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The Sopranos Hits a Monumental 25 Years! How David Chase’s Series Changed the TV Rules🔥🎊
2024/06/06

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The Transformation of Television: From Rockford to The Sopranos

The Birth of a New Era in Television

In the most important scene of the first season of The Sopranos, Mob boss Tony Soprano stalks and murders Febby Petrulio, a former wiseguy who testified against friends of Tony’s and then went into hiding. This scene is often cited as a turning point in television history. But what if this idea had been pitched 25 years earlier during the era of The Rockford Files? According to The Sopranos creator David Chase, it would have been unimaginable.

The stark contrast between the television landscape of the mid-seventies and the world that gave birth to The Sopranos illustrates the seismic shift in TV storytelling.

The Limitations of 1970s Television

Back in the 1970s, The Rockford Files was a popular NBC drama featuring James Garner as a wisecracking private detective. Chase, who was a writer on the show, recalled how the goal was to create easy-to-follow television with likable characters.

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"You couldn’t tell stories that felt real," he said. The network executives were more concerned with maintaining a family-friendly image than pushing the boundaries of storytelling.

Breaking Free from the Mold

Chase’s frustration with the constraints of network television grew over the years. His experience on shows like Northern Exposure and I’ll Fly Away left him disillusioned. He wanted to tell stories that reflected the harsh realities of life, but network executives preferred safer, more nostalgic narratives.

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