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The Sopranos Sessions

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  571 ratings  ·  76 reviews
On January 10, 1999, a mobster walked into a psychiatrist’s office and changed TV history. By shattering preconceptions about the kinds of stories the medium should tell,The Sopranoslaunched our current age of prestige television, paving the way for such giants asMad Men, The Wire, Breaking Bad, andGame of Thrones. As TV critics for Tony Soprano’s hometown paper, New ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams
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Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
The Soprano’s Sessions by Matt Zoller Seitz, Alan Sepinwall, Laura Lippman, (Introduction), David Chase, (Creator) is a 2019 Harry N. Abrams publication.

Well, you woke up this morning
Got yourself a gun
Your mama always said you'd be the chosen one

She said, you're one in a million, you've got to burn to shine
But you were born under a bad sign with a blue moon in your eyes

And you woke up this morning
All that love had gone
Your papa never told you about right and wrong

But you're looking good, baby
Paul Bryant
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: television
To walk like a man in this world is to burn so slowly you won’t notice it until your soul has turned black.

Almost nobody gives a damn about your life but you, and…there’s a good chance you don’t even give as much of a damn as you think.

Not lines from the show, but they might have could have been - lines written instead by our two authors Seitz and Sepinwall. They chew, they ruminate, they pontificate, they simplify, they complicate, they exegesate, although I think that last one isn’t really a
Caleb Wilson
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think I've probably watched the show seven times through in earnest, and it's been background noise a few more times over as well. That said, I only have a few friends who have even watched the show, fewer still who agree with me that The Sopranos is the best show ever made, which makes this book essential. It's like having a friend (or a couple friends, really) to trade theories with, get trivia from, and participate in debates with. It goes down so easily that I read it in probably three or ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
If you are a fan of Sopranos and even after all of these years, wonder if you missed any moments, this book seems to fill in a lots of the past. It will make a great gift for diehard fans and it is so long that you could spend days reading. I received a complimentary ARC .
Joey B.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tremendous episode by episode insight into HBO's, The Sopranos. From the pilot, to "University" to "Pine Barrens" to "Whoever Did This" to the series finale, "Made in the USA."

Alan Sepinwall deconstructs the characters, dialogue, music and cinematography, and gives plausible answers to many common fan theories about what happened to Tony in the final scene.

Plus things that we might have missed, like what happens in EVERY seventh episode, what happens after our favorite characters are seen
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This TV serial about New Jersey "made men" was a classic. "Less yacking, more whacking."

The Sopranos Sessions moves through the show, episode by episode, calling out the obvious and not so obvious details. These are followed by a series of interviews with David Chase (The Sopranos show-runner), in which he divulges his perspective on the controversial final episode. The book includes some additional essays, and sadly, Zoller Steitz' obituary for James Gandolfini.

The Sopranos Sessions is a must
hyper saline
May 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Much different from what I was expecting. The writers are longtime TV critics, and their observations tend more toward musical cues and callbacks than to much else. Guys, it's a serialized show. I get it that the characters reference things that happened before. Episode synopses rarely touch on plot points, motivation (outside of Tony's), actors, characters, gang politics, or even individual scenes. A few episodes are basically glossed over ("we didn't like this one because it was weak" while ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
My father got sick in the summer of 1999, shortly after The Sopranos aired its first season on HBO. And though it hadn’t yet become the watershed moment in television history that it was destined to become, my dad instantly and passionately adored this show. He was fascinated by “mob stuff” in general (movies like Goodfellas, The Godfather and My Cousin Vinny were often re-watched in my home, whenever highly neutered versions of themselves aired on network TV).

But there was something about
Campbell Andrews
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not only is it a great show, The Sopranos was a watershed for critical consideration of television. Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall are no johnny-come-latelys, they were writing about it for print (!) and acquainted with James Gandolfini and creator David Chase. The new, extensive interviews with Chase are alone worth $20.

The Sopranos Sessions made me want to re-watch the entire series. Time being so precious, that's no small feat.
Sandra Burns
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I received a free review copy of this book.
Love the beginning, so many little subtle things that I missed, the first time around. The authors writing, was so good, I could see the episode in my mind.
However, The David Chase sessions, were way too long and boring. He seemed to repeat himself, and kept talking about his home in France. What does France, have to do with the book?
I did enjoy the morgue, also.
Would have been a better book, if the Chase sessions, would have been abbreviated.
Faith 09
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought that this book was such a cool and interesting read. I never watched The Sopranos and probably never will but I still got so much out of this book!
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Honestly I didn’t read all of the David Chase interviews (I might in the future, I just felt like the recaps were so good they pretty much gave me everything I needed) but the recaps are so awesome and totally worth the price of admission. The perfect complement to the Sopranos rewatch my husband and I did over the last few months. Thoughtful, substantive and introspective but also full of charm and humor. A few of their footnotes also had the type of corny dad jokes I can’t get enough of. The ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible, detailed and rich deep dive analysis of the greatest TV series of all time. The conversations with Chase are an absolute delight. Can’t recommend this highly enough. Best to read and watch along simultaneously
Daniel Ford
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Woke up this morning, bought myself a book. Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz been my favorite TV critics for years now, and I’ll read anything they write. My true hope is that their new book The Sopranos Sessions ends mid-sentence and I have to call ABRAMS books to ensure they printed the right copy. And then the pair are cagey about it for decades afterwards. Matt Zoller Seitz’s Carousel led me to rewatching (and re-loving) “Mad Men,” and I expect to have the same experience revisiting one ...more
Dipra Lahiri
Indispensable resource for hard core Sopranos fans, insightful commentary on each episode, and best of all, interviews with David Chase, which reveal the process and thinking that went into crafting the greatest ever TV series.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A die-hard Sopranos fan, I did not want this book to end.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely titanic and thorough examination of one of the most groundbreaking television series out there. Incisive and funny, it cuts to the heart of each episode’s themes and significant beats. Probably going to rewatch the Estonia...
Steve Sanders
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent primer for those diving into the show for the first time. For those doing a rewatch, I think Todd VanDerWerf’s episode reviews for the AV Club are more in depth.
Andrew Lee
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Quite a surprisingly illuminating companion for what is still the best television show in history
C.W. Schultz
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent read for any die-hard "Sopranos" fan. The traditional viewer might find this read a bit dense and pretentious, but then again, this book wasn't written for them.

The first 312 (out of 471) pages detailed episode recaps, which—if you know each episode backwards—is an especially fun read because authors Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall have put so much review into the show (not just for this book, but also since its premiere back in January 1999) and have interviewed
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've re-watched The Sopranos about ten times, and every time, it's a completely different show. It's more than a blood nostalgia of the gangster lifestyle, a Freudian depiction of the human drama, a critique about modern capitalism, an exploration of depression and anxiety and loneliness and spiritual suffering, of ambiguity in morality, of addiction in gambling and drugs and women, of whether one person can break the inter-generational trauma of their genes and a perpetuating lifestyle of ...more
Jack Herbert Christal Gattanella
As a great admirer of MZS from his articles to books (Wes Anderson, Oliver Stone), and to a lesser extent Alan Sepinwall (only lesser in that I hadnt read as much of his work, but liked his podcast on TV when I heard it, The TV Avalanche Podcast), not to mention a big fan of the show, I was already hyped for this book. I didnt anticipate just the gigantic ocean of insight that they would provide on all 86 episodes - and also an incredible in depth interview with David Chase, getting as much out ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a decent companion to The Sopranos and is nice if you want to get more out of rewatching it. It's comprised of reviews of each episodes, interviews with David Chase about each season, and reprints of articles the authors wrote while the show aired.

The episode reviews have some good insights and highlight themes and connections one would otherwise miss. I thought they made some surprising errors in regard to subtext and characters' motivations. One instance (spoilers) that stood out was
John W.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Since reading MZS’s “Carousel” companion to Mad Men, my wife and I have been on a deep dive through critically acclaimed dramas with the use of companion books or episodic analyses posted online (by Alan or Matt, depending on the show).

When we heard that this guide was coming out, we were tremendously happy because we were due for a second viewing of the show and loved both the authors.

The episode breakdowns are often thorough and insightful. Admittedly, my point of comparison is always “
David Coleman
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop
Such a wonderful dive into the world of The Sopranos. I remember starting to watch the show on DVDs I checked out from Blockbuster Video. I ended up watching the final two seasons live on HBO. I've since rewatched the series multiple times, including along with the reviews in this.

Out of all those times, this was the most meaningful, as the authors teased out meanings and beauty that I hadn't considered before. There is so much subtext to the episodes, some of it made its way into my thick head
Daniel Del
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*This is my first review, so be gentle.*

I wish there were more stars for me to give this book. I waited a while to read it, but really built up my expectations for it. It exceeded all of them! As a die-hard Sopranos fan from North Jersey, this book had everything. The recaps were awesome. You get incredible insight from David Chase (the Tony Soprano of the Sopranos). The David Chase sessions were a bit long, but the interview style makes them a quick read. The morgue was an awesome touch. It’s a
This was... fine. And some of it was interesting, but it definitely devolved into wankery on more than one occasion. The synopses, which make up the majority of the book, did not really contain anything I would consider a recap. I mean maybe I spent too much time on twop back in the day, but I feel like you should be able to read an episode recap and learn what happened. These? Absolutely not. These are episode recaps that will not make any sense to someone who has not watched this series ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not sure how appealing this would be if you've never watched the show, but if you have, it's quite interesting. I only came to The Sopranos for the first time in the last few years and even though I had just seen it before reading this, it made me want to watch it again. There are great essays on each episode and very insightful interviews with the show's creator, David Chase. Matt and Alan also have a section debating the ending of the show, which has to be one of the most significant in TV ...more
Brian Klueter
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Sopranos Sessions is not only the most definitive book about The Sopranos I’ve ever read, but one of the best books I’ve ever read about the TV medium itself. The obvious love and appreciation the writers have for the show, as well as their willingness to identify faults and shortcomings it sometimes creates, makes it an honest and extremely readable book about a subject worthy of discussion 20 years after its premiere. Whether you are new to the world of The Sopranos or watching it for the ...more
Jeremiah Dollins
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural-studies
This was just the book I wanted about one of the great television series of my lifetime. Sepinwall and Zoller Seitz bring such thoughtful and grounded insight to their essays about each episode of THE SOPRANOS. But the real pleasure here is the nine-part interview with David Chase about his experience working on and reflecting on the series. Chase offers some compelling ideas about his characters, and shares some cool facts about the performers, the writers, and the things that inspired the ...more
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