Will someone please explain to me what's going on on the Sopranos?.

First of all, KONSTANTIN, this IS the best show on TV (of course, with North Shore pulling a close second before it was yanked); and make all the Nate Myles Long Television-Viewing-Habits comments you want: The Sopranos is a great show, and I'll tell ya what, I can't wait to start watching that first season of Deadwood I have downloaded, thank you very much.

Secondly, this show is too damned good to only be on 12 episodes per season. I'm just glad I wasn't hooked in when it first started, because by now I'd be this mindless, drooling zombie slave to anything and everything Sopranos-related. As it stands, I got caught up on the first five seasons throughout 2005 (in the midst of its longest hiatus yet), now I'm three or four deep into Season 6, with another 16-17 episodes left in the run of the series.

And I'm about as boondoggled as they get as to what's going to happen next.

Here's what I know: Tony was shot by his uncle; he was in a coma for a couple episodes, and now he seems to be grappling with his own mortality and MORality. Rumors abound as to what's going to happen. Will Tony eventually get whacked? Will they finally bring charges to him? Who will replace him? Will his son finally get his shit together? Will Christopher be annointed (it seems to be what the show's been building to all along)? Will Carmela become the first female boss-leader? She seems to be growing ever-more savvy and numb to the whole Mafioso game with each passing episode.

Here's what I don't get, and this is more of a general thought than a show-related one. The fans of the Sopranos. The real hardcore ones. Those 9 million or so who've patiently waited, retained their HBO membership, and faithfully watch each and every Sunday at 9pm. What do they expect? There can't be whackings in every damned episode! If you've been watching for this long, you've gotta know by now that The Sopranos is more than just Goodfellas for the small screen. It's about psychology, the inner-workings of Tony's mind. It's about family and their relationship with one another in the midst of this alternative lifestyle, all the while trying to carve out a life of their own. Sure, there's violence. It wouldn't be realistic if there wasn't. Apparently, nor would it have the popularity without it. It seems to me the bulk of the audience watches just for the few minutes of bloody satisfaction that comes up in nearly every episode.

Forget the fact that it's got fantastic dialogue, tremendous acting jobs from practically the entire cast, subtle story arcs and twists that actually catch you off guard, making you jump out of your seat in shock. Forget all of that. I LIKE it when Tony has his dream sequences. I LIKE trying to find the hidden meanings in all the little things that happen in between beatings and killings. I LIKE the interviews in the Psychiatrist's office. I anticipate another compelling one-on-one this week, now with Tony out of the hospital.

And, like 24, this show's casting director deserves a fucking medal of honor. They're not much for the big-name guest stars (Steve Buscemi aside); but they don't have to be. They fucking MAKE the big-name stars out of the relative nobodies they put on screen. Nearly everyone they've hired has been perfect for the role they were cast for (ironically enough, Steve Buscemi has been the only one I thought was a little out of place on this show. His story in Season 5 seemed a little too pulled out of David Chase's ass for my taste; but who am I to complain? It's fucking Steve Buscemi, the greatest character actor of our time!).

I'll tell you what. For what Seinfeld was to Comedy, arguably the greatest Television comedy of all time; The Sopranos is to drama. There won't ever be a show as good as this one.

And I'm NOT just saying that because the guy who played Edgar Stiles got his big break on this show as an FBI agent

Bring Back Big Pussy!!