86 Long: Thanks and Praise for Television's Greatest Achieve

Taking a page from billymac and DH's book, thought it would be a nice idea to start this thread early and locate it in the finale forum to allow viewers to express their gratitude and thanks to all the folks whose creativity and hard work brought this series to life.

I'll let someone else cut the ribbon and add my 3 cents later.:icon_wink:

ETA: I'm opening this forum but would prefer that no one start new threads. There's a countdown sort of thread already going if you just want to talk about your anticipation. There's also a predictions/speculation thread. That should cover everything until the episode airs.

Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Thanks and Praise for The Writers!

Any show that can turn such trivial everyday things like a swimming pool, eggs, orange juice and ducks into major characters of a mainstream, popular and highly influential television show definitely has a tight lid on things. As grateful as I am to the actors, producers, directors and crews that worked for eight years (on and off) to bring this show to life my special shout-out has got to go to the writers. There is a reason this website is called 'The Chase Lounge' and not 'Tony's Hangout': in recognizing David Chase with this site's namesake its webmaster (and us) clearly identify the writers of "The Sopranos" as the driving force behind the creative fire still dazzling viewers as we head into the final turn. Because all the acting talent and production money in the world cannot buy you a good TV series if the writer(s) is/are clueless about how to execute an excellent premise with adequate follow-ups.

Witness the stunning failures these past two years of ABC's Commander in Chief and NBC's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (which I love to death despite being deeply flawed): creative people behind them (Rod Lurie and Aaron Sorkin), highly-rated pilot/debut episodes (in "Studio 60" perhaps one of the best pilots I've ever seen) and yet, as the first season unfolded, either behind-the-scenes turmoil or a complete lack of direction (not to mention diminishing ratings with every new episode) brought down these once-promising network series.

So, with all due respect to the actors and crew members, may my warmest and deepest thanks go to the writers of "The Sopranos" for an 86-hour narrative that is as profound a reflection of our times as it is a twist-filled, laugh-out loud mind fuck of epic proportions. Terence Winter, Mitchell Burgess & Robin Green, Todd A. Kessler, Michael Imperioli, Diane Frolov & Andrew Schneider (of which I've been a big fan since he wrote "The First" two-parter episode for TV's The Incredible Hulk back in 1981), Frank Renzulli, Jason Cahill, Lawrence Konner, David Chase and, last and certainly least (although "The Blue Comet" went a long way to redeem him in my eyes), Matthew Weiner. May the name "The Sopranos" on your resume earn you working opportunities and the undying envy of everyone you meet in showbusiness. :cool:

Re: 86 Long: Thanks and Praise for Television's Greatest Ach

What it comes down to is that this show right here is my all-time absolute favorite show ever. Nothing will ever replace this show for me, nothing. Fan since episode 1 in 1999 and every Sunday each season i made sure come 9pm I was infront of my tv because I wanted to see what going to happen next. I always taped the show and watched it over and over during the week because it was just that good to me and it never let me down....

When it comes to this show I am a fanboy......

Re: 86 Long: Thanks and Praise for Television's Greatest Ach

Can anyone tell me if "86 Long" is the new title of this episode?

I understand that "Made in America" was at one time a working title for this episode. But was the title changed to 86 Long? Or is Fly just referring to the fact that it is the 86th episode in the series? I.E. the entire series is 86 episodes long.

"The Sopranos" will be to TV during the turn of the millenium what "I Love Lucy" was to TV during the 1950s.

I believe you are correct and I certainly hope so. The only thing I'd like to add is that most TV stations seem to feel they have to edit the dialog so that terms like "mother-fucker" become inane things like "mother-bleeper" or similar nonsense. I just hope that when they rebroadcast episodes, they leave the audio alone. It turns the episodes into disasters when they mess up the dialog like that.

What it comes down to is that this show right here is my all-time absolute favorite show ever.

I got a laugh out of your use of the adjective modifier "right here". I love the way these NJ people use that kind of modifier to try and make things clear. I usually catch one example of this in most shows but naturally can't remember an exact one now. Most of them attempt to clarify a location such as .. "that place over there" or "come up to the cottage up here". Some of my favorite come out of Carm's mouth when she tries to question one of her kids about something she doesn't understand. She'll say, "What is this, now?" For some reason it seems to make it appear as if the kids are mistaken and owe her an explanation.

Re: 86 Long: Thanks and Praise for Television's Greatest Ach

The Sopranos is certainly among the most important landmarks not only in television history but in the history of filmed drama. I am confident that it will be studied in film schools as long as such schools exist while also nosing its way into conventional college literature courses. David Chase's name easily belongs next to names like Tennessee Williams and William Shakespeare. His genius as a writer and as an observer of humanity is that towering.

Without James Gandolfini's virtuostic skill as an actor and God-given capacity to elicit sympathy, even when behaving in the most unsympathetic ways, I know I would never have come to love this show as deeply as I love it. My obsession could never have happened without his face, his voice, his mannerisms, his paradoxically hulking frame and palpable vulnerabilities making me care so deeply about Tony Soprano.

The base of supporting talent is also remarkable. The co-writers -- in particular Terrence Winter, Robin Green, and Mitchell Burgess -- are certainly deserving of big time solo gigs on the strength of their outstanding contributions to The Sopranos.

The supporting cast all had their moments to shine over the years, and not one of them ever failed to deliver when it was their turn at bat. Though I had little like for Christopher as a character, I credit Michael Imperioli with making him as real and dynamic as any character on the show. Dominic Chianese and Aida Turturo were equally impressive in their supporting roles. And no mention of casting could be complete without acknowledging the late, great Nancy Marchand, who quite simply breathed life into a character of legendary proportions. Had she made it through a few more seasons, I very likely would consider her the second most important actor on the show.

Instead, I grant that consideration to Edie Falco. Though her character is secondary to Gandolfini's in importance, she is second to no one in the consistent excellence of her performances. Perhaps the ultimate tribute to Falco is that she could share the screen so often with an actor/character combination as imposing as Gandolfini/Tony and still command just as much attention.

The regular and guest directors certainly did their fair share to make this series a classic, and season 6B may well mark the finest-directed series of episodes yet. They have been ably assisted by the two main directors of photography, who consistently lit and captured the most alluring pictures on television. The editing of the footage, as supervised by Chase, was every bit as good as the capture. Throughout the production chain, the executive crews always found appropriate visual and aural techniques to convey the story, sometimes in very innovative ways. After 80-odd hours featuring countless acts of violence, it's a tribute to their creativity and quest for truth that they could so thoroughly put the viewer inside a moment as surreal and startling as the Torciani hit of Stage 5.

To all these folks, to every single member of the cast -- departed and current, to all the production staff who performed hour after hour of essential but unglorified work, to Brad Grey and the executives of HBO who saw early what no one else in programming could see and laid out the cash to bring this series to the screen, I offer my deepest thanks. You've all been part of something that really matters. For myself and many that watched this series, it will remain deeply embedded in our psyches for the rest of our lives, helping to shape the way we view film and even the way we view the complexities of human existence. Not a bad way to spend 10 years.:icon_wink:
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: 86 Long: Thanks and Praise for Television's Greatest Ach

Well, shit, how do I follow THAT?

So I won't even try to surpass it, just echo most of it.

Edie Falco, bar none, is one of the finest dramatic actresses to ever grace the screen. Every single moment she's on, you BELIEVE her, you BELIEVE she is a living breathing mafia wife, bound by Catholic traditions as well as material desires. She was the first that didn't have a role that was a cookie cutter wife, or a cookie cutter victim, and she nailed every little detail.

All of the other actors were perfect choices for their roles, but to me Edie just stands out so much. Having said that, I do have to say again, every person cast was perfect for the role they were given. The mafia/godfather genre is a pretty closed fraternity, and you just can tell that everyone you've seen before in other roles in other movies or shows just "gets" what they are supposed to be portraying.

Big props to the writers, directors, etc, for not shying away from embracing the culture. Not just the mafia in the headlines - but paying homage to what came before - goodfellas, godfather trilogy, et al. In addition, not being afraid to make the casual/subtle nod towards itself. Having Christopher come into the room quoting bruce springsteen, a subtle nod to music playing in the background, twisting spider getting shot in the foot 180 degrees....perfect.

The attention to detail was just astounding, where even the smallest part wasn't pounded into the show, but lovingly crafted to dovetail perfectly with current events, or overall story arcs. There was almost no fat or filler, meat byproducts or other crap. You can tell that each word printed on the script was thought about extensively, to make sure it fit, to make sure it was worthy, to make sure it meant something.

While not every single episode was perfect, even the weakest episode was 10x better than the drivel on network TV (which may not be saying much, really). I applaud HBO for sticking with the show for as long as they did. I weep thinking about other series (Rome, Deadwood, for example) being cancelled well before they were done, but at least the Sopranos was around a good long time.

Thank you, David Chase, for bringing into all of our lives one of the best (if not the best) television in 50+ years. I suspect it will be another 50 before anything else comes close.
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