The Sopranos

Hard to believe that it is been 20 years since its debut on HBO. The series held America’s fascination, at least for those who were on Cable TV and subscribed to HBO. It’s about the head of the New Jersey Mafia and his family.

With this program critics talked about the beginning of a new Golden Age for the small screen.

And there have been some great programs since then. Just a few off the top of my head – Battlestar Gallactica (not the silly one from the 70s), Dexter, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Deadwood just to name a few…

I think there is something in common with all memorable shows: Writing, casting, and directing. If all those are on point, and the audience discovers it in time (which these days the networks have less and less patience for a new show to find its audience), you have “lightning in a bottle“. I would describe that is an indefinable magic when all 3 of those come together. When the actors come together and their total performance is more than what they could do individually but together, you have that magic, providing there is a good plot and good writing.

Look at the British show TopGear. They had all of the above, but when the 3 presenters left, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the show is still trying to find its way back.

I remember reading sometime ago that Seinfeld for a year was floundering until the audience found it. If it were to come today I am sure it would have been banished after 6 months. It became one of the most successful sitcoms of all time.

Other great shows never stayed because of network impatience or poor placement. I’m thinking of Firefly, which should have gone for years. It lasted for 14 or so episodes. There have been plenty of others.

Anyway, The Sopranos is on Amazon Prime now and like those viewers 20 years ago,  I became hooked. Since I told a server at dinner tonight about it and she hadn’t heard of it) (?!) but got her interested enough to look it up,  I guess I’ll keep the spoilers out.

But in one episode you can see family drama, comedy, and violence (you never know if/when someone is going to get “whacked”. And through the series there have been over 100 killed. In virtually every episode you see Tony Soprano at a session with his psychiatrist.   A critic said that these sessions were integral with the success of the show, and I agree. Tony reveals his self (without telling the Dr. about his mob business).

Like 15 years ago, American’s were talking about the ending. It isn’t conventional.

Was Tony Soprano killed? David Chase deliberately left it ambiguous.

Some are positive that he was; me, I’m not so sure. There is evidence either way.

Even the cast, at a 20 year reunion, isn’t sure he was killed. The writers didn’t tell them.

Or maybe I should say, “Nobody knows nuthin’ “.

It’s a nice interview.

If you haven’t seen The Sopranos , I highly recommend it.


Filed under Media

2 responses to “The Sopranos

  1. Just finished it for the second time around!

    • Bill Brandt

      I am enjoying reading the interviews with the players and David Chase. It really was a landmark series and even the real gangsters liked it!

      I’m sure I will be watching it again very soon too.

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