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The Sopranos has been labelled the ‘greatest TV show of all time’

Charisa Bossinakis

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The Sopranos has been labelled the ‘greatest TV show of all time’

Rolling Stone has released its 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time list and has selected the crime drama series The Sopranos for the number one spot.

The news outlet wanted to create a list of the ‘most game-changing, side-splitting, tear-jerking, mind-blowing, world-building, genre-busting programs’ television history has ever seen.

While there were some huge contenders, journalist Alan Sepinwall marvelled at The Sopranos' groundbreaking storytelling that managed to ‘torch every written and unwritten rule that TV storytelling had been governed by since the days of Gunsmoke’.

He added: “Simplicity and holding the audience’s hand were out, and narrative and moral complexity were in, all the way through a final edit that we still can’t stop.”


Following the HBO show, the number two spot was unsurprisingly given to The Simpsons, with Breaking Bad and The Wire placing third and fourth, respectively. 

Making the top 10 were the likes of UK comedy series Fleabag, then Seinfeld, Mad Men, Cheers, Atlanta and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

The Sopranos, which first aired in 1999, takes place in a fictional New Jersey-based town, and follows Italian American mobster Tony Soprano, who is spectacularly played by James Gandolfini


The series portrays the dichotomy of Tony’s underground world of organised crime and his traditional family home life.

The show ran for six seasons and ended in June 2007, amassing around 11.9 million viewers for its last episode.

Credit: HBO
Credit: HBO

However, not only did the show garner a huge following, but it also made history as the first series to be nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series seven times, in every year eligible.


It finally won the award in 2004 and 2007.

Many critics often note how the series changed television storytelling as many shows have attempted to replicate its likeable anti-hero formula.

Life writer Richard Jerome said of the show: “Pushing creative and moral boundaries along with audience expectations, it influenced a raft of prestige TV that followed in its wake—including Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Wire, Deadwood, and Game of Thrones.”

Imperium Publication editor Arjun Khanchandani wrote: “From the production equipment and crew to the way in which the show was shot, The Sopranos acted like TV’s first 13-hour movie one which played out one hour at a time, every week. 


"It helped to turn serial television into a legitimate art form on the same level as feature films, literature, and theatre.”

Featured Image Credit: HBO.

Topics: News, TV and Film, HBO

Charisa Bossinakis
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