official declaration

the sopranos is the greatest television show in the history of television.

i, like several other million people watched the season premiere of the sopranos last night, and somehow came away convinced that the 2 and a half year wait was worth it. can a single episode of any other show inspire as much giddiness about the upcoming season?

there are plenty of shows that have come and gone and many good shows. but i have never been so engaged and so hooked on a show as i have the sopranos. i find myself replaying the episode in my head while taking a shower and trying to figure out what is going on inside tony's head. never has a show taken up so much of my time outside of actually watching the show. it's just that good. i know it has the advantage of being on cable so it can push the subject envelope a little bit, but the ensemble of actors is just so stellar, there's no other word for it than completly engrossing.

many of HBO's shows are like that: well written, great ensemble casts, and complicated story lines. however, as one of my watching mates remarked last night, HBO is good at creating shows that if you stick with it from the beginning, they get better over time because of your own investment in the character. but that's where the sopranos separates itself as the alpha male of this pack. i think that you can jump in whenever you want with the sopranos and instantly enjoy it.

so while i lament the fact that it is probably gonna take the full twenty episodes until i figure out how chrissy is going to get it, i think that people who have invested the time, should take a moment to appreciate this singular television show while it is still on the air. i'm not sure that we'll see anything like it for a long long time.

bob's top 10 television shows of all time
1. the sopranos
2. seinfeld
3. the cosby show
4. ally mcbeal (season 1 and 2)
5. diff'rent strokes
6. star trek the next generation
7. family ties
8. the andy griffith show
9. the real world
10. tie - three's company and late night with david letterman.



Bob said...

just kidding about ally mcbeal. just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention. sub in the brady bunch

Erik said...

Ally McBeal? Number FOUR? You have no credibility whatsoever. At least you intentionally forgot all but the first two seasons.

I'm completely OK with Sopranos at the top of the list of greatest (non-news and non-sports) TV shows... ever, but you're forgetting some pretty important shows in that list. Easy to do when you're too busy fantasizing over David E. Kelly's anorexic fantasy women --

1. The Sopranos
2. I Love Lucy
3. The Cosby Show
4. Star Trek
5. The Tonight Show with Jonny Carson
6. M*A*S*H
7. The Office (BBC)
8. Columbo
9. Sex and the City
10. The Real World

So, I think the top 10 should be dominated by shows that break new ground, either by establishing a format or changing a genre that is influential for years to come. I Love Lucy is probably the first sitcom, ever. The Tonight Show redefined the variety show. The Real World was the first 'reality' show. Star Trek changed science fiction television and spawned four sequels and a bunch of copycats.

The Sopranos is the finest example of television drama we've seen. It has the sophistication of a series of epic novels, and the production values of the best motion pictures. It has redefined television drama in ways we can't predict yet. That's why Bob's right to say it's number one, but most of the rest of your list can kiss my stugots. Seinfeld? That show would never have existed were it not for Lucille Ball.