About the Sopranos
Production company: HBO, Brillstein Entertainment
Partners, The Entertainment Park
Associated with: Warner Bros.
6 seasons (1999-2007) season 6 split in 2
American based (New Jersey)
Jan. 10, 1999-Apr. 4, 1999
Jan. 16, 2000-Apr. 9, 2000
Mar. 4, 2001-May 20, 2001
Sep. 15, 2002-Dec. 8, 2002
Mar. 7, 2004-Jun. 6, 2004
6 (part1) Mar. 12, 2006-Jun. 4,2006
Apr. 8, 2007-Jun. 10, 2007
*views in millions
You can watch The Sopranos on your TV on Sky
Atlantic in the later hours of the evening between
You can also buy the box set or individual DVD’s to
watch at home at anytime that’s convenient.
S1 E1 – The Sopranos
Writer: David Chase
S1 E2 – 46 Long
Writer: David Chase
S1 E3 – Denial, Anger, Acceptance
Writers: David Chase and Mark Saraceni
Director: Nick Gomez
The Sopranos: An innovative look at the life of Mafia Caop, Tony Sopranos, by first
person with additions perspectives are conveyed by the intimate conversation of
Tony and his psychiatrist Dr. Melfi. We see Tony throughout his day, at home, at
work and in therapy. Moments of dark humor scatter the aggressive drama,
language and violence.
The Sopranos: Tony is depressed, goes to counselor meeting, given pills and feels
happy but really its all because of his meeting with Dr. Melfi. Nightmares of losing
his family, associated with ducks. Tries to persuade mum to live in old age home but
she doesn’t want to, she begins to think that he wants to get rid of her and die, but
this is under the influence of venge-seeking Uncle Junior.
46 Long: Tony first sends men to find his sons science teachers stolen new car.
Meanwhile, Tony’s men have made two unsuccessful hijacks on trucks as they find
out they belong to Tony’s uncle. Tony is still going to counselor were she can see he
is sad and angry towards his mum after he has just put her into a home and they are
now not speaking to each other. This is after she has been suffering from the same
symptoms Tony had been suffering from before he collapsed.
Denial, Anger Acceptance: Tony’s good friend, Jackie, has developed cancer and
this affects Tony badly and how he sees things such as paintings with secret
messages. Meanwhile, Carmella has found out that he’s slept with her friend
Charmaine pre-marriage. Also, his ‘second son’ Christopher has given ‘speed’ or
Chrystal Meth to Meadow instead of her searching elsewhere that would seriously
harm her. A Hassid seeks Tony’s help to get son-in-law to divorce daughter and
25% family business. He doesn’t give in, Tony tortures him and is accused as a
‘golum’ and Dr. Melfi calls him Frankenstein. Uncle Junior gives orders to threaten to
kill Christopher, but to murder Brendan.
The camera angles were used very well to the extent that they
alone captured my attention. Firstly, the title sequence is filmed
brilliantly, as Tony drives to his house, we see the World Trade
Centers in the view of his side mirror (which was subsequently
taken down post-9/11 attacks) as well as the New Jersey turnpike
sign and the smoke from his cigar in the midst of the sun. Also, the
directors have taken our point of view, as in certain ‘secretive’
scenes there is a low and/or high camera angle to suggest that
people around are trying to get a look to see what’s going on,
trying to listen to the private conversation. They have also taken
away the cliché of the camera looking over a characters shoulder
during speech. Instead, they have opted for a boulder approach
and put the centre of attention dead in the middle which caught my
attention immediately. To keep the audiences attention, they
alternate between close and wide shots to make it full of suspense
and tension and to keep you on your toes.
There were never too many times that I was amazed at
the editing. The shots were broken down and edited like I
would do on Final Cut Pro, but then again we have to
respect how they managed in times where technology
wasn’t as advanced or efficient as now. However, what
really stood out for me every time was the title sequence.
A white ‘Andale Mono’ font would come in left and
exit right across the bottom of the screen as to not get in
the way of the images of New Jersey. Personally, I
believe this was really effective because it was very
important in showing how this mobster show wasn’t
casted in the lights of New York but the industrial New
Tony Soprano: Played by James Gandolfini, is the De facto
Boss of the DiMeo family, head of New Jersey’s most powerful
criminal organization. His objective is to keep it functional and
secretive. He is married to Carmela and has two kids. His uncle
and mother are very distant from him, coincidentally since his
father died, and they even unsuccessfully plot to kill him. He
publicly presents himself as a waste management consultant
and uses his nephew, Christopher, as a buffer in order to keep
him undetected by the FBI. Tony goes to a psychiatrist to
answer his questions about his sudden panic-attack, however,
he becomes accustomed to going there as it makes him feel
happier getting stuff off his chest and clearing up his problems.
He is the anti-hero of the show as his sheer cold-blooded
streak overpowers that of the man who only wants the best for
those who he cares for.
Dr, Jennifer Melfi
An Italian-American, she is considered to be the
person closest to truly understanding Tony Soprano
as he constantly seeks her help to deal with his
problems, fears and dreams. She is there to deal
with Tony’s problems whether he likes it or not,
because he does. They also have a secretive
burning passion for one another, but how Tony trusts
Melfi isn’t the same vice-versa as she, too, struggles
with alcoholism herself, while also having an
unknown son called Jason.
Married to Tony Soprano, is considered to be a greedy
and materialistic housewife, who’s greed fuels Tony’s
murderous activities. However, she also works to create
a semblance, the outward appearance, of legitimacy for
her family. Even though he tells her bits here and there,
Tony’s work and constant infidelity risks their marriage by
strain and causes periods of separation. She sees herself
as a Roman Catholic but does things to defy it such as
attempting to sleep with her priest. She cares for them,
yet it jealous of her children and regrets seeing them gain
the independence she is struggling to achieve.
Considered as a son to his uncle Tony and the person he
trusts most in his organization, and even goes as far as
choosing him to be his successor, even though he is
prone to the basic mistake. However, like Tony, was
prone to violent and impulsive behavior as well as being
a heroin and alcohol addict. He is seen as sort of a fan
favorite due to his enigma, guilt of murder from the first
episode and the care he has for those close to him. He is
also adds humor to his dialogue on top of showing:
maturity; arrogance; ignorance and earnestness. In a
story of murderers, criminals and bad guys, Christopher
somehow comes out as a hero.
Reference to Episodes
(S1 E1) The Sopranos: This was my favorite episode because of the
contrasts in the scenes of Tony when he is with the psychiatrist with
silence compared to his flashbacks and present self where a good
rhythmic soundtrack is being played throughout to show his enthusiasm
and the beat to his life. Also, this was the first time I had met the
characters, learnt of them, and I was able to experience what other
characters might have been feeling through the camera angles and the
way it makes you feel like you’re there with them. For example, when Tony
feints, the camera starts shaking and you fall with him.
(S1 E3) Denial, Ager, Acceptance: I preferred this episode over ‘46 Long’
for the sheer purpose of the final scene in which Brendan is killed. This is
the first proper murder that you see the thought process behind it and it
imagery used is fantastic. After he is shot, the camera never shows
Brendan’s face but only what happens around him. It is also full of
suspense and drama as secretes are revealed, friends are dying and
drugs are being passed around. We also see for the first time how Tony is
reacting to his new reputation of being a monster.
Love, death, desire and dreams. In my opinion, these are the main themes that
come to mind when thinking of The Sopranos as well as the subtle hatred,
depression, anxiety and failed endings.
The characters are presented to us in a way for the audience to really empathize
and sympathize with them as each of the characters suffer from realistic, real life
issues. From Meadow to Livia, Tony’s mum, they all suffer a degree of the unknown.
We all are seeing signs human weakness, shown by Christophers nightmares of his
first murder, Tony’s attitude towards psychiatrist paintings and the ironic incidence of
the counselor suffering from addiction.
Relationships are exposed: husband and wife; mother and daughter; mother and
priest; uncle and nephew; friend and friend and etc… Everyone is against each
other in a messy world orbiting around the Sopranos. The audience can only react
by offering feelings of sympathy and empathy as some of these events are common
in real life too.
The Sopranos has been credited with the significant
impact of the shape of the American television
industry. It has been characterized by critics as one
of the most influential artistic works of the decade
(‘99-’07) and is credited with allowing other drama
series with similar mature content to receive
mainstream recognition. It is also often cited as one
of the television series that helped turn serial
television into a legitimate art form on the same level
of feature films, literature and theatre.