The Sopranos is said to be the greatest television series of all time. It was this show that really made HBO the place of prestige television that it is today. It is safe to say that without this David Chase creation, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and other such iconic shows would not exist.
Based in New Jersey, The Sopranos revolved around a fictional Italian-American mobster Tony Sopranos, played by late James Gandolfini.
Let us take a look at the top ten episodes of The Sopranos:
Although this list is not ordered, the fourth episode of The Sopranos’ season 1, titled College, will top this list. In this episode, we see for the first time the ruthless side of Tony and how he is unable to reconcile his mob life and his family life.
2. Denial, Anger, Acceptance
The third episode of The Sopranos’ season 1 is great otherwise as well, but it is the show’s best repartee that makes me watch it again and again. Ariel, a jew in Tony’s custody, tells Tony, “You ever heard of the Masada? For two years, 900 Jews held their own against 15,000 Roman soldiers. They chose death before enslavement. The Romans? Where are they now?” Tony, deadpan, replies, “You’re looking at them, a**hole.”
Like College, the sixth episode of season 3, University, is also hard to watch. Tony is unable to save the innocent stripper Tracee and she is killed. Later, during his therapy session with Jennifer Melfi, he is ashamed at his failure to save her, and yet speaks vaguely about her death.
4. Made in America
David Chase wrote and directed only two episodes of the show. First was the pilot titled simply The Sopranos, and second was the finale, Made in America. While it has been a subject of controversy, Made in America is still a great episode that wraps up one of the best shows well. We may never know Tony’s fate, and probably it is best left ambiguous.
5. Second Opinion
The Sopranos was not just an exquisitely written, directed and performed piece of entertainment, it also spoke directly to the audiences, provided they were smart enough to sit up and take note. There are few episodes that illustrate this better than Second Opinion.
6. The Knight in White Satin Armor
Game of Thrones and other HBO series are known to have shocking character deaths that significantly affect the story. But it was The Sopranos that perfected it. We expected Tony to kill Ritchie, but could not have guessed it would be Janice who kills him.
7. Long Term Parking
Sometimes, The Sopranos could be a massive punch to the gut. Long Term Parking was probably the most massive of them all.
8. The Sopranos
The episode that started it all, The Sopranos, also called Pilot, introduced us to one of the finest lead characters in the history of television.
9. Whoever Did This
Another episode that made us recall how cold-blooded Tony could be. The violence was too much for many, and even Tony was surprised at his own brutality.
10. Pine Barrens
This episode is considered by many as one of the best episodes of the show and it is. It is not just the writing, which is top notch, but also stunningly beautiful cinematography that often gets overlooked.