My Top 10 TV Shows of All Time – No. 1: The Sopranos
To celebrate the return of Jack Bauer kicking ass in the newest season of 24 I decided to do my first list/countdown for this blog. Every day starting from No. 10 I’ll count down my top 10 shows of all time. Now this is my list, and believe me I know people will disagree with it, but I’ll try and justify my choices with a spoiler free summary of my thoughts and feelings.
1. The Sopranos
1999-2007, 6 seasons, HBO, Created by David Chase
No. 1 is probably of little surprise to those who know me. What am I saying probably, it certainly shouldn’t be considering how much I talk about it. The Sopranos is my favorite TV show of all time, it had one of the biggest effects on me personally and in my TV viewing habits.
Briefest summary possible for the 2 people who have lived in a cave the past 20 years and have no idea what the show is about. The Sopranos follows Jersey Mob Boss Tony Soprano and his two families, one in crime and one in love. The show often uses the framing arc of having Tony discuss (or at least trying to without incriminating himself or breaking Omertà) events with his shrink who he starts seeing after suffering severe panic attacks.
Tony Soprano is one of the greatest characters in TV history played by one of the greatest actors to ever grace our screens, James Gandolfini who tragically passed last year and is sorely missed. Jimmy brought nuances to Tony that brought him truly to life and away from the trappings of a Mob Boss Stereotype. ‘T’ is a complicated man, we love him and hate him, we are shocked when things happen to him and are shocked when he does things to others. He’s a human being and in many ways a likable one, he’s also a criminal and the show never really lets us forget that fact.
Both of Tony Sopranos families are filled with members who are just as memorable as Tony, Carmela, Tony’s Wife, (played by Edie Falco and yes thats who my cat, Edie, is named after) is long suffering but not innocent, she knows who she married. Paulie, Sil, Bobby, Chris, AJ, Meadow, Hesch I could keep throwing these names out and I could never do them all justice.
I can never be not emotional about this show, I started watching during my late teenage years and each year the new season was like returning to a reunion of friends and family. I never wanted to be Tony, but I admired certain qualities that he brought (not crime related haha!) In fact I started having panic attacks during work but at the time being on my own I had no idea what they were, seeing the show and Tony’s relating of the experience was what actually made me connect the dots. In an ironic twist in my mid 20’s when I was seeing a therapist to help deal with my depression, I actually got her hooked on the Sopranos which she had never seen before!
I love the Sopranos, I love it like I love the Yankees, Baseball & America with only the two things beating it being my Mom and my kitty. I don’t watch the show on an endless loop as that weakens the powerful episodes and the characters, I visit it all over again once every 2 years to experience the masterpiece that is this show.
The Sopranos is available on DVD and a few seasons are on Blu Ray, I would honestly fall on my knees and beg you to watch if you haven’t before. The scene I posted below was powerful when I first saw it but after going through my life the past 5 years it’s gotten even more poignant and touches areas that really hit deep.