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The Sopranos: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

James Gandolfini , Michael Imperioli    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 62.48
Price: CDN$ 42.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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The Sopranos: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] + The Sopranos: Season 6, Part 2 [Blu-ray] + The Sopranos: Season 6, Part 1 [Blu-ray]
Price For All Three: CDN$ 130.19

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The Sopranos, writer-producer-director David Chase's extraordinary television series, is nominally an urban gangster drama, but its true impact strikes closer to home: Like 1999's other screen touchstone, American Beauty, the HBO series chronicles a dysfunctional, suburban American family in bold relief. And for protagonist Tony Soprano, there's the added complexity posed by heading twin families, his collegial mob clan and his own, nouveau riche brood.

The series' brilliant first season is built around what Tony learns when, whipsawed between those two worlds, he finds himself plunged into depression and seeks psychotherapy--a gesture at odds with his midlevel capo's machismo, yet instantly recognizable as a modern emotional test. With analysis built into the very spine of the show's elaborate episodic structure, creator Chase and his formidable corps of directors, writers, and actors weave an unpredictable series of parallel and intersecting plot arcs that twist from tragedy to farce to social realism. While creating for a smaller screen, they enjoy a far larger canvas than a single movie would afford, and the results, like the very best episodic television, attain a richness and scope far closer to a novel than movies normally get.

Unlike Francis Coppola's operatic dramatization of Mario Puzo's Godfather epic, The Sopranos sustains a poignant, even mundane intimacy in its focus on Tony, brought to vivid life by James Gandolfini's mercurial performance. Alternately seductive, exasperated, fearful, and murderous, Gandolfini is utterly convincing even when executing brutal shifts between domestic comedy and dramatic violence. Both he and the superb team of Italian-American actors recruited as his loyal (and, sometimes, not-so-loyal) henchmen and their various "associates" make this mob as credible as the evocative Bronx and New Jersey locations where the episodes were filmed.

The first season's other life force is Livia Soprano, Tony's monstrous, meddlesome mother. As Livia, the late Nancy Marchand eclipses her long career of patrician performances to create an indelibly earthy, calculating matriarch who shakes up both families; Livia also serves as foil and rival to Tony's loyal, usually level-headed wife, Carmela (Edie Falco). Lorraine Bracco makes Tony's therapist, Dr. Melfi, a convincing confidante, by turns "professional," perceptive, and sexy; the duo's therapeutic relationship is also depicted with uncommon accuracy. Such grace notes only enrich what's not merely an aesthetic high point for commercial television, but an absorbing film masterwork that deepens with subsequent screenings. --Sam Sutherland

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps me watching Dec 13 2006
By David
I rarely review movies but this one diserves my attention. If you are a fan of Mafia stories, you will be pulled in with the schemes and rip-offs they pull, but even if you are not a major fan of that genre, the well-written story lines that deal with the other aspects of life will be just as appealing. This is far from a one-dimensional story line, with endless twists and turns that will keep you engrossed to the end. Each episode is a mini-movie, and over the course of the season it is impossible not to be drawn in to the characters' struggles. There are no gangster cliches here, no caricatured one-dimensional characters, no stilted, predictable dialogue; everything does indeed ring true. And that is what keeps me watching the Sopranos.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first. The Best. A must buy!!!!! Sept. 29 2003
David Chase's dive into the interesting journeys of Tony Soprano is absolutely intriguing! From the first scene of Episode 1 to the last scene of Episode 13. There is non-stop action, heart pounding drama, and a flawless story line. Any fan of the mob movie genre will be absolutley blown away by this unique look into a diffrent aspect of mob life. From the complex relationship between Tony and his mother. To the Heat with Uncle Junior and the complex look at a mob boss's mind when he sits down on the couch to talk to Dr. Melfi. Take my recomendation on this one people. You'll absolutely love it!
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"The Sopranos" has done more than just revolutionize television...being one of the best shows on TV with compelling story lines, quarky characters, and snappy mafia lingo...the show has redefinied the definition of family. But while we've grown up with our family, we've grown up with Tony's family and it's HBO's way of telling us to thank God our father isn't a mobster. The first season is great when we see Tony desperately trying hard to hide the salomi with his psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi. There's his dutiful wife that suspects that he's been cheating. TRUST ME THE LAST THING THAT I NEED TO SEE AT NINE O'CLOCK AT NIGHT ON HBO IS JAMES GANDOLFINI'S SLUGGISH, BEARISH BODY ON TOP OF A HOT CHICK. But it only fuels to the show. The violence. The sex. The language. It all accomplishes the real grit of being a mobster. I've heard fans say that they think Tony is the tragic hero-type, but HE'S A COLD-BLOODED KILLER! There's nothing heroic about that. Then there's the fact that a few years ago, somebody made a real adult film based on "The Sopranos". That's when you know you've become part of pop culture. Five stars all the way, for the cinematic effect that the collage of episodes brings to the small screen. Now you've got the skinny on "The Sopranos"...kapish?!
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With compelling story arcs, quarky characters, and catchy mafia lingo, "The Sopranos" has taken the definition of family and redefined it. But ever since the beginning, "The Sopranos" has sparked a sensation with American pop culture and has revolutionized television with the use of sex, drugs, violence, and profanity to fuel complex story lines. For example, "The Sopranos" has had so much of an impact that there's an adult film called "The Sopornos" based on it. That's when you know you've got a hit. NOW THE CRITICISM: As always I've got to slam every movie/show I see, so first of all, what is the deal with Tony Soprano (Gandolfini) trying HIDE THE SALOMI with Dr. Melfi. And why doesn't his wife Carmella (Falco) give a s*#%. Second, Dr. Melfi (Bracco) doesn't have a right to complain since all she has to do is transfer her mob boss patient out of there, but SHE DOESN'T. I THINK SHE NEEDS A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF HER OWN. There's Uncle Junior (Chianese) with his grandpa nit-picking. I liked the start of the show when Tony and Uncle Junior were warring over turf. Why can't Sirico win the Emmy for Paulie Walnuts. (...) Another thing, I bet if I had a ring stuck on my finger, I'd just run it through Silvio's greasy hair and it'd fall off, shelled in hardened vasoline. Finally, what is with the audience, thinking Tony is a tragic hero. He really isn't, HE'S A COLD-BLOODED criminal. Just because he provides for his family doesn't justify his actions. While Chase (writer/producer) humanizes him, he's still a vicious guy that treats women like garbage. Note: The last thing I need to see at 9:00 on HBO is Gandolfini's sluggish, bearish body on an intensely hot chick. BUT this is certainly one of the best shows on TV, if not THE BEST! "The Sopranos" is great in its writing, directing, and acting. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Television's Best Ever June 6 2004
Meet Tony Soprano. He lives in the New Jersey suburbs of New York City, has two teenage children, a demanding wife and a mother whose years of controlling manipulation have caused him to see a psychiatrist. He likes to sleep until noon, feed the ducks that nested in his pool and watch old screw-ball comedies. And in his spare time, he is an under boss in the New Jersey Mafia.
This is the set-up for the television show that has superceded all its predecessors and taken its place at the pinnacle of television artistry. Creator David Chase's masterpiece follows Tony is his travels through his three worlds: family, work and therapy. The plot arcs are simultaneously short and long-ranging, as resolution is found in each episode and also builds toward the series being one giant entity. Each episode leaks into the other, but amazingly can stand alone as an autonomous work of art. The end result is a television show with the grand scope of a novel, while not forgetting to lead viewers along with weekly payoffs.
Season One deals with three main issues. The first is the power struggle between Tony and his Uncle Junior, as they battle over control of their Mafia family. Second is Tony's mother's deteriorating physical and mental capacities and his decision to place her in a nursing home (or as he calls it "a retirement community"). Lastly, the season's spine is Tony's relationship with his therapist. Much of what the viewer knows about his work and his family comes from therapy sessions with Dr Melfi, as he opens up about the turmoil all around him.
As much as the series hinges on the many supporting characters, the show IS Tony. Women love him, men fear him and viewers are captivated by him and all his complexities.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by STEVE PRICE
5.0 out of 5 stars AMERICAN GANGSTER?
Written from the perspective of a family business that just happens to be a major crime family. Violent. Funny. Complex. Bizzare. One of tv's classic stories. To bad it had to end.
Published 5 months ago by weaselhead
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't go wrong with the Sopranos
I had just revisited the Sopranos for the first time since the original airing on HBO. To be honest, I purchase the series just after hearing of James passing. Read more
Published 10 months ago by goto73
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sopranos
Really enjoyed it and we were surprised because had watch a couple episodes on TV and were not impressed but watching more of it at a time is better
Published 12 months ago by Phyllis Kramer
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sopranos: The complete first season (Blue-ray)
I haven't had the time to watch all of the disks but what I have seen has been good. I hope that the remainder will be the same. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Adele F D
4.0 out of 5 stars good
watching it now, very good! came quickly however the case inside was damaged - a shard of plastic had broken off and was rattling around inside. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Amber Duffy
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT SERVICE
The product was exactly what I was looking for. Came in a lovely box set. Could not find in any stores as I had left my shopping for this item till the last minute. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2011 by Kerry Lefrancois
5.0 out of 5 stars gift
I gave this as a gift to my husband he was quite pleased with it.
Published on Feb. 16 2009 by J. Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the show... but not so much the price when they come out for...
This show is great, but come on, does it really need to be so pricy when it comes out for sale? After all, you only get 4 CD's for this price. Read more
Published on May 6 2007 by D. Landry
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a hit!
EXCELLENT DIRECTING/PRODUCING/WRITING/ACTING. Great performances and the originality is unbelievable.
Published on June 29 2004 by Nick Rocco
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