In this article, we will touch on why is The Sopranos the best show ever, with a short series review included. I like Mafia dramas, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine, and this is one of the best shows ever made on TV. So you can understand why I couldn’t resist this topic.
If you have yet to watch the series, you should know that this article will contain spoilers, although not extreme ones. We will mention some situations and dialogues from the series but avoid any critical event or moment.
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Woke up this morning…
…and got me a trip down memory lane. This is a show that became a symbol of great storytelling. A pure cultural authority filled with antihero characters we all love, and it all started more than twenty years ago.
Crazy how the time flies when you’re having fun rewatching The Sopranos for the 17th time.
What I love about The Sopranos rewatches is that you will catch and learn something new every time. You relate and focus on different things on each watch.
This is how NY Times describes the beginning of the Sopranos saga that captured millions around the world and never let go:
“On Jan. 10, 1999, a mobster walked into a psychiatrist’s office. What happened next — over the course of eight years — was a television revolution.”
I remember that moment like yesterday, watching the pilot episode in awe. I thought, ‘What the hell is this, and why do people like it so much?’ Then, less than an hour later, I was hooked for life.
It is better and more complete than the best movies to ever come out of Hollywood. Vito Corleone, who? No, Vito and Johnny Cakes.
What is Sopranos about
The Sopranos is about family, dysfunctional relationships, and everyday life throughout generations. The mob lives are one part of this complex series.
Here lies why The Sopranos is the best show ever, although you will only understand what I’m saying if you have watched it through.
It’s an innovative look at the life of Tony Soprano, a middle-aged ‘Waste Management Consultant,’ a husband, and a father of two. On the other side, Tony is a ruthless and larger-than-life Mafia boss and a great leader who runs a New Jersey crew of robbers, racketeers, and killers.
Throughout various work and family interactions and Tony’s visits to a psychotherapist, we can see and understand almost everything that goes through his mind. We can see his human side, no matter the violence, misdeeds, and foul language. The psychological insights alone are worth watching the show for.
During most parts of the series, we even root for him and his crew of jackals. Tony Soprano is not an almighty Terminator-type mob boss but a realistic, vulnerable person with issues like the rest of us.
It portrays a Mafia boss like none before or after it.
What makes The Sopranos so good
What makes The Sopranos one of the best tv shows of all time is its highest-quality writing and storytelling ability. It’s all about the contrast – the cast’s crispness and the storytelling’s smoothness.
It’s filled with dark and realistic gangster storylines. Most often, these deeds are done by morbidly obese men who like gabagool and don’t like being accused of being a part of a certain Italian-American subculture.
I like dark comedy, but this makes the show hilarious at times.
The acting, actors, and chemistry between them are hardly matched. The character development is out of this world. Chrissy, Paulie ‘He-he-he’ Walnuts, Big Pussy, Johnny Sack – I don’t know which I liked more.
While watching the series, I started feeling like I knew those guys, like they’d been part of my life forever. It felt like it would never end, as they would always be here. Until someone whacks them, that is.
Although most of the male members of the show are part of the Mafia and there is a lot of crime throughout the series, this is not a Mafia drama. Instead, the Sopranos is a family drama.
All those family get-togethers, barbecues, parties, and funerals, intertwined with the red-blooded arguments, make you feel like you are watching real people, not actors. It feels familiar. A weird feeling to describe, but you should watch it if you haven’t already.
Why do people like The Sopranos that much
I looked around The Sopranos subreddit to find out what people liked the most about The Sopranos, and the answers were unsurprising. Besides expected and typical jokes like the gabagool, complaining about the ‘regularness of life,’ and Vito and Johnny Cakes, there were some great examples of what makes The Sopranos so good.
Some people said they were their family. Most mentioned nostalgia, cast, and story, while others ‘woke up this morning.’ If you didn’t get it, Woke Up This Morning is the name of the series soundtrack.
One user, u/RustyShantyIrish, wrote this beautiful summary that I couldn’t agree with more, so I had to share it.
“The definition of art is a lie told by the artist to help the eventual observer understand a truth.”
I am still determining where he got that definition, but I must agree. Let’s continue.
“I see it as art that helps me understand the world around me. The lie is about it being real, but it is real enough. There are exaggerations for drama and comedic effect, but that makes it better art. The only difference between this show and fancy paintings is that The Sopranos is accessible to everyone and a joy to watch. It isn’t pretentious even though it references Proust’s madelines and David Hockey.
What it captures is some kind of decay in America, loss of loyalty and the idea we came in at the end, when the good times were over.”
One other user mentioned that this drama, although of the same quality, is much better than the Breaking Bad series. He thought Breaking Bad was good but just not fun. For the record, Breaking Bad currently holds the number #1 spot on the IMDB’s best TV series list.
To be fair, I thought Breaking Bad had some hilarious moments, especially the earlier seasons’ scenes with Jesse and Badger.
A list of worthy alternatives to The Sopranos
It’s hard to outdo what David Chase has done with this series, but there are many other TV masterpieces to discover. So we made a list of the 10 best series to watch when you’re finished (re)watching The Sopranos. Here it goes:
- The Wire (2002)
- Breaking Bad (2008)
- True Detective (2014)
- Gomorrah (2014)
- Better Call Saul (2015)
- Snabba Cash (2021)
- Sherlock (2010)
- Fargo (2014)
- Narcos (2015)
- Peaky Blinders (2013)
That’s enough entertainment for you to not leave your couch for a year.
The bottom line
The Sopranos has many fun elements that can help you relax and unwind after a long day. So it’s no wonder it is one of the best shows of all time. That made it special for me, at least the first three times I re-watched it…
My girlfriend and I even made a game of choosing the best Sopranos season, characters, and plots. But, of course, we decided differently every time. Well, not every time, but we did change our choices. It even became a hobby at one point.
Here’s a fun fact: the Wire and Sopranos, regarded as one of the best series of all time, were released by the same network, HBO, less than three years apart. And over 20 years ago. So quality obviously doesn’t have an expiration date.
Also, did you know that watching horror movies can help you lose weight?
Now get to watching.