DVD: The Sopranos: Season 1 (18)

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The Independent Culture

HBO's finest achievement – The Wire was excellent, this was better – gets the Blu-ray treatment.

Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), family man/Mafia capo, is experiencing panic attacks and ends up seeing a shrink (Lorraine Bracco); an idea lifted from Analyse This. Tony's got a lot on his plate: a conniving uncle, a vile mother (the late Nancy Marchand), a wayward cousin, Christopher (the wonderful Michael Imperioli), and the FBI are circling (they have a rather large snitch embedded in Tony's outfit). Tony, in the first series, still has a sort of rakish charm – this diminishes markedly as the series continues – and the black humour is at its most tangy. Groundbreaking television.

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