The Guardian has named American crime drama series The Sopranos the best TV show of the century so far. The show premiered 20 years ago, in 1999, and had its finale in 2007 but is still watched and loved by the audiences. It revolves around Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), an Italian-American mobster based in New Jersey, trying to balance his family life while leading a criminal organisation. In an interview with The Guardian, the show’s creator David Chase has now revealed why he wrote the show. Tony Soprano’s dysfunctional relationship with his toxic mother Livia mirrors David’s relationship with his own controlling mother.
“She didn’t recognise herself. I did an episode of The Rockford Files that was kind of like The Sopranos, about an Italian mother and her son who’s a hit man. They were going to give him up so that the mob boss would give her a house. It was a similar tone. She didn’t get it,” the 74-year old writer revealed.
When asked whether his mother had been proud of his success, he responded, “Not particularly. She didn’t understand it. My mother was a great one for saying, ‘who do you think you are?’”
The Sopranos also showed Tony attending sessions with his psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco). A mobster going for therapy was a unique idea at the time. David shared that this was based on his own positive experiences with therapy, which he started going for at the age of 31. He said it had saved his life and stopped him from driving away his wife, to whom he has been married for over 50 years now. David is currently working on a movie prequel to The Sopranos, titled The Many Saints of Newark. Set in 1967, this will follow Tony and other protagonists’ lives as young men, and young Tony’s character will be portrayed by James Gandolfini’s son, Michael.