“I woke up this morning”: The Sopranos (Review)

By adviser Feb 5, 2021
Photo: Alamy Stock Photo
Photo: Alamy Stock Photo

In 1999 something truly amazing and unique was born, and I am not just talking about myself. The Sopranos’ genius character development and acting created a show that would go on to be considered one of the best, if not THE best, television shows of all time. 

Although the final episode aired in 2007, the show has never stopped being culturally relevant. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America named it the best-written series of all time and TV Guide gave it the title of the best television series of all time. In 2016 it was ranked first on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest TV shows of all time. 

If that is not enough to convince you of its current relevance, New Line Cinema is currently working on a full-length Soprano’s movie, The Many Saints of Newark,  which follows main character and mob boss Tony Soprano’s backstory. The film is written by the creator of the original series David Chase and will star Michael Gadolfini, the son of the late James Gadolfini who plays Tony Soprano in the series. 

When my boyfriend suggested we watch a mob show from the 90’s with seven seasons filled with hour-long episodes I was not exactly excited. I am not a huge fan of dramas and have never been very entertained by mob movies or TV shows. 

The second I heard the theme song,‘Woke up This Morning’, however, I got it stuck in my head and haven’t gotten it out since. 

This theme song is truly the best horrible song to ever exist and that’s the best part. 

The pilot episode opens with Tony Soprano in his therapist’s office which is the first clue that this show is not going to be like all the other mob shows and movies out there. 

The genius of Soprano’s character is that he is a mob boss who also has mental illness and has to see a therapist. He’s an enigma. He kills people on a regular basis but also has a deep love for animals. He doesn’t give a single f*ck about the families of those that he has killed, but he has children and a wife of his own that he cares for deeply. 

We are so used to rooting for the main character of a series, but the relationship the viewer builds with Tony is much more complex than a love or a hate. 

Photo: The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

Even knowing that Tony and the other characters are terrible human beings, the writers have created character developments so rich that they cause the viewer to constantly question this. 

When we see Tony with his family or in therapy we find ourselves sympathising with him and wanting the best for him just for him to go “whack” someone in the very next scene. 

When the show first came out some hardcore mob movie fans were annoyed by the long-winded scenes free of violence and even wholesome in many ways. 

Chase has said that he did this on purpose, however. In interviews he talks about the complex relationship he purposely created between his characters and the viewer that makes us all reconsider how we view people in our lives. 

He wanted to provide us with a holistic view of the mob boss that goes beyond the normal violence-packed show that ends in the death of the main character. 

Throughout the series there are several dream scenes packed full of symbolism that are some of the most aesthetically intricate and well thought out scenes of all time. 

There is everything from dead guys coming to life to talking fish to a stolen briefcase and sex with Tony’s therapist. 

It is very rare that I make it through an entire series this long without giving up from boredom, but I honestly never wanted The Sopranos to end. 

After spending the past few months watching, I feel like an old person when I say “they just don’t make TV like that anymore” but now I completely understand that phrase. 

I am ecstatic for the movie to come out in September and, if you start now, you will have just enough time to get through the series at a comfortable pace before then. 

The Sopranos is hands down the best series I have watched and it absolutely earns every bit of the five out of five starts that I am giving it. 

By adviser

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