DAVID BIANCULLI

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1999: HBO Debuts 'The Sopranos'
January 10, 2017  | By TV WW
 
On this day in 1999, HBO introduced its second dramatic series, The Sopranos. (Oz was the first.) The show focused on New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), his dysfunctional family relationships and the challenges he faced running a crime empire. 

The series also starred Edie Falco as Tony's wife, Carmela and Lorraine Bracco as his therapist, Dr. Melfi. Other key cast members included Michael Imperioli, Aida Turturro, Tony Sirico, Steven Van Zandt, Vincent Pastore, Dominic Chianese and Drea de Matteo.

C
reated by producer/director David Chase, The Sopranos was one of television's premiere series during its six-season run, and helped launch the wave of successful cable dramas. Its "cut-to-black" finale is widely considered one of television's most famous — perhaps infamous — series finales.
 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for under $20.

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

This Day in TV History