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"The Sopranos" is a high note in TV history


     During Super Bowl LVI, you may have seen a Chevrolet commercial featuring two characters from a television show. For many viewers of my generation, these people may be unfamiliar, but they were some of the most popular characters in early 2000’s television. This commercial was based on the critically acclaimed show “The Sopranos”, a drama about an organized crime family in New Jersey. 

     The series starts with Tony Soprano as a captain and acting underboss in the DiMeo crime family. After the death of their leader Jackie Aprile, Tony's uncle Corrado “Junior” Soprano was technically Aprile’s successor. However, everyone knew that Tony was running the family business. Throughout the show, Tony had a reputation of being tough and intimidating, which he used as acting boss to keep the family functioning. Despite his outward actions, Tony was hiding crippling anxiety and panic attacks, which led him to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi. The great scriptwriting and acting of this show draws the audience into actually liking the character of Tony Soprano, despite his lack of morality and criminal activities.

     The main supporting cast of the show is composed of three other mafia members that are similar to Tony. While they are all cutthroat criminals on the outside, they each have their own human characteristics that the audience can relate to. Tony’s second-in-command throughout the show is Silvio Dante. While Dante tends to be the most reasonable and emotionally sound out of the main


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characters, he struggles with taking charge and making decisions on his own. The chief captain of the family is Paulie Gualtieri. Gualtieri has to handle most of the dirty work in the business and manages the income for each member of the family. Gualtieri’s character is often seen as the most ruthless, but he secretly struggles with his self-esteem and sporadic personality. The third and final main character is Chris Moltisanti. While Moltisanti doesn’t start off with a major role in the business, he works his way up to being Captain in the later seasons. Moltisanti’s hard work is often overlooked by the other members of the family who think his position was handed to him by Tony, who is his uncle. Moltisanti struggles to prove himself to the other characters in the show and battles drug and alcohol addiction throughout the series.

     The way this show is written often leads the viewer into rooting for these criminals, as they are displayed as the protagonists and have many relatable aspects. This concept continues to be replicated in popular shows today, such as “Breaking Bad”, “Ozark” and “House of Cards.”

     The amazing scriptwriting is perfectly complemented by the great acting of this show. Tony is played by actor and New Jersey native James Gandolfini, who does an amazing job portraying the depth and complexities of this character. To be able to play someone who is often perceived as a villain, yet also a vulnerable family-man, is truly remarkable. Over the course of this show, Gandolfini accumulated three Emmy awards, three Screen Actors Guild awards, and one Golden Globe award. Gandolfini’s performance as Tony Soprano is even regarded as one of the best in television history.

     This was personally one of my favorite shows that I’ve watched, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in crime dramas. However, if you are sensitive to foul language or violence, you might want to stay away from this show. You can watch this series on almost all streaming platforms, including HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube TV.

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