1. THE SOPRANOS 

Created by David Chase  

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Aired: HBO, 1999-2007

“A mobster in therapy, having problems with his mother," was how The Sopranos initially sparked, according to creator David Chase, though he was thinking about the premise for a feature film. Though The Sopranos did indeed become a show about a mob boss with mother problems, it quickly sprawled to comment upon, or observe, innumerable aspects of American life, from the efficacy of psychotherapy to the ways in which a family-run business, even the Mafia, was dying out to a corporatizing culture. For Chase, The Sopranos was a reaction away from everything he had done as a television writer until then. “I was so tired of episodic television. Did I want to make a grand statement? No. But I did want to make films in which the audience had to pay attention.”

Creator David Chase chats with Tom Fontana about the origins of The Sopranos 

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