Now considered a classic, The Sopranos debuted on HBO on January 10th, 1999. Set primarily in New Jersey, the drama followed the travails of mob boss Tony Soprano as he dealt with crime in his professional life and turmoil in his private life, leading him to seek the assistance of a psychiatrist.

The role of Tony Soprano was played by New Jersey native James Gandolfini, a Rutgers graduate, who was primarily known up to then by a minor roles in the films True Romance and Crimson Tide. His therapist was played by Lorraine Bracco who had played Karen, the wife of Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) in Goodfellas. Tony’s wife, Carmela, was played by Edie Falco and his protégé/cousin, Christopher, was played by Michael Imperioli.

The Sopranos ran for six years totaling 86 episodes and won 21 Emmy Awards. The show was ratings success for HBO. Even though it was on a premium cable channel, its audience rivaled those of network shows. The final episode was highly controversial as it was not clear if Tony had been killed or not. Any hope of a reunion show ended with Gandolfini’s death in June of 2013.

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