1999: HBO Debuts ‘The Sopranos’
On this day in 1999, HBO introduced its second dramatic series, The Sopranos. (Oz was the first.) The show focused on New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), his dysfunctional family relationships and the challenges he faced running a crime empire.
The series also starred Edie Falco as Tony’s wife, Carmela and Lorraine Bracco as his therapist, Dr. Melfi. Other key cast members included Michael Imperioli, Aida Turturro, Tony Sirico, Steven Van Zandt, Vincent Pastore, Dominic Chianese and Drea de Matteo.
Created by producer/director David Chase, The Sopranos was one of television’s premiere series during its six-season run, and helped launch the wave of successful cable dramas. Its “cut-to-black” finale is widely considered one of television’s most famous — perhaps infamous — series finales.