Doing for funeral directors what The Sopranos did for the mob,

SIX FEET UNDER is only the latest in a long line

of American beauties. So how does the US keep leaving British TV

in its wake?‘

Wolds: Brian Donaldson

18 THE LIST 6—23 Jur‘ 2002

couple holding hands are separated. A lily

blooms. wilts and dies. A bottle of

etnbalming fluid is slowly emptied. A great white light fills the space. A rayen balances menacineg on a branch. Death. The great leyeller. the thing that becomes us. that which was once reported with great exaggeration. The subject that has obsessed the great thinkers from Shakespeare to Simpson (Homer) and Wilde to Woody (Allen).

And with that jet black opening sequence. Six Feet Under is set to make the grave job of undertaking a lyrical L'S televisual experience to match Tony Soprano and his waste management business. Set in a Californian funeral home. Slit [Veer (Km/er follows Fisher & Sons. a small but profitable family concern headed by dad Nathaniel. mum Ruth. sons David and Nate. and teenage daughter Claire. So far so scrummy apple pie. But the series (now about to begin its third season in the ['S) is written by Alan Ball. the man with the acerbic laptop who lost all credit where it was due to British director Sam Mendes when. in 2000. his slum-[tun Beauty nabbed five Oscars.

So. what‘s so good about Sit“ I’ve! ('mlcr'.’ Well. it has all those attributes for which American drama