This weekend, I managed to finish up two sequences: The final year of the Sopranos (Season 6) and the third season of Lost. I'm tempted to talk about them behind a cut, but for the moment let me ramble without spoilers: These were easily the worst seasons for both shows.
Lost, especially in the first few episodes, was just awful. I'm so glad I could zip through these. I don't really care about the characters anymore. They largely abandoned the character studies (via flashback) for a... a... (I almost hate to say it)... a plot. And a really dumb plot. I have my theory as to What's Really Going On, which was greatly strengthened by Season 3. I'll probably watch Season 4, when it comes out in DVD. I'm not going to waste my time watching it on air.
Season 3 of Alias was the worst one too. JJ Abrams likes to come up with interesting ideas without building the background first, which falters after a while.
Meanwhile, The Sopranos ended with a thud. Not just the famous last shot (which was okay), but the whole series of shows leading up to the last one. In a flip of Alias, the first ones of the Season were good, as Tony Soprano continues his journey of self-discovery and gets almost Buddhist. But they throw this away and he reverts to being a murderous thug.
They're all murderous thugs, and the show is built around showing the human side of being murderous thugs. Amusing for a while, but ultimately unstained. Paulie is the equivalent of Sawyer on Lost: Hard to like, and quickly descended into comic relief. This came back to haunt Tony at the end.
The best thing about the Sopranos, of course, is the parody on The Simpsons. I was vastly amused that I managed to watch the DVD of one episode and last Sunday's Simpsons made a direct reference to it. The Simpsons is usually pretty good about making their references funny even if you don't catch the antecedent, but I'm not sure it would have come off if you weren't familiar with the original. Oh well.
Next up: Buffy Season 6 and Battlestar Galactica Season 3. I'm also reading Frankenstein, and put the Frankenstein/Bride of Frankenstein disk in the queue as part of my Read The Book, See The Movie education.