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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 --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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 13 months ago by weaselhead
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 morePublished 18 months ago by goto73
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 betterPublished 20 months ago by Phyllis Kramer
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 morePublished 21 months ago by Adele F D
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 morePublished on Jan. 29 2013 by Amber Duffy
Not the best season, but its a great show. I bought this at a second hand shop the night before a very long bus trip. Watched the set on the bus and really enjoyed it. Read morePublished on April 25 2012 by James Powell