James Gandolfini, <EM>The Sopranos</EM> James Gandolfini, The Sopranos
The Sopranos  After nearly two years with no new Sopranos episodes, we knew a big surprise was coming, and I give HBO credit for keeping it under wraps. I have to admit, I didn't think anything was going to happen to Tony; my guess was that Christopher was going to buy it (and I'm still not convinced he's going to stay healthy for long). So yes, I was surprised. But I'm afraid this is the weekend for being disappointed by my favorite shows (Exhibit B: my

Galactica write-up below).

See, here's why this is a no-win situation. The big question of this season is going to be Tony's ultimate fate. They've made us like him on many levels, but this is, at its heart, a Shakespearean story. Now, as we all know, Shakespeare's antiheroes didn't usually do very well in the end, and I assume Tony won't, either. But that's the end, and we're just starting the season here. So either way I'm going to be annoyed. If he actually dies from Junior plugging him (which we know he won't), the show's ruined. No question. And if he doesn't? David Chase and company started the season with an unnecessary cliff-hanger: Everybody's already primed to watch The Sopranos, which remains one of the best shows on TV. So I feel gimmick-smacked, but that said, of course, it's not a really big deal. Still love the show, the writing and the acting. Damned glad to have it back. Just don't do this kind of thing too often, huh?