The Most Important TV Show Ever Celebrates Milestone On Streaming

By TeeJay Small | Published

Few shows have made a greater lasting impact on the television landscape than The Sopranos. The acclaimed HBO original series recently celebrated a massive milestone with its 25th anniversary, which included special live events, new merchandise drops, and a host of special features on the show’s streaming menu on Max. Running from 1999 until 2007, The Sopranos paved the way for other modern crime shows with complex anti-hero leads, including Breaking Bad, Ozark, Power, and more.

The Sopranos Was A Modern Mob Story

the sopranos

The Sopranos starred James Gandolfini in a landmark performance as family patriarch Tony Soprano. Throughout the show’s six seasons, Tony navigated the hardships of running his family, including two moody teenagers and a wife with the spending habits of an empress, and his “other” family, a North Jersey crew of mobsters known for their rash behavior and nonstop criminal activity. The show, which took great inspiration from classic mob stories such as Martin Scorsese‘s Goodfellas and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, inverted cinematic tropes about the mafia by showcasing the reality of a crumbling crime empire in the age of digital surveillance and the Patriot Act.

Re-inventing The Mafia

In The Sopranos, the biggest enemies aren’t other mobsters clawing for supremacy over divided criminal territories. Instead, the biggest enemies are true-to-life examples of generational trauma, narcissistic parents slipping into the throes of dementia, and unresolved childhood issues resulting in complex depression and anxiety disorders. Tony Soprano spends most of the show in an on-again, off-again relationship with therapy, parsing through what makes him an effective leader from the discomfort of a psychotherapist’s college-educated lens.

One Of The Greatest Casts Ever Assembled

In addition to the late James Gandolfini, The Sopranos employed some of the greatest Italian-American performers to ever grace the screen, including Edie Falco, Tony Sirico, Vincent Curatola, Dominic Chianese, and The White Lotus‘ Michael Imperioli. The show also featured a host of Goodfellas actors, including Frank Vincent, Lorraine Bracco, Tony Darrow, and Vincent Pastore. In 2021, the creator of The Sopranos, David Chase, wrote and produced a prequel film titled The Many Saints Of Newark, which reinvigorated the massive community of fans, inspiring many viewers to binge their way through a rewatch of the acclaimed series.

The Sopranos Broke New Ground In Story-Telling

The Sopranos has been referred to as one of the most important shows ever to grace the small screen, as the team behind the crime drama embraced the idea that each hour-long episode would serve as a feature film. Through this, the show’s writers and producers could explore complex moral quandaries, intense themes of loyalty, friendship, and the ethics of criminality, and utilize curse words and nudity to their hearts’ content. The show is one of the first television programs to depict a main protagonist killing someone in cold blood, not self-defense.

The Ending Only Adds To Its Legacy

To this day, essays and think-pieces are penned about The Sopranos, especially regarding the state of the ambiguous final scene. David Chase and his crew were near-universally hailed for their boundary-pushing work on the show, with characters such as Tony Soprano, Silvio Dante, Christopher Moltisanti, and Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri going down in history as the most well-rounded and complex characters ever written. If you’re interested in watching the show for the first time or exploring what new special features have only recently been available to the public, check out The Sopranos on Max today.