‘The Sopranos’ Turns 25 and Remains One of the Greatest Shows Ever Made

Ulises Duenas

 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of The Sopranos, a revolutionary show that left an indelible impact on TV. It’s a show so layered and full of subtext that it only gets better with repeated viewings. It was the perfect storm of creator David Chase’s creativity and the cast’s phenomenal ability to produce great performances year after year.

 

When The Sopranos began, many people saw it as a serialized version of movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas. The first episode did a lot to show that this story would be different from all the mob stories that came before it, by showing its crime boss protagonist sitting in therapy after suffering a panic attack. 

 

 

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano presented a complex character who showed the full range of triumph and tragedy. Edie Falco as his wife Carmela and Lorraine Bracco as therapist Jennifer Melfi are other standouts who go through their own arcs.  The cast is capable of delivering moments of intense drama, bitter sorrow, and even solid comedy -- which is also a testament to the show’s stellar writing.

 

Chase is a meticulous creator who loaded the show with subtle foreshadowing and symbolism. From season to season, the show goes into greater depth in exploring Tony’s character: showing what drives him, what causes his anxiety, and why he cannot change. He is a character who is doomed to his fate at a young age but isn’t fully aware of the reasons behind it. Tony wishes to change, yet his inability to understand his trauma makes him get in his own way until it’s too late. 

 

 

Since The Sopranos became so popular, many viewers experienced the show, while not picking up on the subtleties sprinkled throughout. This became apparent after the series finale when many complained that the show ended without a proper conclusion. In truth, Chase laid out the ending long before Journey started playing on that jukebox and those who paid attention knew that Tony’s fate was obvious. It was a controversy that showed just how different of an experience you would have if you just saw the show as a crime drama without reading between the lines.

 

The Sopranos was a pioneer in premium TV. It changed how everyone views the medium and paved the way for shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire. It’s one of the few shows that is much better the second time around, so if you haven’t seen it in years, this occasion might be the perfect time to revisit this masterpiece. 

 

 

Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer and film critic at Highbrow Magazine.

 

For Highbrow Magazine

 

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