Dylan Jones: If you ask me

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The Independent Online

If you ask me the best thing on television this year was the final two minutes of the final ever episode of the best programme ever broadcast, The Sopranos. The show was obviously shown in the States earlier this year, but one of the necessary by-products of living in a 24/7 media fishbowl is the ability to screen out unwanted info. And the final two minutes of the final episode of the best TV programme ever made was something I studiously avoided until it was shown here in November.

When Tony Soprano glanced upwards and the screen faltered and turned to black, many of us thought our Sky+ facility had decided to implode at the least opportune moment in TV history, although as the credits began to roll we all realised that this was perhaps the only way for David Chase's epic family saga to extinguish itself. Chase says that the show's audience was always bifurcated, and that on one sofa you had a small army who only wanted to see the Bada Bing mob whack people, while on the other you had another bunch who were more interested in the family dynamic.

"I sort of knew that the people who wanted the big bloodbath at the end were not going to be thrilled with the ending, but what I did not realise was how angry those people would get," says Chase. "And it was amazing how long it went on. Especially when you figure that we had a rather significant war going on, and still do."

Ultimately the show's finale was all about the war. The theme of the final episode, no 86, was "Made In America", as much of a reference to Iraq as it is to the financial comfort zone many US citizens find themselves in. Chase says he didn't want to be didactic about it, but all we need to know about the subtext is there on Tony and Carmela's faces when their son AJ tells them he wants to join up. And the final song in the final episode of the greatest television show ever made, the record that will forever be synonymous with closure? Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'". Obviously.

Since The Sopranos has ended, most TV has been so boring I can feel my hair grow whenever I watch it. And much as I like David Duchovny in Californication, like a lot of stuff on television at the moment, I'm watching it because I'm in, not because it's on.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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