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Sopranos newbie... seasons improve?

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Sopranos newbie... seasons improve?

Old 06-02-05, 09:18 AM
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Sopranos newbie... seasons improve?

I don't have HBO and have never been a fan of mafia movies, so I've been able to ignore the Sopranos fairly easily. Just know of a few characters, but have no clue about plotlines or who dies, etc.

I rented the first season from my library and watched the first three episodes.
Good stuff. I see that I can rent the next few seasons from the library as well. That's a lot of viewing! Just curious if this show continues to improve through the years or am I watching the best right at the start?

(no spoilers please!)
Old 06-02-05, 09:24 AM
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This is all IMHO, of course.

The first 3 seasons are excellent. Some of the best drama shows ever produced. Season 4 drops steeply in quality, and Season 5 was just a hideous mess.
Old 06-02-05, 09:33 AM
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I think it's been pretty steady quality. Some of the episodes are better than others, and some of the best are in early seasons, but on the whole, I disagree with the popular opinion that it's gotten significantly worse over time. IMO, it suffered from massive overhype after the initial seasons and consequential backlash that every episode wasn't about people getting whacked.

das
Old 06-02-05, 09:43 AM
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I agree with das.....
I don't think the quality has suffered at all over the years.....I think people have just gotten used to the show and since it doesn't trump itself year after year with sillier and siller sotrylines (like many shows do) they see it as nothing new and thus a decline in quality.

Personally, season 1 is still my favorite season, but so far, season 4 is probably my second favorite season (and many people complaing that season wasn't very good). I don't get HBO either, so I have yet to see season 5....but when season 4 came out I was not expecting much because of all the "this season wasn't very good" hype on the internet and in the press. I was actually quite surprised when I saw the season as I really liked it. To me, season 4 had a lot of the really ridiculous minor plot points (that inevitably get blown up into these huge interpersonal conflicts
Spoiler:
a fat joke nearly causing a war between the families, killing someone over a horse, beating people up over drama in a nursing home, robbing and killing an old lady who keeps money under her mattress, etc...
) that made season 1 so interesting to me
Spoiler:
a mother trying to have her son murdered for putting her in a nursing home
.

anyway, of the seasons i have seen so far, i would rank them as such:
1, 4, 2, 3
Old 06-02-05, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by das Monkey
I think it's been pretty steady quality. Some of the episodes are better than others, and some of the best are in early seasons, but on the whole, I disagree with the popular opinion that it's gotten significantly worse over time. IMO, it suffered from massive overhype after the initial seasons and consequential backlash that every episode wasn't about people getting whacked.

das

Old 06-02-05, 10:50 AM
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Funny. One of the reasons I never cared to watch the show in the first place was because I didn't want to see a show about people getting whacked all the time. It gets old. Seeing that this is not always the focal point... GREAT. I'll keep watching.
Old 06-02-05, 11:07 AM
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Definitely continue watching. All 5 seasons of this show are rewarding.
Old 06-02-05, 11:15 AM
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Great show! I would rank the seasons like this: 1 2 3 4 5.

Why are the HBO shows so expensive when they hit the DVD market? A $100 MSRP for 13 episodes is crazy.
Old 06-02-05, 11:32 AM
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I am not a fan of mafia shows either, but decided to start watching after season 4 ended. I would end up staying up to watch 5 episodes at a time, and went through it all. Definately worth the rental.
Old 06-02-05, 11:52 AM
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I think the show's quality has declined a bit from a lack of direction and purpose. Season One is the best of all the seasons because the story arc was well-defined, followed by Season Two. Later on, it seemed as if the show began to switch gears and decided it was going to be more of a character study without a defined destination. Whether this was a conscious, artistic decision or a means to squeeze another season out of the life of the show is debatable, but the use of the convention from Season Two,
Spoiler:
that of introducing a new captain, who is always a source of grief and guilt for Tony, and killing him within the same Season or half-way through the next,
in the subsequent seasons suggests the latter. The aforementioned convention seemed just a bit indolent on the writer's part, but it kept the show from progressing while giving the appearance that the story of the Sopranos was creeping to some kind of resolution.
Spoiler:
Plus, it gave the greasiest fans of the Jersey Greaseballs a reason to come back week after week, because after the demise of Richie, you never knew when someone could be whacked, even though you always knew who it was going to be.


Despite the change of focus from the larger arc to the more personal level of the characters, the character-focused episodes were better in Seasons One and Two. Take the College episode from Season One and Tennessee Moltisanti from Season Two to demonstrate this. Thankfully, none of the stories have yet solely consisted of the characters reading select passages of Waiting for Godot while sitting down to macaroni and gravy in their undershirts.

Overall, I still like watching the Sopranos, as it one of the more intelligent and rewarding series that I am aware of, but I would've preferred that Chase decided to end at the originally planned five seasons.

Last edited by SFranke; 06-02-05 at 12:24 PM.
Old 06-02-05, 11:56 AM
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I also haven't seen 5 because I don't do the HBO subscription (I have enough to watch during the year). I don't think 2, 3, or 4 hold a candle to 1. The later seasons are good TV, but 1 was great TV. This is very likely because season one set a pace that would have led to Chase's remaining ideas being spent by about the middle of season three if it had continued. I know people get defensive about this, but I don't really see harm in acknowledging it. Every season I have seen is enjoyable, and that's what matters most to me when it comes to watching a show.
Old 06-02-05, 12:03 PM
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Easy answer. No, the seasons do not improve. The quality steadily declines. Not a lot, but there is a definite decline. This is true of **almost** every tv show.
Old 06-02-05, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by automator
Easy answer. No, the seasons do not improve. The quality steadily declines. Not a lot, but there is a definite decline. This is true of **almost** every tv show.
Every show eventually declines from a peak, but I'd say most shows I watch don't hit that peak until seasons 2, 3, or even 4. In fact, the Sopranos is a rare case of hitting a stride right out of the gate the way it does.
Old 06-02-05, 12:22 PM
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IMO, the apparent overall quality may decline, but individual episodes stand out within each season. The knock, as was pointed out, is in the overall story arc. It seems to have wandered hither dither at times. I did think season 5 improved on season 4. Season 4 gets maligned mostly because some of the worst individual episodes are in season 4, but overall it isn't really that bad. It's all relative, so to speak.
Old 06-02-05, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by atlantamoi
GREAT. I'll keep watching.
Just be aware that eventually you are going to be subjected to the worst mess of an episode ever produced. Two words...
Spoiler:
dream sequence
Old 06-02-05, 01:21 PM
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Oh BTW, while on the subject. This past tue. 5/31 my wife and I were in Belleville NJ where we saw they were filming a scene for next season. It was at Cozzorelli's Funeral home.
We were driving by when I saw some guys on the side of the road so I slowed down then stopped to allow them to cross the street in front of our car. So Little Steven as "Silvio" walked past in front of us.
Old 06-02-05, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil L.
Oh BTW, while on the subject. This past tue. 5/31 my wife and I were in Belleville NJ where we saw they were filming a scene for next season. It was at Cozzorelli's Funeral home.
We were driving by when I saw some guys on the side of the road so I slowed down then stopped to allow them to cross the street in front of our car. So Little Steven as "Silvio" walked past in front of us.
A Sopranos scene set at a funeral home?! Who would have guessed!
Old 06-02-05, 04:08 PM
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I rank them 1, huge drop off, 3, 2, huge dropoff, 4, huge dropoff, 5.

Immediately after the
Spoiler:
dream sequence
I changed the channel and washed my hands of that show.

It is no Shield.
Old 06-02-05, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by automator
Easy answer. No, the seasons do not improve. The quality steadily declines. Not a lot, but there is a definite decline. This is true of **almost** every tv show.
Just my opinion, but Seinfeld, Cheers, The Simpsons, Star Trek: TNG, Law and Order, just to name a few, all hit their stride around season 3 or 4 before eventually declining.
Old 06-02-05, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Charlie Goose
This is all IMHO, of course.

The first 3 seasons are excellent. Some of the best drama shows ever produced. Season 4 drops steeply in quality, and Season 5 was just a hideous mess.
i season four was slower focusing more on the family issues, but made up for it with the awesome finale. season five was pretty good i dont see how you could say it was a "hideous mess" every season of Sopranos has been fantastic, some of the best television on tv

Last edited by maingon; 06-02-05 at 04:20 PM.
Old 06-02-05, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy James
Every show eventually declines from a peak, but I'd say most shows I watch don't hit that peak until seasons 2, 3, or even 4. In fact, the Sopranos is a rare case of hitting a stride right out of the gate the way it does.
Originally Posted by cleaver
Just my opinion, but Seinfeld, Cheers, The Simpsons, Star Trek: TNG, Law and Order, just to name a few, all hit their stride around season 3 or 4 before eventually declining.
Actually, this is correct. I should have said that most shows peak early in their run and then, inevitably, slowly and steadily decline.

A second example of brilliance right out of the gate is another HBO show, OZ. Damn near perfect first season and then all downhill.
Old 06-02-05, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by automator
Actually, this is correct. I should have said that most shows peak early in their run and then, inevitably, slowly and steadily decline.

A second example of brilliance right out of the gate is another HBO show, OZ. Damn near perfect first season and then all downhill.

Both of these on their bad days, are tons better than most shows on their most brilliant days. I think both have held steady, and I actually like later seasons of Oz as much if not more than the first season.
Old 06-02-05, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cleaver
It is no Shield.
I think we're going to find ourselves in the minority in this thread, but I agree. I would put season one of The Sopranos at around the level of The Shield, but what I love about The Shield is that it has sustained a level of quality for such a long time.
Old 06-02-05, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by automator
A second example of brilliance right out of the gate is another HBO show, OZ. Damn near perfect first season and then all downhill.
I think Oz definitely did hit its stride right out of the gate, but it seems to me that it depends on what you're looking for out of it whether it got better or worse. I haven't seen the whole run, but what I have seen seems to become more of a soap and less grounded in reality as things go on. I know that's true of the last season because I did watch it during a brief time I did have HBO.
Old 06-02-05, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy James
I think we're going to find ourselves in the minority in this thread, but I agree. I would put season one of The Sopranos at around the level of The Shield, but what I love about The Shield is that it has sustained a level of quality for such a long time.
Small minority, if that. I'm sure if this poll were held today, with the season finale of the Shield coming up and no Sopranos for almost a year, it would be 50/50.

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