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> Description 
The Sopranos is a television drama on HBO about a mafia family of the same name. It has enjoyed five very successful seasons, with its sixth season currently in production. In August of 2005, HBO announced it was also producing eight "bonus" episodes that would debut in January, 2007. It is currently believed that those eight bonus episodes will be the last of the series.

Since it first aired in 1999, the show has become a cultural phenomenon —gaining wide popularity and exceptional critical acclaim for its groundbreaking approach to its view into the mafia lifestyle, the American family, and the effects of violence on the human soul. Like other HBO programs, The Sopranos is rated for mature audiences only —for its adult issues, depictions of violence, and strong language.

The series stars James Gandolfini and Edie Falco and highlights the difficulties faced by Tony Soprano, a Mafia boss in suburban Essex County, New Jersey, as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his wife and family, and his crime "family".

Overview

The series begins with Tony collapsing after suffering an anxiety attack, which prompts him to begin therapy with Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Gradually, it is revealed that Tony's mother is manipulative and possibly psychotic; someone in his organization is talking to the FBI; his children have troubled futures; and his own superiors are plotting his death.

Setting

The Sopranos portrays the Mafia culture as an exaggerated version of the American nuclear family, in order to explore issues of class, sexuality, criminality, gender, family dynamics and generational conflict. It has been criticized by some for its supposed reinforcement of negative Italian American stereotypes by focusing on organized crime. This same issue, however, has been addressed on the show several times, notably in the first season episode "The Legend Of Tennessee Moltisanti" and in the fourth season episode "Christopher".

The series premiered on HBO on January 10, 1999. The Sopranos has also been broadcast uncut in Canada by CTV, in the UK by Channel 4, in Ireland by RTE and in Australia by the Nine Network. As of 2005, five seasons of 13 episodes each have been completed, and a sixth 12-episode season is in production, with eight "bonus" episodes to conclude the season following shortly thereafter.

Title sequence

One of the most recognizable parts of The Sopranos is the program's opening, in which the theme song "Woke Up This Morning", performed by A3, is heard. The show's main character Tony Soprano is seen emerging from the Port Authority's Lincoln Tunnel, and entering the New Jersey Turnpike. Numerous landmarks in Newark, NJ (many of which are now famous due to the show's success) are shown in this opening. The sequence ends with Tony pulling into the driveway of his suburban home in Essex County.

As Tony turns into the New Jersey Turnpike, an image of the World Trade Center towers can be seen in his rear view mirror. Just prior to the start of the fourth season, HBO and Sopranos creator and producer David Chase removed this cut altogether in response to the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 in which the towers were destroyed.

The opening sequence was sufficiently recognizable to be parodied on an episode of The Simpsons in 2004, with Fat Tony standing in for Tony Soprano. It was also parodied in the Adult Swim show Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, in 2003, in an episode where Fred Flintstone is a mob boss.

Show Description Credit: Wikipedia
 
> Airing History & Information 
Premiere January 10, 1999
Episodes
Network HBO
Format/Time Color / 60 Minutes
Country United States
Upcoming Airs Not currently airing
 
> Cast 
Drea de Matteo....   Adriana La Cerva (1999-2004)
Robert Iler....   Anthony "A.J." Soprano, Jr.
John Ventimiglia....   Artie Bucco (1999-2006)
Edie Falco....   Carmela Soprano
Kathrine Narducci....   Charmaine Bucco (as Katherine Narducci)
Michael Imperioli....   Christopher Moltisanti
Dominic Chianese....   Corrado "Uncle Junior" Soprano
Lorraine Bracco....   Dr. Jennifer Melfi
Robert Funaro....   Eugene Pontecorvo (22 episodes)
Federico Castelluccio....   Furio Giunta (2000-2002)
Jerry Adler....   Herman 'Hesh' Rabkin (21 episodes)
Aida Turturro....   Janice Soprano (2000 -)
Nancy Marchand....   Livia Soprano (1999-2000)
Jamie-Lynn DiScala....   Meadow Soprano (also as Jamie-Lynn Sigler) (1999-2006)
Dan Grimaldi....   Pasquale 'Patsy' Parisi / Philly 'Spoons' Parisi (29 episodes)
Tony Sirico....   Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri
Joe Pantoliano....   Ralph Cifaretto (2001-2002)
David Proval....   Richie Aprile (2000)
Sharon Angela....   Rosalie Aprile (28 episodes)
Vincent Pastore....   Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero (1999-2000)
Steve Van Zandt....   Silvio Dante (as Steven Van Zandt)
Steve Buscemi....   Tony Blundetto (2004)
James Gandolfini....   Tony Soprano
Joseph R. Gannascoli....   Vito Spatafore / Bakery Customer (32 episodes)

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> News (News Archive) (Post a News Story)
'Sopranos' adds bonus episodes
(Posted August 12, 2005 by Leah Yoakum)

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- When "The Sopranos" finally arrives next year for its sixth season, fans of the HBO mob drama will get more than they expe ... [More Information]

Source: CNN News
 

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