Signature Moment | Television
Two Sudden Blank-Outs: 'Sopranos' & Sally
Among the most memorable TV moments of the year was the silence heard 'round the world -- that sudden plunge to a black screen and blank soundtrack that ended "The Sopranos" mid-scene after its stellar six-year run. It's arguable whether any other ending available to canny creator David Chase could have caused as much discussion and debate as the hauntingly uncertain one he devised. The Emmy Awards were marred by a dark and perhaps portentous moment that also involved an unexpected -- and in this case, totally unwarranted -- silence. Sally Field was accepting a prize and talking about mothers and war when suddenly the Fox censor chose to delete some of her words before they could go out to America on the time-delayed telecast. Fox used the absurd FCC crackdown on "obscenity" as its excuse, but the action smacked of political censorship and seriously befouled the American airwaves.
-- Tom Shales