So, my new sweetheart (who needs a blog name, the Carpenter?) hasn’t had cable these past few years, and isn’t really a tv person. But because he tends to work late, and we eat dinner late, neither of us has the energy for a whole movie. But it’s too early to go to bed, and so I’ve discovered the wonderful world of TV series on DVD. The Carpenter has never seen the Sopranos, or Deadwood, or Rome, or even Planet Earth — all of which are now rotating through my Netflix queue.
Can I tell you how much fun it is to start all over again and with someone who has no idea what’s coming? While it’s very hard for me not to keep jumping in with things like “oh, that’s Livia — the meanest mother ever,” or “that’s Calamity Jane, she gets much more interesting,” it’s still really cool to start over from the beginning.
We watched the first episode of The Sopranos last night — and wow. The ducks! Tony is so thin! Dr. Melfi’s office is all different! The priest — I’d forgotten about the annoying priest! Meadow was so young, and not having eating disorder issues yet!
My theory is that these long-arc narrative series are the Dickensian novels of our time — big sprawling episodic dramas in which there’s plenty of room for characters to unspool and develop (especially for the Sopranos which went for so many seasons). And watching these first few episodes have been really fun because it’s clear that characters I thought were minor the first time through, were already designated for development in ways I didn’t anticipate. Like re-reading a favorite novel, the pleasure this time around comes not so much from finding out what happens, but from watching how it happens (and of course, from getting to share it with someone new).