“The Sopranos” is widely regarded as one of the best shows of the recent golden age of TV, but series creator David Chase isn’t feeling celebratory.
In an interview with The Times U.K. about the show’s 25th anniversary, Chase said, “Yes, this is the 25th anniversary, so of course it’s a celebration. But perhaps we shouldn’t look at it like that. Maybe we should look at it like a funeral.”
He continued, “That was a blip. A 25-year blip. And to be clear, I’m not talking only about ‘The Sopranos,’ but a lot of other hugely talented people out there who I feel increasingly bad for.”
“The Sopranos” debuted on Jan. 10, 1999, on HBO, allowing the show to depict R-rated subject matter without being beholden to advertisers.
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Starring James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli and Lorraine Bracco, “The Sopranos” racked up 21 Emmy awards during its six-season run.
It also ushered in an era of prestige dramas, including shows like “The Wire, “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men.”
But Chase now feels things are backsliding in the television landscape.
“We’re going back to where I was. They’re going to have commercials,” he said referring to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
“And I’ve already been told to dumb it down,” he added.
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Chase also lamented audiences’ seemingly shortened attention spans.
“As the human race goes on we are more into multitasking. Your phone is just one symptom, but who can really focus?” he said. “Your mother could be dying and you are by her hospital bed taking calls.”
He continued, “We seem to be confused and audiences can’t keep their minds on things, so we can’t make anything that makes too much sense, takes our attention and requires an audience to focus. And as for streaming executives? It is getting worse. We’re going back to where we were.”
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The 78-year-old also had some choice words for his early days in network TV.
“Back then the networks were in an artistic pit. A s—hole. The process was repulsive. In meetings, these people would always ask to take out the one thing that made an episode worth doing. I should have quit,” he said.
Despite his laments, Chase has pride in the legacy of “The Sopranos.”
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“Still, it’s been gratifying to see people hold an interest. How could that be anything but pleasing to the ego, to your place in the human race?”