The Sopranos (TV Series 1999–2007) Poster

(1999–2007)

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10/10
A Reminder That Not All Modern TV is Poor
Johnny-Sack11 March 2006
The Sopranos is arguably the greatest show in Dramatic Television history.

Its hard to think of another series that boasts so much intelligence, sublime writing or first rate performances.

Across its epic scope it produces fresh and iconic characters and a constant level of high quality. Centering around the life of one Tony Soprano, a man who lives in two families. One is the conventional wife and two kids nuclear family the other a huge New Jersey Mafia group, of which he is the boss of both. Played by James Gandolfini, of True Romance and The Mexican fame, Tony is a fascinating, scary but also likable guy. Full praise must be given to Gandolfini for making a womanising and horrifically aggressive brute a genuinely identifiable and perfect leading man. Contemporay American drama has never had such an arresting and iconic figure as Tony.

The cast of hundreds never boasts a flat performance and such stand out characters like Paulie Walnuts and Ralph Cifaretto will stick in your memory for ever.

The true genius of this tale however, is the creator and writers bravery and revolutionary take on a conventional drama series. Twenty minute long dream sequences, powerful and original use of symbolism and metaphorical imagery and truly shocking scenes of violence. Yet all this style is met by truly touching themes of love, honour and respect for family. The series never becomes cold hearted or gratuitous.

With TV now competitive and often poor The Sopranos stands tall above the rest as America's most original and compelling drama. Forget Family Redifined. This is Television Redifined.
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10/10
Television. Redefined.
Inglourious_Basterd2126 August 2006
What can you possibly say about a show of this magnitude? "The Sopranos" has literally redefined television as we know it. It has broken all rules, and set new standards for television excellence. Everything is flawless, the writing, directing, and for me, most of all, the acting. Watching this show you'll find yourself realizing that these characters are NOT real. The acting tricks you into thinking there is a real Tony Soprano, or any character. This show is also very versatile. Some people don't watch the show because it's violent, it's not all about the violence, it's about business, family, and many deeper things that all depend on what you, as a fan see. For me, I don't like when people refer to the show, a show about the Mafia. For me, it's a show about family. A family who, through generations, happen to be apart of the mob. Overall this is a masterpiece of a show. This is what television should be. Right here. Complex characters from stunning acting, magnificent story lines from brilliant writing, and what do you get when you mix these ingredients together? A show that defines excellence, and dares to be different.
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BRILLIANT!!!
BlackJack_B9 March 2001
The only show on T.V. worth watching in a sea of bad. Great acting, excellent music, intriguing storylines, and even hilarious situations are combined with HBO's no-holds-barred content. James Gandolfini is mesmerizing as Tony Soprano, a lynchpin in the Italian Mafia. However, instead of seeing Tony as just a one-dimensional thug, we see that he has a life outside of his criminal activities, and that's what makes this show different from it's competition. It's a different side to the story of criminals, that they have normal lives when not breaking the law. The entire supporting cast is brilliant, especially Edie Falco, as Tony's wife Carmela, a deeply religious woman who stands behind her man despite all of his sins and Lorraine Bracco, as Dr. Jennifer Merlhi, Tony's psychiatrist; a woman who fears him when she is giving him therapy, but secretly is attracted to him when they're apart. This is indeed "the show that revolutionized T.V." See it!!!
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Best mob/gangster show ever
helgethuv24 April 2006
The Sopranos is one of the best TV-shows I have ever seen. If you like gangster/mobster/mafia movies, I can strongly recommend "The Sopranos". The show is mainly about Anthony "Tony" Soprano and his life as a father, husband and leader of a mob in the 21st century. The show is (as far as I know) realistic, compared to many other mafia shows and movies I have seen. The actors fit like a glove to their parts. This show made me realize how good many of these actors are in other shows and movies. This show has it all; humor, action, drama, good music, good actors, good "behind the camera" people and a good plot. The show displays all sides of the mob business; "buisness", private life, the cops/FBI point of view, the victims side of the story and much more.
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10/10
Quite simply, the greatest television show of all time
galileo318 March 2008
THE SOPRANOS (1999-2007)

Number 1 - Television Show of all Time

Everyone thought this would be a stupid thing that wouldn't go past a pilot episode. The Sopranos has become a cultural phenomenon and universally agreed as one of the greatest television shows of all time.

James Gandolfini plays the enigmatic New Jersey crime boss, Tony Soprano, accompanied by a stellar cast. Edie Falco is superb as the worrying, loving upper-middle class mother; Tony Sirico is tremendous as a superstitious, greying consiglieri who is often very funny.

While the show has often been criticised for the negative stereotype of Italian-Americans as mafiosi, and to an extent this is undeniable, I can see so many positives from the show. The portrayal of strong family values, friendships, love and compassion; could this be present in a coarse television show about gangsters? Yes. Furthermore, other burning issues are discussed such as terrorism, social inequality and injustice, homosexuality, drugs etc. This is no shallow, dull show about tough guys and violence. It has so much more. Many of the issues we see on the show are very real.

The writing which has been pretty much great has infused so successfully current issues and managed to imbred them within the characters' lives, which makes the whole thing more interesting.

Credit must go to David Chase who has created an excellent television treasure and to James Gandolfini, for envisioning, television's most complex and enigmatic character.

Simply exceptional.

10/10
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Not what I expected
tiny_tina128 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
At first the only reason I watched the Sopranos was for my husband, but I did keep an open mind. Soon after renting the first season both he and I were hooked. The characters were so real. You liked to love them and you liked to hate them. It was also very convenient that they killed all the characters that I thought should have been killed. ;) The irony of the show is that most of the time we get this mob picture of a character like Pauly just having fun and acting tough. This shows you the fears and weaknesses of toughest wise guys.

You see Tony's inner conflict (James Gandolfini is a great actor) between being a good husband and father and his reputation and duties to the mob. You also see Carmela's side with Tony always gone, but she still tries to make it work and she still loves him. I love the different characters, they really picked a great cast.

The show just keeps your attention because you never know what will happen or how characters will react. I highly recommend it for people who don't have weak stomachs.

P.S. For the people who don't like it, It is called ENTERTAINMENT.
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10/10
The Best Show on TV Now
MisterWhiplash31 January 2000
The Sopranos is a terrific show. It may be violent, racist, sexist, and bad to the bone, it is also funny, melodramatic and cool. The characters are very well done and the acting is some of the best I've seen in years. It is also pretty keen for creator David Chase to pick Northern New Jersey as the set piece for his opus of crime life. I have liked this show alot since it aired on HBO in January of last year and I will keep on watching it because of the intrigue and drama.
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Olympus, New Jersey
toddcon17 September 2004
The Sopranos mythology is as close an analogue to Greek mythology we'll ever get in modern life. It's all there. The archetypes of Zeus, long-suffering Hera, oracles, sibyls, the virginal Persephone, Zeus' seduction of mere mortal women (who can be destroyed by it), the messengers and functionaries of Zeus, the wandering eye of the Most High himself, on and on it goes. AND there are the deep emotions and passions that go with it.

Greek and Roman mythology has become so quaint to us we "teach" it to sixth graders and sent them to see Disney productions of Hercules as an example. (Disney doesn't tell you the one about when Hercules batters one of his wives kills her and slaughters his children--I think that's the way it goes.) The schools don't "teach" about the mother who chops up her own children (whom she loves) to bake in a pie to feed to the husband she hates.

They don't "teach" the crazed women who mutilate the man who scorns them. Or the girl who arranges to sleep with her own father. What passes as the Greek myths in schools is really just kind of bullshit. Or...isn't there one where Zeus makes love to a mortal woman who wants to see him in his "true form"? She burns up or something. Tony does that too, to the car saleswoman. What about the dancer at Bada Bing? I haven't got to the end of the art gallery girl yet.

But The Sopranos really approaches the bloodthirst of the Gods, their cruelty, their indifference to mere mortals...and their so, so human traits mixed in with their almost unbearable inhumanity. But don't forget they sometimes show great wisdom and kindness too. The Gods and the Sopranos mingle with us mere mortals, but we say a little prayer of thanks when they pass us by. They know things we don't.

Personally speaking, when I think about "the mob," they seem to have the sort of reality to me (or your average Joe) of being sort of "out there", just like a forces of nature, and I don't ever want to get them mad at me. I know I just might brush past them every once in a while, I'm sure, but I would hardly know it. If a mobster came to me in disguise, just as the Greek Gods were used to doing with mere mortals, I hope I would treat him in a way so as not to invoke his wrath in consequence. As a child, I felt about the Greek Gods with the same sense of mystery and heightened imagination, believing they were "out there" and about somewhere, but one just never really got to see them up-close.

Now, I'm pretty sure this analogy to the Gods in The Sopranos is not done purposefully by the David Chase...he might have an awareness, sure, he's incredibly smart, but he's NOT making allusions to specifics...it's not an algorithm. Or (gods help us) an homage. He's just being true to the subject material in the best way he knows how--and it's absolute dynamite. It's no surprise the Sopranos reaches directly back to the Greeks. This kind of gradiosity and passion BELONG to the Sicilian and Italian culture (Sicily was an outpost of Ancient Greece) and have done for thousands of years. For Chase NOT to "go there" with the violence and sexuality would not be possible.

The greatness of the Greco-ROMAN myths lies precisely in their depth of presenting vividly, exhaustively, splendidly, the all-too human capacity for evil (among other things). The myths are the extremes we are all capable of if pushed into passion. David Chase's genius is that he has crystalized our cultural fascination of gangsters into a mythology worthy of the Greeks. I think his take on the mob is BETTER than Puzo or Scorsese. He somehow (consciously or unconsciously, I don't know) recognized the archetypes involved, intimately, and ran with them.

For anyone who thinks The Sopranos glorifies violence (as one dude posting here felt), that person needs to take a survey of literature or something. God, read Shakespeare. Take a course in history. Hell, look to Iraq. We live in a violent world. Learn how to digest story and context. Constantly, the show presents the REALITY but then, always the consequences.

The pleasure of watching this show is that the barrier of the TV screen protects us. I think the writers are constantly reminding us of the moral dimension involved. The Sopranos is at the bottom of it, deeply moral. It's about actions, and codes. If you get hung up on the violence, you probably had better watch something else and leave it at that. Go drink some Kool Aid and chill.

Here's a suggestion to deepen the Soprano experience. Get out the tragedies and original sources (not Edith Hamilton!) and read them, thinking of the Sopranos. And conversely, if you know the myths already and want to see them truly brought to life, think of them when you are watching The Sopranos. You'll see Zeus. You'll see Hera. You'll see all kinds of Gods.

(Look again at his mother who wanted figuratively to eat him, just like the Titans tried to eat Olympians.) The parallels are absolutely chilling.

If they wanted to pack the opera houses these days, they should get all the conductors and opera directors to watch The Sopranos en masse. That might revive opera overnight. Opera houses should just go back to the beginning and revive some of those very old operas and learn a few things from the Sopranos. Opera actually began in Italy as a movement to recreate and revive the grandeur of Greek tragedy. Interesting, hm? Look what it's come to. Sad.

Pavarotti would sing a HELL of a Tony Soprano...as a Tenor of course.

It's too bad some people don't 'get it.' They don't see, at bottom, The Sopranos is really about moral choices and consequences; it's BEYOND entertaining (it fascinates) because it parades all the deep and dark things most of us never ever have to take resposibility for.

It's truly Great Drama.
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Brilliant
shark-4327 June 2001
When this show is on it's game, it is brilliant, amazing television. So well-cast, well-written and well directed, it shows what cable TV can achieve. Now, like any creative vehicle, it too can fall short. There are messy, uneven episodes. The season ender this year was rather all over the place and unsatisfying, but, overall, great television. Gandolfini deserves all the praise coming his way. (His monolouge as a hitman describing his first "hit" in True Romance is a great piece of work). Bravo!!
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10/10
One of the Best TV series I have ever had the pleasure of watching, and don't listen to these people the ending is awesome!.
Axilrod112 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
To the people complaining about the finale, seriously? You're going to give a show that you supposedly loved 1 star just because you didn't like the last 4 minutes? God forbid a show actually make you use your brain to get answer instead of spoon-feeding it to everyone. Please do yourself a favor and google "sopranos ending explained" and read the first article, it's long but you'll appreciate the show much more. Showing Tony actually getting whacked would have been tasteless, boring, and wouldn't have left us with anything to talk about. If you really pay attention and look at the fine details everything is there. Plus we had already seen Tony get shot on several occasions, and the fact that people spent 6 seasons cheering the guy on and then want to see the series end with him bleeding out on the table in front of his whole family. Some things are better left to the imagination, and when you put all the pieces together it's really pretty amazing what David Chase pulled off.

For anyone that thinks Tony's fate is up for debate, it's not. Some people say that it just meant that he was going to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life (wrong). For starters, the finale opens with a shot of Tony asleep in bed and is supposed to resemble him dead in a coffin (and there is churchy sounding organ music playing). Then one of the few flashbacks in the episode is Bobby telling Tony "you probably don't even hear it when it happens." Those are just a few hints out of many.

More importantly, the entire final scene was set up from Tony's point of view. It opens with him walking into the diner, they show him, they show the table where he will be sitting, then they cut back to Tony, and then there is a jump cut back to him sitting at the table. It's a strange looking cut, but it makes it appear that Tony is looking at himself (like an out of body experience).

During the final scene, you hear the bell ring 4 or 5 times, each time it cuts to Tony's face, then shows the doorway to the restaurant, and then cuts back for Tony's reaction. They use the bell to create a Pavlov's dog type effect, it makes you expect to see certain things each time the bell rings (shot of tony looking up, followed by a shot of what he sees from his POV). So the last time you hear the bell ring, you see Tony's face, and based on the established pattern the next thing should be what Tony is seeing (Meadow walking into the restaurant). But instead there is a smash cut to black, why? Because Tony is dead and you are seeing his point of view, he is no longer seeing or hearing anything. Chase wanted to do 30 seconds of black originally, and if it had just been the end they would have faded out the music instead of stopping it immediately. So You know that he got shot in front of his entire family, Meadow walked in at the last minute and witnessed it too. Carmella and AJ were looking at their menus and wouldn't have had a chance to warn Tony. And if Meadow hadn't been late then the shooter wouldn't have had a clean shot. To me that has much more of an impact than seeing him bleeding all over the table. The guy in the Members Only jacket going to the bathroom to get the gun was a throwback to the Godfather when Michael Corleone went to get the gun from the restaurant bathroom. They show each of them eating one of the onion rings that Tony ordered, which is supposed to symbolize taking communion. Tony had done too much messed up stuff to get off scott-free, and everyone knows that in the mob you either die or go to jail.

Whether you understood the ending or not, The Sopranos is one of the best TV series of all-time. It's a show with so much depth and complexity that you can watch it over and over and still find new stuff every time. If you only watch a few episodes here and there and then just watch the finale, you'll probably be disappointed like all the other idiots that did that were. I mean would you read the first couple chapters of a book and then read the last page and decide that it sucks?
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Up there with the greatest
OP_Fiction19 July 2004
The Sopranos has always been a long time favourite show of mine. And to read some guy saying that Buffy is what real TV is about and the Sopranos should be axed this is a disgrace. The show gets in the heart and soul of the Mafia and family life just like "THE GODFATHER Trilogy", it gets to the heart and soul of each individual character. Being a TV show you can get a new insight into a character each week, it is a action packed drama and having Gandolfini as the front man dosn't hurt either. The Emmy's it has won a deserved and long over due. This series its most definitely up there with some of the greatest TV shows of all time like "Sienfeld", "The Simpsons". And for "Buffy, Angel, Charmed" and the rest of the crap on TV these days The Sopranos gives a raw and passion back to the TV and more producers should take the lead and support the good TV that can be made instead of the crap that is coming around and around and around on the TV these days.
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A realistic view of the current mob?
thomas-11023 September 2004
The Sopranos is a sincere effort to try and describe the life and time of the American mafia today, and whether the description is realistic or not, the series is great. If you like mob stories like The Godfather or other great mob films, you will like this as well. We're currently (in Denmark) in the 5th season bit I reckon this will be a classic in time and hence will be seen on TV for many years to come even after it's finished. There is tremendous drama in this series and it is brought by a group of fantastic actors/actresses.

So if you have the time, you will not regret using it on The Sopranos.
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10/10
A Masterpiece.
John Smith5 May 2018
I ve just finished watching "The Sopranos" for the 4th time. I think its flawless. I wouldnt change anything about it. Cant wait to watch it for the 5th time.
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"Fuggedabowdit."
Christopher T. Chase12 April 2006
What a clichéd, worn-out, stereotypical phrase that is. But pondering it now, how bittersweet in its familiarity for all of us who have followed for all of these seasons, the travails and triumphs of one of the most complex dramas ever to grace television.

Like so many fans are this very moment, I am pondering all of the time I've spent with these characters, marveling at missing the ones I loved to hate and hated to love, and how that sentiment equally applies to those still sticking around, starting first and foremost with the man affectionately known as "Skip."

James Gandolfini has built one hell of a career for himself, while mining the many layers of the complex and conflicted Anthony Soprano. He's a man constantly at odds with the demands made on him daily by the professional and personal sides of his life. He struggles at times to make the right choices that are possible to make, but like most of us, he manages to screw up and quite often at that. And like a lot of us, he is loving and fiercely protective of both his immediate family, and the family he is part of in "dis life he's chosen." But the similarities stop where most of us swear that we would do our best to kill anyone who would dare try to harm the members of our family. Tony doesn't just swear he'll do it...often he is called upon to do that very thing, (or to order someone else to take care of it), and he will do so without missing a beat.

But he's not without guilt, remorse, failings and all the different kinds of 'agita' that plague a major Mob boss and "devoted" family man. So, where's a guy like that to go when there are problems he can't even talk about with his wife or his closest confidantes?

Meet the sexy, sultry and skilled Dr. Jennifer Melfi. For the better part of seven seasons, Lorraine Bracco has imbued this psychiatrist with a cool veneer of moxie, charm and canniness that has done wonders for a profession where it's not a secret that at times the therapists can be more effed up than their clients. Her composure has very rarely ever cracked through all of Tony's tears, taunts and tantrums, even when there has been (and at times continues to be) a sexual tension so thick you could cut it with a hacksaw. And when her emotional walls have been breached, (as with her own shrink, Dr. Elliott Kupferberg, played by an unflappable Peter Bogdonavich), the audience has been treated to some Emmy-worthy television. No surprise, then, that this show has already been so lauded a gazillion times over.

Without preachiness or judgment, and never soft-selling the dastardly and despicable things they do to survive in the underworld of murder, drugs, graft, gambling and prostitution, THE SOPRANOS also deals with the frailties and very human failings of these "wiseguys" who may be "wise" when it comes to the Mob, but often not in the ways that count in their lives...dealing with their loved ones or even their own huge insecurities, for all their outer toughness.

And leave it to David Chase, the shrewd son-of-a-gun, to save the best revelations of characters' lives for the last. Paulie Gualtieri (Tony Sirico) discovering that his parentage was not what he thought it was, therefore leading him to question his very sense of self; caretaker Bobby 'Bacala' Baccalieri (Steven Schirripa) now having shifted his focus from the care and feeding of aging don "Junior" Soprano (Dominic Chianese), to his new wife and Tony's sister, Janice (Aida Turturro) and their newborn son, getting a taste of what Tony's had to go through; Tony's number one protégé Chris Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) who is stepping it up in his beefed-up role as a captain, still trying to reconcile his place in 'the life' with his ambitions to become a screenwriter/producer, and the demons that haunt him in his culpability for the death of his late fiancée, Adriana La Cerva (Drea De Matteo).

And how about Silvio Dante (amazing actor and E-Street band member Steven Van Zandt), Tony's trusted right hand and confidante, who has always been content to be a company man, now being urged to step into the spotlight by his missus ("reel"-and real-life wife Maureen Van Zandt)? Oh, I could just go on and on for pages and pages about the different core characters and their roles in the overall scheme (and schemING) of things, and all of the amazing guest stars who have added such considerable gravitas and grit to the mix (including Joe Pantoliano, frequent guest director Steve Buscemi, Tim Daly, Robert Patrick, Anabella Sciorra, Paul Mazursky, Ron Leibman, Frankie Valli and most recently Hal Holbrook).

There are people of narrow vision who claim that THE SOPRANOS has no value or merit whatsoever; that all it does is glorify the violent and amoral lifestyle of its renegade characters. I'd be willing to wager my next paycheck that the majority of these people have never seen a full episode, let alone part of one...That to them, what's on the surface is cut-and-dried. Sad that they'll never realize that this is simply about mobsters the way SIX FEET UNDER was only about a funeral home, or that DEADWOOD was nothing more than a dirty tale about lawlessness in the Old West.

Thanks to Mr. Chase and every single person who had anything to do with helping to provide us with a such a rarified glimpse into how the world that we first encountered through the efforts of Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, has changed in our times today...

And for letting us do it from a safe distance, in the comfort of our living rooms.

As for the chance of an hour of dramatic television ever affecting our culture again on this scale?

"Fuggedabowdit."
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1/10
Are you people watching the same show as me?
tim-6867 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The Sopranos must be the most overrated television show in history. I have never before witnessed a movie or show with so many undeveloped and unfinished story lines. Under developed characters and acting thats is B movie level. Stevie Van Zant!, give me a break.

All the build up and let downs. Season 5 for instance is building the bad blood between Johnny Sack and Tony. There's going to be a war we all thought, it was going to be great. Then after all this rage and anger Johnny just changes his mind and it's all over. Nothing, no war no fight. Season 6 is the same. Tony vs. Phil, it's going to be carnage right? Naw.. after all the build up Tony hugs and kisses Phil on his near death bed. Go figure.

When are we going to get some satisfaction? It seems like the writers just figure why bother developing a good story all these people are going to watch anyway!!! And they're right.

No body needs a reminder about the famous (infamous) Pine Barrens episode. Where did that story go? The killing of the Russian gangster and all that was implied... never finished.

What about Furio/Carmela.... unfinished, What about the rape of Melfi... unfinished.. it goes on and on Season 6 is absurd. It's all over the place. You're expecting a continuation of the Vito story and get a new story about Artie out of the blue. The writing is junior high level. The characters are totally inconstant. They change for no reason and often.

It really is lousy... but we watch anyway.
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It's good to know that this show is five seasons strong with a lot of life left in it
whoTheFuqRyou4 August 2004
Man, this show literally kept me guessing what would happen every season. I like how this show not only goes into the racketeering business of the fictious Soprano crime family and the family life of not only Tony's family but the relationships within the ring. This is one show deserving of heavy respect and attention that has used various talents of the past and future. It's not a show where the violence smiles or frowns in your face but it shows the life of a mobster and how they live like normal people despite the line of work they do...

Along w/ shows like Entourage, Def Poets, Oz and The Wire, this is a show that I have no problem taking the time out to watch...

let's see how far this show goes after the fifth season
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After seeing episodes 6x03 and 6x04 it's final:Gandolfini is one of the finest actors of our time!
roandreasd4 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
As a guy who has seen all the seasons, I can say that James Gandolfini constantly surprises me. I mean, after you saw him shifting from laughter to paranoia instantly throughout the seasons and after every little gesture of his made you believe he is a gangster, you thought to yourself: OK he is a good actor and he can get into a gangster's skin. But after seeing him - in the beginning of season 6 - opening his eyes and struggling for his life, I mean I could almost feel the pain he "made" us believe he was going through. I was so touched by his performance that I immediately thought at Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. These guys were definitely the best of their generations and even more. But nowadays they are either old or dead (Brando) and it's OK that they make less movies and their performances are "lighter" than they used to be. I can't wait to see Gandolfini in other movies where he delivers a totally different role. LATER EDIT: RIP! Taken way too soon.
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10/10
The mafia from the "working man's" point of view
calvinnme21 February 2010
As the Godfather saga was the view of the mafia from the executive suite, this series is a complex tale of the mafia from the working man's point of view. If you've never watched this show, you're in for an extended treat. Yes, there is violence and nudity, but it is never gratuitous and is needed to contrast Tony Soprano, the thinking man's gangster, with the reality of the life he has been born to and, quite frankly, would not ever have left even knowing how so many of his associates have ended up. Tony Soprano can discuss Sun Tzu with his therapist, then beat a man to death with a frying pan in a fit of rage, and while dismembering and disposing of the body with his nephew, take a break, sit down and watch TV while eating peanut butter out of the jar, and give that nephew advice on his upcoming marriage like they had just finished a Sunday afternoon of viewing NFL football. Even Carmella, his wife, when given a chance for a way out, finds that she really prefers life with Tony and the perks that go with it and looking the other way at his indiscretions versus life on her own. If you followed the whole thing, you know how it ends. If you didn't, trust me you've never seen a TV show end like this.
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10/10
The most addictive series yet!
me-mcgovern6 February 2007
When we started watching this series on cable, I had no idea how addictive it would be. Even when you hate a character, you hold back because they are so beautifully developed, you can almost understand why they react to frustration, fear, greed or temptation the way they do. It's almost as if the viewer is experiencing one of Christopher's learning curves.

I can't understand why Adriana would put up with Christopher's abuse of her, verbally, physically and emotionally, but I just have to read the newspaper to see how many women can and do tolerate such behavior. Carmella has a dream house, endless supply of expensive things, but I'm sure she would give it up for a loving and faithful husband - or maybe not. That's why I watch.

It doesn't matter how many times you watch an episode, you can find something you missed the first five times. We even watch episodes out of sequence (watch season 1 on late night with commercials but all the language, A&E with language censored, reruns on the Movie Network) - whenever they're on, we're there. We've been totally spoiled now.

I also love the Malaprop's. "An albacore around my neck" is my favorite of Johnny Boy. When these jewels have entered our family vocabulary, it is a sign that I should get a life. I will when the series ends, and I have collected all the DVD's, and put the collection in my will.
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1/10
The Emperor Has No Clothes
Bolesroor28 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Where do I begin? I would be forced to nominate "The Sopranos" as the worst television show of all-time, the worst THING of all-time. It is pretentious, derivative schlock masquerading- and passing- as high art.

Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas" is probably my favorite film of all-time, and it tells the TRUE story of a REAL gangster in his OWN words with wonderfully vivid characters, rich dialogue, scenes of shocking violence and outrageous humor with brilliant visuals and mood so strong you'll feel nostalgia for people you never knew. David Chase clearly loved this movie so much he decided to re-make it as a TV series. And take credit for it. And fail.

The twist? Tony Soprano, our gangster protagonist, sees a psychiatrist because he feels bad about being a gangster protagonist. When he's not desperately endearing himself to the audience by confessing his secret love for animals in thrice-weekly sessions he's living the good gangsta life: smoking fat stogies (always a sign of success) and cruisin' round Jersey in his gas-guzzling Cadillac Hog.

But wait? Is there ANY reality to be found here? Would any mafioso ever voluntarily visit a psychiatrist and confess his guilt over his crimes? Does this not kill the vicarious gangster-fantasy ostensibly promised by the premise? Who are we rooting for? Tony Soprano to be "cured" of his criminal lifestyle or Tony Soprano to earn dirty money and outrun the law? The shrink to successfully rehabilitate him? The FBI to bring him down? David Chase never figured it out... and you won't either. Movies have run-times and lead to specific endings; a TV series runs indefinitely and cannot maintain a morally, ethically, legally conflicted hero. Billy Crystal said it best as the shrink in "Analyze This," a film with the same premise but played for COMEDY, when he said, "So my goal is to make you a happy, well-adjusted gangster?"

Fatally-flawed blueprint aside, the show MIGHT have been successful if characters faced authentic criminal scenarios and their consequences. Instead Chase & his writers take carte blanche in concocting kooky capers, money-making schemes, and meaningless violence that would make anyone who reads the paper burst out laughing. The gangsters own a strip-club so the viewers get to see some background ass, but they also own an Arthur Ave-style deli so we can see them eating wedges at sidewalk tables- convenient, no? Chase & Co. never figured out what it is that gangsters DO, and you can see them scramble each week to invent a new routine. They also tried to buy legitimacy by poaching EVERY actor who appeared in Goodfellas- over 20 of them appeared in The Sopranos. What does it tell you that DeNiro, Liotta & Pesci were also asked to appear?

What does it tell you that DeNiro, Liotta & Pesci all turned him down?

The show's story-arcs were so poorly-planned that characters would appear and do nothing for an entire season before the requisite whacking... (Buscemi anyone?) The killings became the worst crutch in dramatic history: characters and story lines were only and inevitably resolved by over-the-top murders, which dissolved almost immediately into self-parody.(Quentin wants his act back.) The only consistency in the show was story lines starting strong and fizzling almost instantly. The stop-and-start production of the series is painfully obvious- there is a disjointed, slapdash feel to characters and episodes that were rushed and neglected. Worse, every labored plot line in the show begs to be associated with the Shakespearian tragedy of "The Godfather" films or the black-comic seduction of "Goodfellas." By reaching for both, "The Sopranos" achieves neither.

I wish I could find a single element that worked: even the portrayal of the East Coast Italian family is botched. They walk and talk like industry Angelenos- even flirting with a film-production storyline- until a plot twist demands they return to Roman-Catholic guilt and neighborhood respect. Who are these people?

Now a word on Gandolfini: he's not Brando. Or DeNiro. Or Pacino. He's not Liotta, Pesci or Duvall. He's not even James Caan. He is a good actor, swept up in the hype of the most over-rated show in history. And a word on the press: the HBO hype machine was working overtime for 7 years to insist this series was one of the all-time greats... they bought themselves awards, they silenced those who dared question its quality, and they used an ironically Mafia-like approach to intimidate viewers into submission. A word on the 90's: you either loved "The Sopranos," or you never spoke about it. It was socially unacceptable to declare that the Emperor wore no clothes.

Listen up, goombahs... the man is nude. Buck. Naked. The Sopranos blows. It offends me as an Italian, an American, and a film fan. Cranking up the Stones and hiring every actor from Goodfellas does not make you Scorsese, Mr. Chase. Fat men sipping cappuccino does not equate you with Coppola. Skunk-headed clowns and greasy wax museum escapees do not legitimize a series that shamelessly steals from some of the best movies ever made. David Chase is a fraud and The Sopranos is a joke. The one nice thing I can say about the show is that it had a wonderful theme song and title sequence.

Everything afterward was trash.

GRADE: F
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10/10
Take a deep bow, Mr. Chase
alvingrung11 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Wow. I LOVED the whole series, and am shocked at comments by people who thought it ended badly. Perhaps it waffled a bit in seasons 4 & 5, while remaining better than anything else on television. But 6 and particularly 6b were beautiful permutations on the themes developed in the more muscular first three seasons.

6B started with such a sombre mood and Janice's always keen insight into the family angst - that doom-filled line about knowing Tony's penchant for sitting and staring. Anyone who missed the implications of that for the rest of the series does not know Tony. Melfi's discomfort over the psychiatric study and its references to the sociopath's self-deluding sentimentality for pets and animals goes back to the first episodes of the series, say, with Tony's panic attack over the ducks leaving his pool and resonates with Phil's "wave bye-bye" line to his grandchildren before the coup de grace of the final episode (not to get into Chase's dark humour).

I could go on and on, but I'll just add that I thought the final show - starting with the opening strains of Vanilla Fudge to supply the ironic foreshadow ("You Keep Me Hangin' On") to the terminal moments where Tony fades back into complacency with his family in tow or blasts apart like AJ's SUV or Phil's head were, utterly, utterly PERFECT. The best TV ever.

Pretty good in a dying medium pathologically supplying the "jack-off fantasies" AJ derides (and then into which he promptly subsides). A tip of the pork pie to Mr. Chase.
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6/10
A very uneven, drawn out series
ShoeBuckle5 October 2013
The entire series had some very bad flaws and had poor writing off and on. I am not on the Soprano bandwagon. There were so many side stories which were just a complete waste of time. The longer the series went on the worse it got.

I really dislike watching things which are not that great but some people insist are the "best ever" or "flawless". It's an attraction to people until they actually see it for themselves. This show had many parts to it which were designed to hook certain demographics to the show. What is funny is that these same people now state that if you don't get the show then you are not up to par with them. Excuse me but you are the ones who are manipulated and don't even realize it.

The show was mediocre with some good characters and acting at times. There was some good writing at times as well. There were however some episodes which were not needed. This series could have been done much better in half the time. I would not recommend this show to anyone.
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10/10
One of the best drama series ever
tr9113 August 2013
I started watching The Sopranos in June 2013 and it took me around 2 months to finish, and I know I could have watched it a lot quicker than that if possible.

After the first few episodes I was just completely hooked. The characters were so real and the acting was just brilliant. The set looked amazing. All the story lines were interesting and there was so much going on, lots of different story lines for different people. They all kept you interested no matter what was going on, that's a sign of a brilliant drama.

James Gandolfini is unbelievable as the main character Tony Soprano and the supporting cast is great too. What I really liked was how multi dimensional this show is, we don't just see Tony as some thug, we see how he copes with his family life/problems and of course his sessions with Dr Jennifer Melfi, who is portrayed extremely well by Lorraine Bracco (a much different role to how she was in Goodfellas). The one on one sessions those two have really link the story together well.

The story develops at a nice pace and there is always something new happening. All the characters can be related to and are likable and unique in their own way. My personal favourite was Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri who was played by Tony Sirico, he was just hilarious and an extremely likable character. The on screen chemistry between all the characters is just so believable; it's as if you are watching a real life drama. I also loved the dialogue used in the show.

The drama is great and very gripping, the violence is incredibly brutal and graphic at times. There's also some humour inevery episode, this really is one of the best written TV shows ever. The show overall is just so powerful that you would even find a storyline involving Tony's wife, Carmela, and her friends quite interesting! Also the soundtrack throughout the series is very good and relevant, it just goes well together. The theme tune is perfect, when I hear that it always gets me pumped up to watch an episode, a truly brilliant song.

Overall, this is one of the best drama series I have ever seen and I would recommend it to anyone. Give it a chance and you will get hooked to it, it is amazing. A big well done to everyone involved in making The Sopranos so great, will always be remembered as a classic. Well deserving of its rating on IMDb.

R.I.P James, you are a true great.

10/10
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10/10
A rare case where TV proves that it can be superior to cinema
t_atzmueller24 February 2013
In a time where cinema became increasingly boring, predictable and pretentious, came forth a series that proved once and for all that television can compete with the silver screen: "The Sopranos".

I had come across "The Sopranos" by sheer chance, mainly because I had overheard that numerous actors from "Goodfellas" (one of my personal favorites and being a Mafiosi-movie fan in general) starred in the show. Now, a couple of years after the show has ended, I can still honestly say: "The Sopranos", despite being 'only TV', stands right up there with "Goodfellas" and "The Godfather". I've watched the show three times since and can sincerely say: it won't be the last time. And yes, I'm not ashamed to say that the ending brought a little tear to my eyes, even after the third viewing, and that – despite better knowledge – still root for a continuation or sequel.

What is the appeal of "The Sopranos"? Sure, the mafia has always been an intriguing topic; the crimes, the violence, the foul language, everything that could satisfy the inner voyeur who perhaps wishes to be part of "that thing of ours". But more than that, with a thoroughly excellent James Gandolfini, "Sopranos" creator David Chase has given this clandestine organization a human face. And sure, like Gandolfini has once stated himself, essentially we're following a psychopath who gleefully steals, cheats and kills throughout the six seasons – but there is plenty in Tony Soprano that reminds us of ourselves and makes us reflect. The rest of the cast is similarly excellent, making us want to be part of that "famiglia", despite knowing that most are rotten to the core, but which human-being is perfect? "The Sopranos" consisted of 86 little movies; not going to lie: not all of them were perfect. Especially during the final two seasons there were a couple of fillers, repetitions and the strain to come up with quality material that would live up to the first two seasons was obvious. Still, it must be said that Chase never cheated or played the viewers for fools. He gave us a tale that was as captivating as it was blatantly realistic and more important, stories that fans still discuss years after the show has come to an end; and that's a present.

Is it the greatest show ever to make it to TV? Don't know, haven't seen every TV-show – but I've squandered many-a handsome hour in front of the box and can say: it's my personal favorite.

As said: nothing is perfect or flawless but in the case of "The Sopranos" I'll give it a straight 10 from 10 points.
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10/10
A microcosm of American crime that parallels Ancient Greek fables
moviesdirectorarmy12 January 2007
The "gangster" genre is now a worn subject one that is too often subjected to parody. In retrospect the series is a culmination of previous clichés that have been utilized in it's genre, thankfully the writers have advanced upon this flaw by creating a realism which has been applied to it. The Sopranos is an epic crime saga that illustrates it's content with psychological depth that is characterized with subtle nuance, humor and unvarnished violence. The key protagonist Tony Soprano is perceived as a perilous general bereft of fear and moral values by his crew ,however, Tony is of two persona's one which is bestial while the other is conflicted with guilt and resent. With out any inhibitions or contradictions I still adamantly believe that The Sopranos has the finest ensemble cast of recent memory. All things considered I could make an elaborate statement on the series, but I won't. If ever there is a visual dictionary in global consumerism search for these definitions vital, ambiguous, unrelenting, epic, uncompromising and the sopranos shattered visage will be smiling right back at you.
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