'Sopranos' will say goodbye this year



The final eight episodes will begin in April.
By CHUCK BARNEY
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
How will it all end?
That question figures to be on the lips of millions of TV viewers this spring as we at long last prepare to bid farewell to "The Sopranos."
Will Tony (James Gandolfini) wind up sleeping with the fishes? What's in store for Carmela (Edie Falco) and the kids? And who among our Jersey goons will be left standing once the dust settles?
Closure has been a long time in coming. The final eight episodes of a piecemeal Season 6 were supposed to originally launch on HBO in January, but were pushed back to April to allow Gandolfini to recover from knee surgery. Thus, 10 months will have passed since the first half of the season concluded.
Of course, lengthy delays are old hat for "Sopranos" fans, and over time we've learned that it's a fool's errand to attempt to predict what creator David Chase has planned. His plot-wielding tendencies, after all, are almost as difficult to predict as Uncle Junior's mental lapses.
All the uncertainty figures to only heighten the suspense and make these the most eagerly anticipated episodes of the year. To get us primed, HBO will re-air episodes from the first half of Season 6 beginning on Jan. 15.
Here are a few more television projects to be on the lookout for in 2007:
"The Black Donnellys" -- Paul Haggis, the Oscar-winning writer of "Crash" and "Million Dollar Baby," co-created this drama series that follows the exploits of four young working-class Irish brothers involved in organized crime. March, NBC.
"The War" -- Ken Burns, who made his mark with "The Civil War," returns to the battlefield to confront the World War II experience by focusing on four American cities that were transformed by the event. It's another epic documentary -- clocking in at around 15 hours. Fall, PBS.
"On the Lot" -- Mark Burnett and Steven Spielberg are the brains behind this reality series that invites viewers into the filmmaking process. It follows 16 wannabe directors who will create short films each week and compete for a studio development deal. Spring, Fox.
"John From Cincinnati" -- Writer-producer David Milch wowed us with "Deadwood," so expectations are high for this new series, which follows a wealthy Ohio native who moves to California and winds up crashing with a whacked-out family of ex-surfers. Summer, HBO.

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