Bada Boom! Page 2

The multitalented Steve Buscemi helms Episode 7, "In Camelot," and the favorite phrase in his commentary seems to be "I love [fill in actor's name here]." Of course, it's hard to argue with the caliber of talent that appears on this show - director included. (He also captained the infamous, classic "Pine Barrens" episode in Season 3, remember.) And, to the no-doubt delight of trivia buffs, Buscemi fills us in on which background/secondary characters are actually played by members of his own family.

Celebrated director Mike Figgis (Leaving Las Vegas) was wonderful in discussing Episode 10, "Cold Cuts." What a twist for him to unabashedly reveal that, unlike in feature films, where the director is often more ensconced in all aspects of the production than the actors are, he was the one who felt like a greenhorn when directing his first episode of the show, since most of the actors have been on it for years and totally know their characters and their motivations inside out. Plus, to him, "the characters are real. It's hard to differentiate between the actors and the characters." And considering the talent pool he was working with, that had to be downright intimidating, especially for a first-timer.

Drea De Matteo was the logical choice to discuss Episode 12, "Long Term Parking," since, in it, her character, Adriana La Cerva, meets her maker. "I used to play Adriana," she joked during the opening credits. We all knew it took hours putting Ade together, but to hear Drea confirm that she and her character couldn't be further apart from each other personality-wise shows how great writing, acting, directing, and, yes, wardrobe and makeup can really make a character sing. "Adriana was the [show's] only innocent character," she repeats throughout her commentary (well, to borrow from the poet laureate known as Britney S., she's "not that innocent"), and offing her "killed the heart of the show." We'll see how dark things get in Season 6 as a result, to be sure...

EXTRAS (NO EXTRAS)

I'd love to discuss the other extras included in this box, but there aren't any. (Episode guides don't count; yawn.) And that's a shame, really, since HBO constantly airs time-between-shows fillers like "The Buzz," where they're on the red carpet (and beyond) interviewing the cast members and creators at premiere events and afterparties. How hard could it be to get these things cleared for inclusion on the DVDs? (Honestly, they should do this for all of their shows' DVDs releases, but don't get me started.)

At any rate, all of this was great ramp-up fodder for Season 6's premiere last night. This may very well become a new ritual for me - rewatching prior seasons almost immediately before new ones air. I tried to do something similar for The Shield before Season 5 jumpstarted on FX back in January, but a little thing called CES got in the way of that idea. I was able to rewatch Season 4 of 24 before their Season 5 hit the ground running on Fox, however. With that pattern now established, would I ever consider skimping on re-immersing myself in my favorite shows down in my home theater, you ask? Fugedaboudit!

POST SCRIPT

If you want to tour the real-life New Jersey locations for The Sopranos, go to www.hbo.com/sopranos/map/. •If you want to play some amusing Soprano games, try www.nj.com/sopranos/sudoku.

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