It’s relatively rare to run into a bad-guy character who is simultaneously (a) detestable, (b) pathetic and (c) fascinating. David Proval‘s Richie Aprile, who was only around for season #2, was such a character. Whenever he showed up or glared or said something threatening or ominous I always muttered “your attitude is toxic and your scowling is monotonous….find some new material, ya putz.” And yet he was never boring. Characters who are this repulsive turn me off sooner or later, sometimes in a matter of minutes.

Aprile took two bullets in the chest 17 years and three months ago. Okay, on 4.2.00 — near the end of the twelfth episode. The Sopranos ended almost exactly a decade ago, on 6.2.07.

From “You Gonna Cry Now?”, posted on 3.27.13: Richie Aprile was shot by Janice Soprano in “The Knight in White Satin Armour.” Time sure flies along. I dearly love the way Janice’s younger brother enters very cautiously, like an animal approaching sleeping prey, and then strokes his chin when he realizes what’s happened.

I swear to God this series made me feel so at home, like I was sitting in a suburban New Jersey diner somewhere with friends on a Friday evening or Saturday morning. It made me feel wise and comfortable and secure while fully reminding me in each episode of all the plagues and anxieties.

I understand and accept that you can’t call up and order great dramas like takeout. Profound art has no pre-set conditions and timetables. There’s no dependability — it happens when it happens, when the mood strikes. (And when it’s not, like when David Chase made Not Fade Away.) It’s entirely possible there won’t be another bull’s-eye series quite like The Sopranos ever again. And that’s fine. The Next Big Thing will have its own flavor and rhyme and attitude. But I still miss The Sopranos from time to time. The heart grows fonder.