The Sopranos is not a movie but I believe some TV shows meet or even exceed the quality of movies. HBO’s The Sopranos is widely regarded as the first impressive TV show that started the current golden age of TV. Before The Wire, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Arrested Development, there was The Sopranos.
As most successful TV shows do, The Sopranos becomes a victim of its longevity, especially in the 21 episode final season. Overall this is one of the greatest TV shows ever made due to its amazing cinematography, writing, acting, and not pulling any punches on the violence and greed. The Sopranos cleared the way for all of the other superb HBO and cable TV shows.
I finally finished watching the last couple episodes last night and I felt like I needed to write about it, even if it is just rambling compliments. It took me over a year to watch all 86 episodes with long breaks in between binge watching 5 to 6 at a time. I normally do not take this long to finish a show but The Sopranos was a unique experience for me. The story arcs were heavy in content and watching half a seasons worth of episodes satisfied me for months. Also, many characters in the show really pissed me off. I couldn’t handle them in large doses, including Tony, which forced me into long breaks to cool off. The depth of the characterization is what makes the show great but it doesn’t make it easy to binge.
My corny gimmick to my blogs is “filling the void” which means consuming media to fill a need in my empty life. The Sopranos is a perfect example of this. Most people, including myself go through life being a good consumer, a herd of uneducated entitled sheep being told where to go by the corporate sheep dogs that run the world. Despite the pussification of America, we are all still selfish violent animals at heart. So when a show about violence, sex, racism, drug addiction, corruption, greed, and family portrays those things unapologetically, people are going to gravitate towards it. All of those primitive feelings that have been squashed down are still present and watching The Sopranos helps bring out those emotions.
This isn’t my favorite show and it has its obvious flaws but it might be the most important show in TV history. It was a revelation that TV can be more than shitty formulaic sitcoms and crime shows. The Sopranos wasn’t confined to 10 minute content windows to make for easy cuts for erectile dysfunction commercials. Nudity, profanity, and immoral crimes weren’t used as a draw the eyes of ignorant douche bags, they were a tool to improve the setting and characterization.
I watched the last episode almost 9 years to the day after it aired. A near decade of time hasn’t damaged the perception of the show, its greatness becomes more apparent as more time passes.