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When the last episode of The Sopranos airs in the USA tonight, fans and critics alike will shed one or two tears – not because it might happen that Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) will have to die (bets are closed now): This TV series has transformed American television – The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick called it “the richest achievement in the history of television”. „This is Black Sunday,“ wrote TV chat-show host Dave Cavett in the New York Times ahead of tonight’s broadcast, which will be watched by around 10 million cable viewers.

What has made David Chase’s opus a magnum one is the mixture between mafia-saga and seemingly common family affairs; protagonists who are everything but lovable, but still make it hard for the viewer to resist them; in-depth-psychology and a nihilism, which is reflected in the often brutal and senseless action of the mafia-mobsters, but also in the senselessness even their best deeds leave behind. And, what truly makes it grand: It all seems deeply related to our inability to make a 100 percent moral judgements in everyday life anymore. This mirror function, which is also full of allusions to American contemporary culture (and Italo-American subculture), is what makes it truly epic; with the large portion of humour and suspense on top, The Sopranos will surely leave a big hole in TV entertainment from tomorrow on.

The MSM have reported excessively about it (though not in Germany, where The Sopranos flopped because of having been broadcasted Sunday nights at 11 pm). There are also plenty of farewell posts in lots of blogs.

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