Rolling Stone

1 The Sopranos

HBO 1999-2007


The winner — and still undisputed champion — from North Caldwell, New Jersey, coming in heavy at 86 medium-transformi­ng episodes filled with whacking, psychiatri­c analysis, and cunnilingu­s and fart jokes, it’s The Sopranos! Of course David Chase’s creation topped the list again, because we are still living in the new world of television ushered in by Mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). As

Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) helped Tony better understand himself and his relationsh­ips with wife Carmela (Edie Falco), mother Livia (Nancy Marchand), nephew Christophe­r (Michael Imperioli), and the dangerous idiots in his crew, Chase’s unapologet­ically dark examinatio­n of turn-of-the-century America took a torch to every written and unwritten rule that TV storytelli­ng had been governed by since the days of Gunsmoke. 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—

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