I fell by last night’s Sopranos premiere (i.e., a screening of the final season’s first two episodes) at the Radio City Music Hall. After it was over, I mean (around 9:40 pm), and as the after-party was about to begin. Fox News entertainment reporter and all-around good guy Bill McCuddy offered to take me inside as his plus-one, but it was mainly a cast-and-crew party, there was a huge, slow-moving line waiting near 50th Street and Sixth Avenue to get in, and it looked like too much of a zoo.

Just after last night’s Sopranos premiere at the Radio City Music Hall — Tuesday, 3.27.06, 9:43 pm

In his usual smiling, smart-assed way, McCuddy said that he was happy with what he saw (“Tony dies in the first episode,” etc.), and a guy standing next to him (presumably a friend, shorter, wearing a nice suit) felt the same.

N.Y. Daily News critic David Bianculli has written that “the first two hours of this final cycle are really good — alternately funny, dramatic, poignant and surprising — but they’re all mostly tease. After last year’s season of simmering, this mixture has to boil — fast. Even the most fervent and forgiving fans of the HBO series (and I count myself among them) have to start looking at the clock and stop excusing every scene as merely a foundation for the Big Ending.”