Steve Buscemi says The Sopranos was 'the best' and explains why it had to come to an end
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On this day, 24 years ago, The Sopranos' first-ever episode aired on HBO and subsequently changed TV forever.
And what better way to mark this momentous occasion by looking back to the interview in which Steve Buscemi described the mobster drama as 'the best'.
The actor, who portrayed Tony Soprano's cousin Anthony 'Tony' Blundetto and directed a number of episodes, also explained why the show had to come to an end in 2007, much to the dismay of fans across the globe.
Despite so much time having passed since it first aired, the series was and still is considered to be one of the greatest shows in TV history.
This was expressed by Buscemi in a 2007 appearance on PBS' Charlie Rose where he was asked how 'good' The Sopranos is in the context of 'everything' i.e. movies, theatre and TV.
"I think it's the best," he says. "I really think it's not only the best television show that's been on, but I think it's really better than most movies or can compare with any of the greatest films."
The acting and directing legend continued: "And they did it week after week for seven seasons, which I think is an amazing feat.
"The writing, the directing, the cast was just top notch across the boards."
Rose understandably then asks why the show had to end, to which Buscemi replies: "It got harder for Jimmy [James Gandolfini].
"I think that character really took a lot out of him, and he invested so much of himself in it. And I think it was hard for him to sustain that.
"So I think in some ways he was really okay with it ending. I think some of the other cast members wanted it to continue."
"I think it's probably both," he added. "Whatever project that he wants to do next, he can hopefully get it made because of the brilliant work that he's done on that show.
"But yeah... for the rest of his life, I think people will stop him on the street and say, 'Hey, Tony!'"
His comments are made all the more poignant in retrospect given Gandolfini's tragic passing. The actor died unexpectedly from a heart attack while on vacation in Rome with his family on 2013, aged just 51.
To hear how much of himself he put into the role as the Italian-American Mafia crime boss and the toll it took on him is not surprising given his unforgettable performance throughout the show.
But that doesn't make it any less sad. So tonight, on the 24th anniversary of the first ever episode, let's raise a glass to the one and only James Gandolfini, the man who encompassed the spirit of the best show ever made. Salute!