THE SOPRANOS (HBO, above - left). Jersey mafia don Tony Soprano: bigger than your average bear, and ten times as deadly. These movie-quality transfers set the standard, with excellent contrast, rich colors, and crisp, atmospherically lit images.
From the late 1960s through the early '70s, Americans saw the crumbling of the old morality, which gave way to the new twin blights of urban decay and bad hair. If this golden age of anti-heroes and the stars who played them is your bag - if you take your detectives tough, your streets mean, and your realism gritty - then you'll want to add some of these movies to your collection.
"A guy walks into a talent agent's office.... " From that humble beginning spring 100 or so different riffs on perhaps the most vile, grotesque joke ever told. And the tellers here include everyone from Don Rickles, George Carlin, and Martin Mull to Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried, and Jon Stewart.
Although Martin Scorsese has drawn some compelling performances out of his cast - particularly Mark Wahlberg, who rises to the challenge as never before - The Departed lacks the visual flair of the director's other works.