The Sopranos

The Sopranos

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The Sopranos is an American television drama series created and produced by David Chase. It premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on January 10, 1999 and ended its original run of six seasons and 86 episodes on June 10, 2007. The show has also been broadcast on A&E in the United States and internationally. Set in New Jersey, where it also was produced, the series revolves around mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads.

A major commercial and critical success, The Sopranos is the most financially successful cable series in the history of television and is acknowledged as one of the greatest television series of all time and a seminal dramatic production. The series is noted for its high level of quality in every aspect of production and is particularly recognized for its writing and the performances of its lead actors.

The show is credited with bringing a greater level of artistry to the television medium and paving the way for many successful drama series that followed. It also won numerous awards, including twenty-one Emmys and five Golden Globes.
A staple of 2000s American popular culture, The Sopranos has been the subject of much parody, controversy and analysis, and has spawned books, a video game, high-charting soundtrack albums, and a large amount of assorted merchandise.


Before creating The Sopranos, David Chase had been a television writer for over 20 years. He had been employed as a staff writer/producer for several television series (including Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Rockford Files, I'll Fly Away, and Northern Exposure) and had created one short-lived original series, Almost Grown, in 1988. Before his success with The Sopranos, Chase had won two Emmy Awards: one in 1980 for writing the TV movie Off the Minnesota Strip, and one in 1978 for his work on the The Rockford Files (shared with fellow producers).

The story of The Sopranos was initially conceived as a feature film about "a mobster in therapy having problems with his mother." After some input from his manager, Lloyd Braun, Chase decided to adapt it into a television series. In 1995, Chase signed a development deal with production company Brillstein-Grey and wrote the original pilot script. Drawing heavily from his personal life and his experiences growing up in New Jersey, Chase has stated that he tried to "apply [his own] family dynamic to mobsters." For instance, the tumultuous relationship between series protagonist Tony Soprano and his mother, Livia, is partially based on Chase's relationship with his own mother. Chase was also in therapy at the time and modeled the character of Dr. Jennifer Melfi after his own psychiatrist.

Chase had been fascinated by the Mafia from an early age, having been raised on classic gangster films like The Public Enemy and the crime series The Untouchables as well as witnessing such people growing up. The series was named after high school friends of his. Chase thought the Mafia setting would allow him to explore themes such as Italian-American identity and the nature of violence, among many others. Chase is Italian-American himself, his original family name being DeCesare.

Chase and producer Brad Grey, then of Brillstein-Grey, pitched The Sopranos to several networks; FOX showed interest but passed on it after Chase presented them the pilot script. Chase and Grey eventually pitched the show to then-president of HBO Original Programming, Chris Albrecht, who recognized the originality and potential of the show, and decided to finance the shooting of a pilot episode. Albrecht is quoted as saying:

I said to myself, this show is about a guy who's turning 40. He's inherited a business from his dad. He's trying to bring it into the modern age. He's got all the responsibilities that go along with that. He's got an overbearing mom that he's still trying to get out from under. Although he loves his wife, he's had an affair. He's got two teenage kids, and he's dealing with the realities of what that is. He's anxious; he's depressed; he starts to see a therapist because he's searching for the meaning of his own life. I thought: the only difference between him and everybody I know is he's the Don of New Jersey.

The pilot episode (called "The Sopranos" on the DVD release but commonly just referred to as "Pilot") was shot in 1997. Chase, having previously directed episodes of The Rockford Files and Almost Grown, directed it himself. After the pilot was finished and shown to the HBO executives, the show was put on hold for a year before HBO eventually decided to produce it and ordered a full 13-episode season. The show premiered on HBO on January 10, 1999 with the pilot episode. The Sopranos was the second hour-long television drama series produced by HBO, the first being the prison drama Oz. (Credit: Wikipedia)



The Mafia

The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra) is a Sicilian criminal society which is believed to have emerged in late 19th century Sicily. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct. Each group, known as a "family", "clan" or "cosca", claims sovereignty over a territory in which it operates its rackets - usually a town or village or a neighborhood of a larger city.

Offshoots of the Mafia emerged in the United States and in Australia during the late 19th century following waves of Sicilian and Southern Italian emigration. (Credit: Wikipedia)

Gumleaf Mafia

In 2009 Mediaman widely referred to the poker business association of Jeff Fenech, Shane Warne and Greg Tingle as the "Gumleaf Mafia", a term also used to describe the Australian actors in Hollywood that are working, sometimes to the detriment of American actors based in Hollywood.


Jeff Fenech

Shane Warne

Greg Tingle


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