“The Sopranos Goes Out with a Rating Bang,” New York Times, June 13,
It’s standard practice, when writing about a work of narrative art, to use
the present tense, and I will generally follow that convention here. But
when it is not awkward to do so, I will sometimes use the past tense to
invoke the reality of a show that ended, that in its original form is no more.
While The Sopranos will have new cultural roles to play, its initial role as a
series, new on the landscape of contemporary media, is over. There is now
a before and an after to the experience of The Sopranos, and my use of the
past tense intends to capture that.
Nico Hines, “The Sopranos Final Episode: Look Away Now,” Times Online,
accessed at 
Robert Warshow, “The Gangster as Tragic Hero,” The Immediate Experi-
ence: Movies, Comics, Theatre, and Other Aspects of Popular Culture, ex-
panded edition (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001 [1962]),
Actually, having a definitive ending in the diner wouldn’t necessarily have
precluded a sequel. When, while The Sopranos was still in its first run on
HBO, I asked a scriptwriter for the series if the oft-floated idea of a movie
indicated that the last episode would leave some points unresolved—and
some characters standing—he replied (while clarifying that his answer
should be taken to be revealing nothing about how the show actually
would proceed in its final season) that David Chase was capable of using
the movie to explore parts of the Sopranos world other than those in the
last season’s narratives: the movie could spin off to concentrate on other
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