The Sopranos: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (10 Jan. 1999)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Crime, Drama
8.8
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 2,753 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 3 critic

A mobster passes out at a family barbecue and seeks therapy to understand why.

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Title: Pilot (10 Jan 1999)

Pilot (10 Jan 1999) on IMDb 8.8/10

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Storyline

Tony Soprano is a New Jersey mobster with a complicated life. He's recently passed out as a result of an anxiety attack and begins to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Tony's mother is at an age where she should be in a retirement home but she flatly refuses, obviously preferring to nag at her son. His father's brother, Uncle Junior, is planning a hit at a restaurant owned by his high school buddy Artie Bocco. A rival company is edging in on his trash removal business. At home, his teenager daughter Meadow is rebelling against parental authority, especially her mother's. Finally, a family of wild ducks that had taken to living in his backyard pool and who he fed regularly has flown away. Written by garykmcd

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

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TV-MA | See all certifications »

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10 January 1999 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Tony is referred to here as "the boss" as well as "the Don of New Jersey". Yet in the next episode, new character Jackie Aprile is the (acting) boss and Tony is only one of many crew captains, or a capo, though he is considered the heir apparent. See more »

Goofs

Whenever the ducks are swimming in Tony's pool they begin to flap their wings as if trying to fly. Just as Tony yells for his kids to come witness it, someone can be seen slamming their foot down near the edge of the pool where the ducks are swimming in order to scare them into flapping their wings and flying away. See more »

Quotes

Tony Soprano: Let me tell ya something. Nowadays, everybody's gotta go to shrinks, and counselors, and go on "Sally Jessy Raphael" and talk about their problems. What happened to Gary Cooper? The strong, silent type. That was an American. He wasn't in touch with his feelings. He just did what he had to do. See, what they didn't know was once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings that they wouldn't be able to shut him up! And then it's dysfunction this, and dysfunction that, and dysfunction ...
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Connections

References The Godfather (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Shame, Shame, Shame
(uncredited)
Composed by Sylvia Robinson
Performed by Shirley Goodman & Company
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User Reviews

 
Decent premiere and promising psychological arc
15 May 2013 | by (France) – See all my reviews

Despite its cult status The Godfather is definitely not in my favorites list. I'm just not stimulated by these gangster-driven productions. That's why it took me so long to finally check out The Sopranos. Now that I have seen its pilot despite a few interesting elements I'm convinced that I could have spent the hour doing something more important.

If conventional mob stories bore you to death, move on. The pilot featured everything you can expect from the genre : Murders, explosions… So it's probably entertaining to many people, otherwise the show wouldn't have been so successful, but it lacked the creativity and boldness some premieres have been remembered for. The production is good, it's immersive, but not a single scene wowed me. Only a surprising lighting in an outdoor scene caught my attention. The rest felt like déjà vu and it also applies to the characters.

The story is really about Tony Soprano's struggle as a criminal, husband and father. James Gandolfini's performance was convincing but his part wasn't demanding. However I'm sure he was hired for a reason and that some of the upcoming episodes put him in a whole new light. In fact this first installment also portrayed him as a normal man, the nice neighbor next door. The psychotherapy sessions were specially enlightening to comprehend what's going on behind the curtain and at times it was hilarious. They also served to joint the different sequences and delivered an interesting way to introduce the protagonist. Lorraine Bracco made a decent shrink as Doctor Jennifer Melfi and her dynamic with the patient was quite good actually. The ducks metaphora was thoughtful and well exploited all along the episode. So even if her seduction factor makes her less believable their relationship is by far the most intriguing element.

Beside their arc I was also moved by a discussion Tony had with his daughter in a church about two of their ancestors who had built it. She mocked his words but he explained that they were among a crew and she realized how proud they must have been. It opened the Soprano family history book and revealed a certain potential behind the action and neverending manipulations. Even his wife mentioned something about spirituality so maybe the series deserve a second look.


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