The Sopranos creator declares the ‘golden age’ of TV over

<i>The Sopranos</i> creator David Chase thinks the golden era of television is over.

The Sopranos creator David Chase thinks the golden era of television is over. Photo: Getty

A quarter of a century ago, The Sopranos first aired on HBO, in a time that has since been referred to as the second golden age of television.

The first came in the mid-1900s, with the second-coming hitting just ahead of the new millennium as Tony Soprano and co graced television screens around the world.

Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Wire, Mad Men and even Succession are all considered by most to be part of the era that was kickstarted by The Sopranos.

However, the creator of the hit HBO mob show, David Chase, believes that era is now over.

The cast of The Sopranos recently reunited to mark 25 years since the show aired and Chase declared the “blip” of quality, immersive television over.

“This is the 25th anniversary, so of course it’s a celebration,” he told The Times.

“But perhaps we shouldn’t look at it like that. Maybe we should look at it like a funeral.”

Actors from left: Tony Sirico, Steven Van Zandt, James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli & Vincent Pastore in a publicity still for TV series 'The Sopranos', circa 1999. (Photo by Anthony Neste/Getty Images)

It’s been 25 years since The Sopranos first aired. Photo: HBO

Chase said he had been asked to “dumb down” his current work to make it more digestible for viewers.

He said that it is “harder than ever” to get and keep viewer attention, thanks to the constant desire to multitask, but added that our phones are just “one symptom” of the issue.

“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,” he said.

“And as for streaming executives? It is getting worse. We’re going back to where we were.”

Streaming services are toying with the idea or have already implemented ad-supported subscription tiers.

Chase thinks the industry is going back to the days when commercials would break up an episode of television.

 The cast and crew of The Sopranos accept their Outstanding Drama Series award onstage during the 59th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on September 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.

The Sopranos won multiple awards during its run. Photo: Getty

The Sopranos creator struggles to get show made

Chase also told The Times he was working with screenwriter Hannah Fidell on a new show.

Details of the show are vague, but he revealed it was about a high-end sex worker who has to go into witness protection.

The two had written multiple drafts and had multiple meetings with studios when they were told the show was too complex.

The Sopranos is now one of the most celebrated TV shows of all time and to this day remains relevant. Many still consider it to be the best TV show of all time.

Audiences loved it and it enjoyed critical success and won multiple awards.

Chase had been working in the entertainment industry for two decades when he conceived the idea for a mobster film. It was his manager who suggested he turn his idea into a TV series.

Given the success of The Sopranos, it’s hard to believe that Chase struggled to get it off the ground, but he did.

Fox showed interest first but eventually passed.

“They don’t trust their audience at all,” he said in 2019 when speaking to Esquire.

“I think they were afraid of it. Because how could you like this guy?”

He also said in that interview that the show would never be made today, mainly due to the main character, Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, because he is “too crude” and not dystopian enough.

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