Sunday, February 26, 2012

29-Day TV Challenge: Best Pilot Episode

The Sopranos introduced a mob boss and his family, taking all the conventional ideas about mobsters and shaking them up. We meet Tony Soprano. We see him doing the things we expect, like chasing down a gambler and kicking the shit out him. The Sopranos, beginning with its pilot episode, had a way of making the violence seem funny at first and then it would make sure you didn't forget this manner of running a "business" was sick and horrible.

Then we see that Tony is a man who enjoys watching the ducks in his pool. When the ducks leave, Tony has a panic attack.

We see him with his new psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi. We see his resistance to therapy, his way of dealing with women (he calls her "hon"). We see his sadness beneath the surface of his bravado. We see a human being. Tony is just like us. He's sad. He has issues with his mother. He puts up a front to make it through the world he was born into. He stresses over his job. It's just that his job happens to be that of a mob boss.

During his session with Dr. Melfi, Tony praises the idea of the strong silent type, like Gary Cooper.
"See what they didn't know is once they got Gary in touch with his feelings, they wouldn't be able to shut him up," Tony tells her.

We meet the family, in all their foul-mouthed glory.

The Sopranos' pilot episode set the stage for one of TV's most excellent dramas. It never deviated from the tone it set with its fabulous first episode. 


  1. I loved this show, especially the first three seasons. Heather and I really looked forward to watching HBO on Sunday nights when they had The Sopranos, Six Feet Under and The Wire (greatest show ever). I also loved Deadwood but Heather thought that they used the word "cock sucker" too often. She once counted thirty six "cock suckers" in a single episode. I loved the Sopranos' sense of humor. A quick example:

    Did you know that in 2000, David Chase hired Matthew Weiner as a writer for The Sopranos after reading his pilot of Mad Men? Mad men was then shelved until 2007.

    1. That's a whole lotta cocksuckers!

      That's interesting about Matthew Weiner. Interestingly, Mad Men really is similar to The Sopranos in that way that it takes one man in a certain line of work and really gets into his life, his character, etc. I cannot wait for Mad Men to come on again!

  2. I loved the pilot episode of Lost. It had me hooked.


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