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TV Drama Presentation: The Sopranos


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Media Studies presentation on TV Drama, The Sopranos by Elan Crocker

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TV Drama Presentation: The Sopranos

  1. 1. Media Studies TV Presentation
  2. 2. About the Sopranos  Crime Drama  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)
  3. 3. Viewing Figures Season Originally Aired Season Seaso Premie n r Finale Season Averag e Time Slot 1 Jan. 10, 1999-Apr. 4, 1999 3.45 5.22 3.46 21:00 2 Jan. 16, 2000-Apr. 9, 2000 7.64 8.97 6.62 21:00 3 Mar. 4, 2001-May 20, 2001 11.26 9.46 8.87 21:00 4 Sep. 15, 2002-Dec. 8, 2002 13.43 12.48 10.99 21:00 5 Mar. 7, 2004-Jun. 6, 2004 12.14 10.98 9.80 21:00 6 (part1) Mar. 12, 2006-Jun. 4,2006 9.47 8.90 8.60 21:00 6 (part 2) 7.66 11.90 8.23 21:00 Apr. 8, 2007-Jun. 10, 2007 *views in millions
  4. 4.  You can watch The Sopranos on your TV on Sky Atlantic in the later hours of the evening between 11pm-4am  You can also buy the box set or individual DVD’s to watch at home at anytime that’s convenient.
  5. 5. Episode Log  S1 E1 – The Sopranos  Writer: David Chase Chase Director: David  S1 E2 – 46 Long  Writer: David Chase Attias Director: Daniel  S1 E3 – Denial, Anger, Acceptance  Writers: David Chase and Mark Saraceni Director: Nick Gomez
  6. 6. Storyline  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.
  7. 7. Storyline  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.
  8. 8. Camera Angles  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.
  9. 9. Editing Techniques  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 Jersey.
  10. 10. Tony Soprano  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.
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. Carmela Soprano  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.
  13. 13. Christopher Moltisanti  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.
  14. 14. 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.
  15. 15. Links to clips  Chase:  Bridge scene:  Brendan death:
  16. 16. Themes and Representation  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.
  17. 17. Recognition  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.