Badabing: ‘The Sopranos’ turns 25

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HBO’s Emmy-winning mafia series The Sopranos launched on the premium cable network on this date back in 1999.

The winner of 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, the David Chase-created show starred the late Emmy winner James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, an anxiety-riddled family man who is also the head of a criminal enterprise in New Jersey.

Arguably, The Sopranos paved the way for a so-called new golden age of television, featuring such hits as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Wire.

Gandolfini died in 2013 while on vacation. He was 51.

The series starred Edie Falco as Tony’s wife, Carmela; Robert Iler as his son, A.J.; Jamie-Lynn Sigler as daughter Meadow; Lorraine Bracco as Tony’s therapist Dr. Jennifer Melfi; the late Dominic Chianese as Tony’s Uncle Junior; Michael Imperioli as Tony’s hothead nephew Christopher Moltisanti; and Drea de Matteo as Christopher’s eventual fiancée Adriana.

Tony’s gang included Vincent Pastore as Big Pussy, Steve Schirripa as Bobby Baccalieri, the late Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri and E Street Band member turned actor Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante.

Across 86 episodes — and wrapping up with a still-divisive finale that aired June 10, 2007 — the series earned more than 300 award nominations, including 111 Emmy noms.

The cast and creators reunited in person in 2019, and virtually in 2020, to benefit Friends of Firefighters.

That same year, prequel film The Many Saints of Newark debuted in limited theaters because of the pandemic and also on the streaming service now called Max, with Gandolfini’s real-life son, Michael, playing the future mob leader in his youth.

Every episode of the show and the prequel are available to stream on Max. Check out Max’s Anniversary site for more goodies.

And here’s how HBO is celebrating the milestone:

  • Launching an official Sopranos TikTok account that gives 25-second tastes of every episode
  • Dropping never-before-seen footage within the new, in-app Sopranos 25th Anniversary collection.
  • Opening pop-up versions of Tony’s butcher shop Satriale January 10 in New York and Los Angeles.
  • Offering themed menu items on Postmates.
  • Screening the show’s pilot at Alamo Drafthouse locations in New York and Los Angeles.

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