James Gandolfini dead at 51" read the headline. The name meant nothing to us. Then the deeply affectionate tributes started pouring in — in print, on TV, and everywhere online — and we quickly learned who James Gandolfini had been: Tony Soprano of the hit HBO series The Sopranos which ran from January, 1999 to June, 2007. We'd never before seen so much as a single episode of the series as we're not an HBO subscriber but were aware of the series's critical acclaim and had promised ourself we'd one day stream a couple episodes from Netflix (our Netflix membership is for streaming content only) just to see what all the critical acclaim was about and whether it was justified or not. Now seemed as good a time as any so off to Netflix we went. "This series is not available for streaming," Netflix curtly informed us. Big surprise. We can't begin to count the number of times we've received that message from Netflix and the only reason we continue our membership there is that it's cheap ($8 per month) and gives us streaming access to Netflix's new original content series such as the excellent House of Cards. Off then we went to our always reliable streaming content provider Amazon Instant Video. Problem is that Amazon Instant Video is a pay-as-you-go operation, title by title. The rent is always cheap enough but over time adds up. Turns out, however, that in this case one cannot rent episodes for streaming from Amazon Instant Video. One must buy them. Well, no matter. The purchase price per episode is as cheap as would be the rental fee (how do they do that?); even less if one buys the episodes in a full Season package. But we wanted only a taste and so decided to purchase for streaming just the first two episodes from Season 1 of the series figuring that would be enough to give us a good fix on the series and at least a good hint as to what the critical fuss was all about, as well as an at least good hint as to the reason for the deluge of deeply affectionate tributes to the deceased Mr. Gandolfini. Foolhardy decision. Our reasoning was sound enough but didn't take into account that we might, like millions before us, get hooked on the bloody thing. Which is just what happened and here we sit after purchasing and streaming the first four episodes of Season 1 and are now getting ready to purchase and stream Episode 5. If the rest of the series lives (lived) up to the promise of those first four episodes we'll be out of pocket serious money by the time we're through but we can now say we know what the critical fuss over the series was all about and understand as well the reason for the extraordinary outpouring of deeply affectionate tributes to the late James Gandolfini. Atque in perpetuum, James, ave atque vale.