This week, (tonight, in fact), two building blocks for a new off-shoot dimension of the TV Universe will be set in place.
BET will begin broadcasting the HBO series 'The Wire', while A&E will be showing 'The Sopranos' from the same premium network. However, both series will be edited to be made more "palatable" for regular cable viewers - else the wrath of the PTC and its organ grinder monkey lackey the FCC will be brought down hard.
With 'The Sopranos', whole scenes have been changed, not only in editing out dialogue but in displays of blood splatter and of course the nude girls at the Bada Bing club. Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune listed a few examples of the differences in her column the other day.
Here are two examples that she listed:
Tony is shown with a mob boss pal who’s in the hospital. To cheer him up, Tony has arranged for a stripper dressed as a nurse to drop by and take off her clothes.
The nurse strips, but she’s shown only from the back.
A fellow mobster is whacked by Christopher and Silvio Dante, who runs the Bada Bing.
A second or two showing the victim falling to the floor is excised. It makes you wonder why they bothered trimming this scene at all, since the bloodshed is pretty freakin’ obvious.
You can find the other four examples over in her column "The Watcher", and as always, the link is to the left.
Fundamentally, this creates an entirely new series for 'The Sopranos' and the same probably holds true for 'The Wire' as well. Ultimately this means that these versions of both shows must be shipped out to a new dimension.
O'bviously, two alternate TV dimensions that have to be ruled out of contention would be the Tooniverse and Skitlandia. 'The Sopranos' already exists in the Tooniverse, thanks to an appearance by "Christophuh" Moltisante in an episode of 'The Family Guy'. And there was a sketch for the Emmy Awards a few years back in which T's boys were seen dumping the bodies of the writers for 'Late Night With David Letterman' into a garbage truck... all in a day's work for the waste management crew in the world of sketch comedy.
I doubt these edited versions belong in the "evil mirror universe" dimension, as such editing defeats the purpose of these characters as being really evil. Besides, in that TV dimension, maybe everybody in 'The Sopranos' are perfect little angels while Father Phil and the government are the real evil characters.
The only established alternate dimension where these new versions could go would be to the land of the remakes. By changing dialogue and re-shooting certain angles, in a way both 'The Wire' and 'The Sopranos' have become remakes of their former selves.
Otherwise, we should just roll them up in tarps and dump them in the swamps of a new dimension, one that has been sanitized for your protection.