July 20, 2024

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Sopranos Review: 20 Years Later, First Time Watching

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The year is 2024 and I am a few years, 20+ years, late to the game and finally decided to watch the Sopranos. You can thank social media for playing random clips and pushing me to decide to watch the series. So, over the past several weeks I have watched all 6 seasons of the Sopranos and wanted to give my overall review of this series.

Time has past where I will not hold anything back, spoilers all over this. Without breaking down each episode I will call out my major observations and thoughts on the major points.

  • First, to get this out of the way, the Sopranos have been tagged as the greatest show ever… No. At the time this came out maybe, and this definitely laid the ground work for the shows after, but #1 no way. Top 10 for sure.
  • The overall structure of the series was all over the place. There was no overall point to the series, the story arcs were poorly executed. Here are the examples that bugged me.
    • The overall FBI RICO story line. This was the closest thing to a driving plot line. It didn’t go anywhere. They were collecting evidence, then nothing, they arrested others but never put the whole case together against Tony. Meh.
    • The main aspect was Tony and Dr. Melfi, the therapist. This is what started it all but like the other plot line it became broken, no real point as it dragged on then just stopped.
    • Uncle Junior. Is he the boss, is he not. He’s sick then he’s not. He’s mental but he’s not then he is. He tries to kill Tony, then they work together  for a while, then gets shot… all over the place.
    • The character removals, most were without much fanfare.
    • The biggest plot line story arc that could have been transformative to the series was absolutely wasted. I still don’t understand this one. I am talking about Jesus Rossi. The guy who raped Dr. Mefli in the stairwell. A one episode story that was one of the most shocking of the series. However it was totally wasted and stupid. Short version, the cops arrested the guy but through a paperwork fumble he was released… like he wouldn’t be re-arrested for rape? Dr. Melfi identifying him and his place of employment but not doing anything thing, stupid. Lastly, Dr. Melfi starting to touch on the subject with Tony but ends with her not asking for Tony’s help. Absolutely stupid… what a waste. Just think about how that would have changed the series by wrapping her into Tony’s world.
    • What happened to the Russian/Chec military solider that Paulie and Chris shot in the head in the woods but didn’t kill him and never found the body. Another wasted arc… what happened to the guy? I was expected him to come back for revenge… nope. Also that lost in the woods adventure episode was one of the stupidest.
  • AJ, don’t get me started. This character development worked because I wanted to throat punch AJ in every scene.
  • The Junior story arc made no sense. Build up to his hidden fortune… naw, forget it. Goes to trial that could impact the whole family, multi-million dollar government investment.. give Junior mental issues and they drop the case and stop moving forward? Ugh.
  • Tony’s sister… comic relief? Annoying filler with no real purpose.
  • The shower pooping emo son that suddenly wasn’t or where did they go? We talked with him and poof… solved.
  • The time jumps were annoying.
  • The beach house and boat went where?
  • Tony working with the FBI, sort of, didn’t make sense.
  • Chris’ whole arc was messy and his end was not worthy of the character… worried about losing his license? Like losing his license for a failed drug test would have stopped him from driving? He just killed a guy point blank before the crash and he’s worried about losing his license…
  • Silvio, he was shot, may not wake up… moving on.
  • I did love they squeezed almost every single actor that has been in a gangster movie into the show.

Here are other observations about the Soprano universe:

  • Cancer is like the common cold. No big deal, you get it and get rid of it.
  • Tony needed a monthly STD test.
  • So many carbs.
  • With all the cancer, no one dealt with cirrhosis which is amazing considering the amount of alcohol consumed.
  • They are all bad drivers.
  • The FBI apparently is the only law enforcement, where were the local PD?
  • The ending… meh. I don’t care but Tony was killed off. I was more upset about all the open story lines that weren’t closed, not for artistic reasons but for poor story management.

Overall the Sopranos was a good series, despite my annoyances and clear problems with it. I am glad I watched it. Will I go back and re-watch it, no. I can understand up to the point when this show originally aired there was nothing like it before at that level. It became the framework for other epic shows like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, The Boys and so on were shows that built off this model.

If you love gangster movies, watch the Sopranos if you haven’t, it is worth a watch. If you don’t you won’t be missing out at this point.

 

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