As a devoted fan of HBO’s The Sopranos I wasn’t just disappointed, I felt almost insulted, when I heard that HBO’s next drama series would be about a family of undertakers, Six Feet Under. This seemed like a classic example of network execs trying to carbon copy a good idea and failing pitifully rather than daring to use the same originality and abandon that got them a blockbuster in the first place.
Oh, you think the show about the crime family is good? Well, hey, this one’s gonna be about a family of undertakers! It can’t lose! They’re handling dead guys all the time. It’ll be great! That or like, you know, a sitcom about a hapless serial killer who’s got a heart of gold. You get the idea. Anyway, it turns out this new show is really good. Dark, and muted, and anxious, with a mix of clotted emotion and deathly detachment. No, Sopranos it ain’t. But then what is? It’s an impossible standard. Definitely give it a try.