Sopranos - The Complete First Season Reviews
The late James Gandolfini immortalized himself as Tony Soprano, the Mafia Capo (later Boss) who has troubles balancing his family life and his "business" life leading to a series of panic attacks. Gandolfini is a genius from all of his mannerisms and actions as Soprano. The film's supporting cast is great in Edie Falco as his good wife Carmella, Jamie Lynn Sigler as his daughter Meadow and Robert Iller as AJ his care free son. Each actor in the Mafia "family" were also perfectly casted, Dominic Chianese as Tony's Uncle Corrado "Junior" fellow Capo, Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante, Tony's right hand man, Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri, Vincent Pastore as Sal "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero and what launched the career of Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, Tony's nephew who he is beginning to groom to one day take over the Soprano Crew.
The storyllines are great in the family life with Tony's conflict with his own inner demons, his wife's uncertainty of her husband and his actions as well as Tony's frustration with his mother. In Tony's business life conflict arises when DiMeo Family Acting Boss Jackie Aprille dies, an inner family war breaks out between Tony and Junior for who will take over the family, as well as the fear that one of their closest men may be an informant with the constant FBI presence cracking down on family operations.
The Sopranos first season is pure gold, the first of 6 amazing seasons. A show that is rivalled by literally no other.
EPISODE 1: PILOT
Great first episode, sets us right into the world of Tony Soprano, a waste management manager, who happens to have a good paying side job. In this episode he is sent to a psychiatrist("Goodfellas" Lorraine Bracco)after a case of a heart attack, bought on by Anxiety.
This episode features a great amount of the everyday mob cliche's of all the great Mob films. It works very well as these seem to be like mini-films, instead of episodes of a TV Series. The film is shot just like any Scorsese or Coppola film that dealt with the same subject matter.
Still the series acts as a family drama in some areas, except for a family show, this series seems to cater to every other minority. I especially enjoyed the Mafia film discussion, followed by a housewife grabbing a machine gun. CLASSIC.
4 out of 5
EPISODE II: 46 LONG
Great continuation, the writers certainly know how to keep an audience interested. More mafia film references are made as one of the guys loves to impersonate Pacino's famous line in "The Godfather III," and Martin Scorsese himself make an appearance. The scene that really made me laugh and have a good time is when the trucker ask the guys to beat him and tie him up, so it looks like he struggled. Great material there. The drama also escalates as Tony has to deal with sending his mother into a retirement home and feeling guilty on it. Lorraine Bracco is amazing as his psychiatrist and helps to get the story moving in certain areas. 4 out of 5 stars
EPISODE 3: Denial, Anger, Acceptance
Another great episode continues to amaze me. This time Tony must deal with one of his good friends being sick in the hospital with Cancer and taking on a job in which the target is not intimidated by Tony's men by death. I liked how in the episode a job Tony takes on is a bit harder than any he's ever encountered before. It gets to the point where the man who hired him had to suggest something. The ending was a great way to end the episode, with Tony's daughter singing as Tony's guys are handling some business, just like in The Godfather. 4 out of 5 stars.
EPISODE IV: Meadowlands
Great episode; this time the series begins to focus somewhat on the family as well as Tony. We get to see more on Tony's son and his troubles at school with an old friend. The fight scenes between the two are quite graphic and real, which makes it better. Some of the issues from the last episode end or continue in this episode, in a cool way. Lorraine Bracco is focused on a little as well and a revelation comes to Tony's attention that is quite interesting and probably nerve wracking for Tony. Also I enjoyed seeing scenes of family togetherness and family squabbles in a big way. Its a great cut in the middle. 4 out of 5 stars.
EPISODE 5: College
Another fine episode focuses a lot on the relationship Tony has with his daughter and the relationship between Tony's wife and her priest have their encounter. This episode had me thinking a bit, Tony is on a road trip with his daughter to visit the Colleges she would like to go to in the future and yet he's also trying to take care of unfinished business that took place years ago. Its fun and bit unnerving to see Tony have to go through the trenches of being a mob boss, taking caring of business and a good father. Great episode.
4 out of 5 stars.
EPISODE 6: Pax Soprana
Tony's growing attraction for his psychiatrist is starting to effect his love life, but to find out he begins to try and find out for sure. Meanwhile Uncle Juniors new position has made him change a few traditional ways, causing Tony to have to step in incognito.
4 out of 5 stars.
EPISODE 7: Down Neck
Another home run, I know I sound like a broken record with these episodes, but blame the show writers. This episode deals with more of The Soprano children as Tony Jr. may have ADD and it causes Tony Sr. to relive his days when he first discovered his father's "real" job. This episode plays somewhat like The Godfather II, by going back and forth and showing how the older generation went through what the younger generation is going through. Great TV.
4 out of 5 stars.
EPISODE 8: The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti
Intense episode features many of the characters dealing with a chance they may be overrun by the FBI, including Tony Soprano. During the course of the first season controversy was sparked by many Italian Americans, who claimed this show gave us(I'm one too, Curto is the last name))a bad name, this episode helps to address those issues as we are given a history lesson in what the Italian Americans have done in the past(although The Chinese invented Spaghetti by inventing Lo Mein, Italians just changed an already great meal and made it better). Funny little scene there that could have been easily cut out, but wasn't. Christopher begins his work on his screenplay as he begins to fear what may happen to him if the FBI caught him and begins to act recklessly. This is a great episode that needs to be seen. 4 out of 5 stars
EPISODE 9: Boca
Okay I want to say before I review this episode that for a moment in this episode Tony was a better man than me. I would have killed that Soccer Coach, with my bare hands. If I were in his position or not. This episode has a very serious toned premised, but still managed to add an incredibly funny subplot about Juniors sex life(is it me or is Bobbi good looking for an old lady?). Both stories are great, but the drama coming from the main story is just wow, I'm surprised no one took matters in their own hands.
5 out of 5 stars.
NOTE: The scene in the beauty polar(where Bobbi tells Carmela about Junior's talents) when you see out the door, you'll see the VIP Diner in Jersey City, where I used to eat all the time as a child, its located on Journal Square in Jersey City, right across from Summit Ave and Hudson County Community College.
EPISODE 10: A Hit Is A Hit
Great episode, its fun to see a little cultural mixing going on. Also we learn a bit of history in the music world. Performances are still good, with Christopher getting too big for his britches.
4 out of 5 stars
EPISODE 11: Nobody Knows Nothing
This episode is another great one, one that opens up a new arc that is hard for anyone to believe if it ever happened to them. 3 out of 5 stars
EPISODE 12: Isabella
Awesome episode really gets into Tony Soprano's mind. Here we meet a woman named Isabella, who sparks a bit of curiosity from Tony, while he is extremely depressed. Also Junior and Livia's plan to whack Tony begins to come unfolded, but doesn't quite work out.
4 out of 5 stars
EPISODE 13: I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano
Excellent episode, all the points that have been building through this first season are bought to a head. Tony finally let's his mother know of his knowledge of the hit planned on him and his Uncle is given what he deserves.
5 out of 5 stars
This turned out to be a terrific first season, while the final minutes of the last episode was a bit of a disappointment, with no cliffhanger, it still felt grand to me. I recommend seeing this season, but be prepared to buy the collection, because this series is addicting. BADA BING
The series was shot on location in North Jersey, based around Bayonne, Jersey City, Hackensack and other areas in North Jersey can be seen in many episodes. I know I live and am from here.