Now that the hit Mob show's season has ended, Bruce Fretts offers some tips on how to cope with painful withdrawal symptoms

By Bruce Fretts
Updated April 08, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Sopranos

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  • TV Show
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‘The Sopranos’ is off the air

If you’re one of the 10 million Americans undergoing withdrawal since last Sunday’s season finale of HBO’s highly addictive Mob drama ”The Sopranos,” don’t whack yourself yet. Although Tony, Carmela, Big Pussy, and the gang won’t return with new episodes until January, there are steps you can take to satiate your ”Sopranos” jones. Short of actually joining la cosa nostra, here are a few suggestions for treating your symptoms:

Go see ”Analyze This.” The Billy Crystal-Robert DeNiro box office hit shares the same premise as ”Sopranos”: A Mafioso consults a shrink after suffering panic attacks. While it’s much broader and less affecting, the flick does offer a few yuks. If ”Sopranos” is a shot of pure TV heroin, ”This” could be your methadone.

Take a trip to the land of ”Oz.” Two seasons before ”Sopranos,” Tom Fontana’s extra-explicit jailhouse drama patented the formula for an HBO hour that daringly mixes dark humor with horrific violence. The faint of heart should be aware that ”Oz” (rerunning Wednesdays at 10 p.m.) is a harsher show, though. If ”Sopranos” is a shot of pure TV heroin, ”Oz” is pure black tar TV heroin.

Organize your own crime-family film festival. The media-savvy characters on ”Sopranos” are constantly referencing the cinematic oeuvres of ”Francis” and ”Marty,” so now is the perfect time to rerent Coppola’s ”Godfather” parts I and II and Scorsese’s ”Goodfellas,” the series’ biggest influence. But ”Godfather III” is an offer you CAN refuse, and ”Casino” isn’t a good bet, either.

Watch ”Sopranos” again. If you weren’t enough of a wiseguy to tape all 13 episodes when they first aired, HBO will repeat the entire series beginning June 9. I rarely enjoy reruns, but I’ve seen most of the episodes more than once, and multiple ”Sopranos” viewings reveal nuances you might’ve missed the first time. Like the finely textured work of the topless dancers at the Ba-Da-Bing Club.

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The Sopranos

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