DVD REVIEW: The Sopranos

HBO
Series •••• Picture •••• Sound •••½ Extras ••½
And the hits just keep on coming! The 12 episodes in this four-disc half-season set throw murder, loyalty, fidelity, betrayal, alcoholism, recovery, homosexuality, and organized religion at us, each peppered with a liberal dash of moral hypocrisy. Viewers would surely benefit from some in-depth commentaries here, but we're given only a quartet of surface-scratching conversation pieces. Three of them & by series creator David Chase and writers Terence Winter and Matthew Weiner & lightly inform without taking sides. The one by actors Edie Falco, Robert Iler, and Jamie Lynn Sigler avoids all issues entirely.

In character, though, Falco is exceptionally strong, her Carmela Soprano a dramatic miracle. The actress's expressive face betrays each tiny emotion, seen clearly in the sharp transfer. As usual with this series, whether it's blood or wine, colors are natural and picture contrast is excellent. The sound is mostly up front, focusing attention on the crisp dialogue, but occasionally the surround channels kick in for a memorable explosion or an angry scattering of dishes at a restaurant. [TV-MA] English, Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish, Dolby Digital stereo; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; four dual-layer discs.

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