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The SopranosTV Show 1999



The pilot was ordered in 1997, and the show premiered on HBO on January 10, 1999. The series ran for six seasons totaling 86 episodes until June 10, 2007. Broadcast syndication followed in the U.S. and internationally.[2] The Sopranos was produced by HBO, Chase Films, and Brad Grey Television. It was primarily filmed at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City in Queens, New York City and on location in New Jersey. The executive producers throughout the show's run were David Chase, Brad Grey, Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess, Ilene S. Landress, Terence Winter, and Matthew Weiner.




The SopranosTV Show | 1999



The Sopranos is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential television series of all time,[3][4][5][6][7][8] and has been credited with helping to start the Second Golden Age of Television.[9] The series won a multitude of awards, including Peabody Awards for its first two seasons, 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, and five Golden Globe Awards. It has been the subject of critical analysis, controversy, and parody, and has spawned books,[10] a video game,[11] soundtrack albums, podcasts and assorted merchandise.[12] Several members of the show's cast and crew were largely unknown to the public but have since had successful careers.[13][14][15][16] In 2013, the Writers Guild of America named The Sopranos the best-written TV series of all time,[17] while TV Guide ranked it the best television series of all time.[18] In 2016 and 2022, the series ranked first in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 greatest TV shows of all time.[7][19]


David Chase had worked as a television writer and producer for more than 20 years before creating The Sopranos.[23][24] He had been employed as a staff writer or producer for several television series, including Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Switch, The Rockford Files, I'll Fly Away, and Northern Exposure.[25] He had also co-created the short-lived original series Almost Grown in 1988.[26][27] He made his television directorial debut in 1986 with the "Enough Rope for Two" episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He also directed episodes of Almost Grown and I'll Fly Away in 1988 and 1992, respectively. In 1996, he wrote and directed the television film The Rockford Files: Punishment and Crime. He served as showrunner for I'll Fly Away and Northern Exposure in the 1990s. Chase won his first Emmy Award in 1978 for his work on The Rockford Files (shared with fellow producers) and his second for writing the 1980 television film Off the Minnesota Strip.[28][29] By 1996, he was a coveted showrunner.[30]


Chase had been fascinated by organized crime and the mafia from an early age, witnessing such people growing up. He also was raised on classic gangster films such as The Public Enemy and the crime series The Untouchables. The series is partly inspired by the Richard Boiardo family, a prominent New Jersey organized crime family when Chase was growing up, and partly on New Jersey's DeCavalcante family.[34] He has mentioned American playwrights Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams as influences on the show's writing, and Italian director Federico Fellini as an important influence on the show's cinematic style.[30][35][36]The series was named after high school friends of his.[23][33]


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.


Chase and producer Brad Grey pitched The Sopranos to several networks; Fox showed interest but passed on it after Chase presented them the pilot script.[32] They eventually pitched the show to Chris Albrecht, president of HBO Original Programming, who decided to finance a pilot episode[24][28] which was shot in 1997.[38][39]Chase directed it himself. They finished the pilot and showed it to HBO executives, but the show was put on hold for several months.[24]


During this time, Chase, who had experienced frustration for a long period with being unable to break out of the TV genre and into film,[24] considered asking HBO for additional funding to shoot 45 more minutes of footage and release The Sopranos as a feature film. In December 1997, HBO decided to produce the series and ordered 12 more episodes for a 13-episode season.[24][28][40]The show premiered on HBO on January 10, 1999, with the pilot, The Sopranos.


North Jersey prosecutor and municipal judge Robert Baer filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Chase in Trenton, New Jersey federal court, alleging that he helped to create the show. Baer lost the suit, but he won a ruling that a jury should decide how much he should be paid for services as a location scout, researcher, and story consultant. Baer argued that he had introduced Chase to Tony Spirito, a restaurateur and gambler with alleged mob ties, and Thomas Koczur, a homicide detective for the Elizabeth, New Jersey Police Department. Chase had conducted interviews and tours with both, which strongly inspired some characters, settings, and storylines portrayed in The Sopranos.[41][42][43] On December 19, 2007, a federal jury found against Baer, dismissing all of his claims.[44]


Chase was impressed with Steven Van Zandt's humorous appearance and presence after seeing him induct The Rascals into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and invited him to audition.[52] Van Zandt, a guitarist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, had never acted before. He auditioned for the role of Tony Soprano, but HBO felt that the role should go to an experienced actor, so Chase wrote a new part for him.[48][52] Van Zandt eventually agreed to star on the show as consigliere Silvio Dante, and his real-life spouse Maureen was cast as his on-screen wife Gabriella.[53][54][55]


Several well-known actors appeared in one or two episodes, such as Lauren Bacall, Daniel Baldwin, Annette Bening, Polly Bergen, Sandra Bernhard, Paul Dano, Charles S. Dutton,[62] Jon Favreau, Janeane Garofalo, Hal Holbrook, Tim Kang, Elias Koteas, Ben Kingsley, Linda Lavin, Ken Leung,[63] Julianna Margulies, Sydney Pollack, Wilmer Valderrama, Alicia Witt, and Burt Young.[64] Ray Liotta, who was eventually cast as two of the Moltisanti brothers in The Many Saints of Newark film prequel, was approached by Chase at one point to appear in third or fourth seasons of the show, but the plan didn't work out.[65]


Series creator and executive producer David Chase served as showrunner and head writer for the production of all six seasons of the show. He was deeply involved with the general production of every episode and is noted for being a very controlling, demanding, and specific producer.[23][29] He wrote or co-wrote between two and seven episodes per season and would oversee all the editing, consult with episode directors, give actors character motivation, approve casting choices and set designs, and do extensive but uncredited rewrites of episodes written by others.[56][66][67]Brad Grey served as executive producer alongside Chase but had no creative input on the show.[68]Many members of the creative team behind The Sopranos were handpicked by Chase, some being old friends and colleagues of his; others were selected after interviews conducted by producers of the show.[24][57]


Many of the show's writers had worked in television before joining the writing staff of The Sopranos. The writing team and married couple Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess worked on the series as writers and producers from the first to the fifth season; they had previously worked with Chase on Northern Exposure.[69]Terence Winter joined the writing staff during the production of the second season and served as executive producer from season five onwards. He practiced law for two years before deciding to pursue a career as a screenwriter, and he caught the attention of Chase through writer Frank Renzulli.[30][70]


Matthew Weiner served as staff writer and producer for the show's fifth and sixth seasons. He wrote a script for the series Mad Men in 2000 which was passed on to Chase, who was so impressed that he immediately offered Weiner a job as a writer for The Sopranos.[71]Cast members Michael Imperioli and Toni Kalem portray Christopher Moltisanti and Angie Bonpensiero respectively, and they also wrote episodes for the show. Imperioli wrote five episodes of seasons two through five, and Kalem wrote one episode of season five.[72][73]


Many of the directors had previously worked on television series and independent films.[57] The most frequent directors of the series were Tim Van Patten (20 episodes), John Patterson (13 episodes), Allen Coulter (12 episodes), and Alan Taylor (9 episodes), all of whom have a background in television.[57] Recurring cast members Steve Buscemi and Peter Bogdanovich also directed episodes of the series intermittently.[74][75]Chase directed the pilot episode and the series finale.[76]Both episodes were photographed by the show's original director of photography Alik Sakharov, who later alternated episodes with Phil Abraham.[77]The show's photography and directing is noted for its feature film quality.[78][79]This look was achieved by Chase collaborating with Sakharov. "From the pilot, we would sit down with the whole script and break the scenes down into shots. That's what you do with feature films."[77]


The Sopranos is noted for its eclectic music selections and has received considerable critical attention for its effective use of previously recorded songs.[80][81][82][83]Chase personally selected all of the show's music with producer Martin Bruestle and music editor Kathryn Dayak, sometimes also consulting Steven Van Zandt.[80] The music was usually selected once the production and editing of an episode was completed, but on occasion sequences were filmed to match preselected pieces of music.[66] 041b061a72


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