio’s, Awards and Plot Summaries. But one feature I did like was the “Next on/Previously on” preview which acted like your own personal Sopranos commercial. Not an extensive feature list, but this is all about the show, so shuddup already.

  Overall  
Contract

You know, I’m done trying to tell ya what you should or shouldn’t watch, ‘cause you’re a friggin’ testa dura and you like what you like and you’re entitled to your opinion, as wrong as it might be. But I gotta say that if you aren’t a fan of The Sopranos then you’re missing out on some of the best television ever made. With equal parts violence, both real and implied, an (un)healthy dose of psychological and emotional weighting and characters that live and breathe, this season, like the three before it (and undoubtedly any to follow) serves up the very definition of compelling television.


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      And I quote...
    "Serves up the very definition of compelling television."
    - Vince Carrozza
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