The Sopranos Sessions

Seitz, Matt Zoller & . Abrams. Jan. 2019. 480p. notes. ISBN 9781419734946. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781683355267. TV
Twenty years after The Sopranos debuted on HBO and mob boss Tony Soprano became a household name, TV critics Seitz and Sepinwall offer the ultimate postmortem of the show that revolutionized television and ushered in a wave of small-screen antiheroes. They approach their subject with the rigor of a literature professor expounding on Madame Bovary, or Tony's psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi probing the depths of her troubled patient's psyche. Episode by episode, lively essays mull symbolism, unearth obscure references, and pose existential questions. Casual viewers may tire of the meticulous analysis (and copious footnotes), but devotees will be awestruck. Just as The Sopranos elevated the medium of television, Seitz and Sepinwall raise the status of TV writing to new heights. They debate the ambiguous final scene and engage in insightful interviews with creator David Chase, who makes clear his disdain for closure and his delight at subverting audience expectations. A collection of the authors' Sopranos coverage for the Newark Star-Ledger caps off the book.
VERDICT For uberfans who still argue over whether Tony made it out alive, wonder what became of the Russian, and eagerly await the prequel.

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