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Today's Big Story

Sopranos Gets Whacked

What will take its place?

By Richard Warnica 11 Jun 2007 | TheTyee.ca

Richard Warnica is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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Sunday’s Sopranos finale must go down as the most highly anticipated and minutely dissected moment in the oh so recently fused history of high art and cable television.

The weekend papers were stuffed with obituaries for the show many say redefined the boundaries of the small screen. And on Monday, everyone from ESPN’s pop-riffing super columnist Bill Simmons, to the NY Times’ polymath news blogger Mike Nizza were picking through the remains of the eight year phenomenon. Interest was so high that in the aftermath of the show, HBO's website crashed under the weight of anxious viewers alternately angry, perplexed and saddened by the show's anti-climatic denouement.

Regular Tyee books writer and Sopranos aficionado Charles Demers summed up the feelings of many with a well timed status change on the near-ubiquitous social networking site Facebook on Sunday. “[W]hat kind of world,” he wondered, “allows the Iraq war to continue whereas Sopranos has to end?”

But worry not you cinéastes of the small-screen (is that even possible?), The Sopranos has an heir, at least down south. Writing in these pages last fall, Steve Burgess came off, by his own admission, "somewhat like a guy in a bad suit standing on your doorstep holding a religious pamphlet” in his praise for the Sopranos cable-mate The Wire.

“Fans of The Wire tend toward zealotry,” he wrote, “simply because the Baltimore-based cop series is something of a TV miracle. Creator David Simon wrote the books that provided the source material for the acclaimed series Homicide: Life on the Street, and the HBO miniseries The Corner. But The Wire is Simon's masterpiece.”

But what about in Canada? Is there a show in production north of the 49th that can compete with the narrative depth and character development of the Sopranos, or even that of its HBO offspring like The Wire or Deadwood? How about CBC's Intelligence or CTV's brilliant Ben Mulroney vehicle, eTalk Daily? What are your picks for Canada's Sopranos heirs. And if there are none, why? Post your answers in the comments.  [Tyee]

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