The Sopranos
Season 1
Season 1 DVD cover art
Starring
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes13
Release
Original networkHBO
Original releaseJanuary 10 (1999-01-10) –
April 4, 1999 (1999-04-04)
Season chronology
Next →
Season 2
List of episodes

The first season of the American crime drama series The Sopranos aired on HBO from January 10 to April 4, 1999. The first season was released on DVD in North America on December 12, 2000,[1] and on Blu-ray on November 24, 2009.[2]

The season introduces DiMeo Crime Family Capo Tony Soprano and his family, as well as his troubled relationship with his mother Livia. Also troubled is his relationship with his Uncle Junior, who becomes locked in a power struggle with Tony after the death of the Crime Family Boss, Jackie Aprile. Tony also begins therapy sessions with Dr. Melfi after suffering a panic attack.

Meanwhile, Tony's daughter Meadow becomes aware of her father's true profession while preparing to get into college, and Tony's nephew Christopher attempts to write a screenplay about his criminal life and anxiously awaits becoming a made man. Due to Junior's plotting of an assassination, Tony also gets embroiled in a plot against childhood friend Artie Bucco, a charming but obsequious restaurateur.

The season won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama, the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series for the episode "College", as well as several other accolades. James Gandolfini and Edie Falco received numerous accolades for their performances, including winning both Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Cast

See also: List of The Sopranos characters

Main cast

Recurring cast

Episodes

Season 1 episodes
No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
(millions)
11"The Sopranos"David ChaseDavid ChaseJanuary 10, 1999 (1999-01-10)3.45[3]
After a family of ducks he had been sheltering flies away, New Jersey DiMeo crime family capo Tony Soprano has a panic attack and is pointed towards Dr. Jennifer Melfi for psychiatric help. When he tries to get his petulant mother Livia to go to a nursing home, her pushback forces a second attack, and he admits to Melfi that his work depresses him and that he was upset about the ducks because their flight reminded him of his fear of losing his family. Tony's protégé and cousin by marriage Christopher Moltisanti executes a rival gangster to win Tony's favor, but finds his work ignored. Tony's uncle Corrado "Junior" Soprano plans to have a man killed at Nuovo Vesuvio, a restaurant run by Tony's friend Artie Bucco, so Tony has it burned, knowing a murder occurring there would irreparably damage its reputation. As Livia and Junior drive to Tony's house, Junior remarks that "something may have to be done" about him, and Livia quietly smiles.
22"46 Long"Dan AttiasDavid ChaseJanuary 17, 1999 (1999-01-17)N/A
Chris and his friend Brendan Filone rob a trucking business that pays protection to Junior, who warns them to stop. Brendan accidentally kills a driver during his next robbery. Angry that Chris did nothing to stop him, Tony decides to let them both deal with the consequences. Tony's son Anthony Jr.'s teacher has his car stolen, so he sends soldiers Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero and Paulie Gualtieri to find those responsible. They track down the gay couple who stole it and force them to steal a better model of car, giving it to the teacher. After Livia injures her wrist driving, Tony moves her to the nursing home despite feeling guilt over not taking care of her, and almost has another attack while moving family photos out of her house. Despite Melfi trying to get him to stop displacing his anger towards Livia, Tony beats Georgie Santorelli, an employee at the Bada Bing, the strip club he runs, for mishandling the phone in a manner similar to her.
33"Denial, Anger, Acceptance"Nick GomezMark SaraceniJanuary 24, 1999 (1999-01-24)N/A
Chris and Brendan return the stolen truck and Tony is given credit for solving the issue, prompting Junior to go to Livia for advice. He has Chris mock executed and watches as Brendan is killed by soldier Mikey Palmice. Tony is hired by a Jewish man who is being extorted by his son-in-law, and he attacks the man when he tries to back out on the deal, who derides him as a "golem". DiMeo boss Giacomo "Jackie" Aprile is hospitalized with stomach cancer, and Melfi tries to get Tony to discuss his feelings on it, as well as asking him if being compared to a monster upset him. He attends his daughter Meadow's choir recital and is moved to tears by her solo part, unaware that she has spent the past few days using speed sold to her by Chris to complete her schoolwork.
44"Meadowlands"John PattersonJason CahillJanuary 31, 1999 (1999-01-31)N/A
Tensions rise after Tony beats Palmice for Brendan's murder and is unable to reach a compromise with Junior. After Aprile dies, Tony uses Melfi's advice on dealing with elders and backs Junior for boss of the family, allowing him to feel in control while Tony pulls the strings. He realizes his growing attraction to Melfi and has indebted police detective Vin Makazian tail her while she is on a date, but Makazian ends up beating up the man she is with. A.J. almost gets into a fight with a classmate, but the boy backs out because of who A.J.'s father is. Confused, he goes to Meadow, who reveals the true nature of their father's work.
55"College"Allen CoulterJames Manos Jr. and David ChaseFebruary 7, 1999 (1999-02-07)N/A
While taking Meadow to tour colleges, Tony spots Fabian Petrulio, a former DiMeo soldier who flipped on the family. Petrulio realizes he is being watched and follows Tony to his motel, where he almost kills him but is stopped by the presence of witnesses. The next day, Tony finds him at his place of business and strangles him. Meadow notices the bruises on Tony's hands, but he dodges her questioning. Tony's wife Carmela gets a call from Melfi, who Tony had told her was a man. Upset, she asks local priest Phil Intintola to stay when he comes over, confessing that she feels guilt over letting Tony commit crimes for her family. They almost kiss after some drinks, but Intintola instead goes to the restroom and vomits. Carmela and Tony argue about Intintola and Melfi when he returns.
66"Pax Soprana"Alan TaylorFrank RenzulliFebruary 14, 1999 (1999-02-14)N/A
Tony's Prozac begins negatively affecting his sex drive, and he finds himself increasingly attracted to Melfi. He tries to kiss her and has her car stolen and repaired, but she rebuffs his advances. At the same time, he convinces Carmela that he feels no attraction to Melfi, and they reconcile. After Junior's tailor's grandson dies while on drugs, Junior has the dealer hunted down and killed, angering a DiMeo capo, as the dealer was his top earner. At the same time, Junior begins taxing Tony's Jewish mob associate Herman "Hesh" Rabkin at Livia's suggestion without distributing the money to his capos, forcing Tony to negotiate with him, who shares his portion of the payment with Hesh. At Junior's celebration dinner, an FBI agent covertly takes pictures of everyone present.
77"Down Neck"Lorraine SennaRobin Green & Mitchell BurgessFebruary 21, 1999 (1999-02-21)N/A
After A.J. gets in trouble for being drunk in school, his parents learn that he may have ADD. Tony worries that his genes may have corrupted his son and that he will turn out to be like him, and so he tells Melfi a story from his childhood: his father would take his sister Janice somewhere often, but he was always excluded. Jealous, he hid in the trunk of his father's car and learned that his father was taking Janice to a fair, but only so she could act as cover while he did illegal business. After young Tony watched his father get arrested, he felt a sense of pride that he realizes A.J. feels about him. When he learns that A.J. is a borderline case, he rejects any further testing. A.J. tells Livia that Tony is seeing a therapist.
88"The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti"Tim Van PattenFrank Renzulli and David ChaseFebruary 28, 1999 (1999-02-28)N/A
Melfi and her ex-husband debate over whether or not she should continue treating Tony. Livia tells Junior that Tony is in therapy. The DiMeo family gets a tip that the FBI will soon be raiding them, so the capos promptly hide and destroy any evidence of wrongdoing. Chris has nightmares about the man he killed, so he digs up the body and relocates it. As he struggles to write a mob screenplay and feels anger at not being recognized as a feared figure, he has an altercation at a bakery where he shoots the clerk in the foot. He learns that his name is in the newspaper, which delights him.
99"Boca"Andy WolkJason Cahill and Robin Green & Mitchell BurgessMarch 7, 1999 (1999-03-07)N/A
Junior's girlfriend espouses his cunnilingus talents against his wishes while Carmela is nearby, and both Carmela and Tony make thinly veiled jokes about it around him. Furious, he breaks up with his girlfriend, pulls his money out of her business, and tells Palmice that Tony is seeing a therapist, who believes he is informing on them. Meadow's soccer coach makes plans to leave town for a better job, while the team's star player reveals to Meadow that the coach had sex with her. Tony prepares to have him killed until Artie tries to get him to change his mind. After drinking excessively, Tony calls off the hit, and the coach is arrested after one of the teammates reports on him.
1010"A Hit Is a Hit"Matthew PennJoe Bosso and Frank RenzulliMarch 14, 1999 (1999-03-14)N/A
Chris tries to fulfill his girlfriend Adriana La Cerva's dream of being involved in music production by meeting with a gangster rapper, who is in a dispute with Hesh about royalties. When he and Hesh agree to sue each other, Tony's crew mocks the rapper for going through the legal system. Adriana's first recording goes poorly and Hesh rejects their recorded material. Tony's neighbor Bruce Cusamano invites him to play golf with his friends. They make Tony uncomfortable with questions about mob life, and he tells Melfi about a boy from his childhood with a cleft palate he and his friends used to mock, only understanding his pain after being humiliated at the club. As revenge, Tony pranks Cusamano by filling a box with sand and leaving it with him to hold on to, and he and his wife Jeannie nervously try to guess what illegal contents may be inside.
1111"Nobody Knows Anything"Henry J. BronchteinFrank RenzulliMarch 21, 1999 (1999-03-21)N/A
The FBI raids a card game and arrest capo Jimmy Altieri. Pussy is caught but mysteriously released. Makazian informs Tony that he heard Pussy is wearing a wire. He sends Paulie to confirm the existence of the wire and Paulie takes Pussy to a bath house, but Pussy refuses to take his clothes off, citing high blood pressure and orders from his doctor. At the same time, Tony learns that Makazian, who dies by suicide after being caught in a brothel, may have had ulterior motives for implicating Pussy. Altieri is released and talks to Tony, who realizes from his strange behavior that he is the informant. Junior learns from Livia that the mothers of several of his capos have been placed in her nursing home, and he realizes they are meeting behind his back. He has his men organize a hit on Tony.
1212"Isabella"Allen CoulterRobin Green & Mitchell BurgessMarch 28, 1999 (1999-03-28)4.19[4]
Pussy disappears, leaving Tony depressed and listless. He meets Isabella, a young Italian exchange student watching over the Cusamanos' house while they are away, and fantasizes about her nursing a baby named Antonio. When she disappears, Melfi realizes the lithium she had him taking was causing him to hallucinate, and explains that Isabella was an idealized maternal figure. Chris unwittingly saves Tony's life when he follows him to check on him, his car blocking the two hitmen who were sent to kill Tony. When the contractor jokes about Livia being responsible for the hit, Junior has Palmice kill him. The next day, the hitmen strike, but Tony survives after one of them accidentally kills the other. Junior and Livia go to check on him, where she feigns memory loss.
1313"I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano"John PattersonDavid ChaseApril 4, 1999 (1999-04-04)5.22[3]
Tony almost attacks Melfi when she suggests that Livia may have borderline personality disorder, and warns her to go into hiding because of Junior's attempted hit. He regretfully tells his men that he is seeing Melfi, but they accept and encourage him. He has Altieri and Palmice executed, as well as killing the man he suspects Junior will send after him next. The FBI arrest Junior using information from Altieri, although he refuses to inform on Tony. Carmela notices Intintola getting close with Aprile's widow Rosalie and calls him out on his pattern of seducing "spiritually thirsty" married women. Livia tells Artie that Tony was the one who burned Nuovo Vesuvio, and Tony convinces him while being held at gunpoint that he was not responsible. When Livia has a stroke and the FBI inform Tony that they taped her subtly convincing Junior to put out the hit, he goes to the hospital to kill her, but is stopped by the staff taking her away. A storm knocks out the power in the Soprano household, so the family goes to the rebuilt Nuovo Vesuvio, where Tony advises his children to "remember the little moments that were good."

Reception

Critical response

The first season of The Sopranos was met with wide acclaim, receiving a score of 88 out of 100 on Metacritic,[5] and a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 9.3/10, the latter site reporting the critical consensus as, "The Sopranos smartly runs an emotional gamut, offering detailed character work and riveting suspense while displaying a flair for both comedy and drama."[6] James Gandolfini was widely hailed for his performance, with Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly praising his "magnificently shrewd, wary performance" as Tony Soprano.[7] Deseret News expressed approval for the show's clear insight into the "modern incarnations of family and mortality and ambition."[5]

Marvin Kitman of Newsday wrote, "It's a great show, the best new series of the year. It's so - dare I say it? - original. It catches you off guard. Basically, it's everything I'm always looking for in drama. It's beautifully written, authentic, without the plastic Los Angeles look. The acting is marvelous. It's funny in a darkly comedic way, involving as a soap opera, and quirky. I never quite know what's going to happen, even though the subject matter is by no means unprecedented for television."[5]

Awards and nominations

51st Primetime Emmy Awards

6th Screen Actors Guild Awards

57th Golden Globe Awards

4th Golden Satellite Awards

Writers Guild of America Awards 1999

Directors Guild of America Awards

15th TCA Awards

References

  1. ^ "The Sopranos - The Complete 1st Season". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on January 28, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Sopranos - The Complete 1st Season (Blu-ray)". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on October 15, 2015. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "The comeback". Chicago Tribune. March 14, 2006. Archived from the original on October 13, 2008. Retrieved July 6, 2015.
  4. ^ ""March 22-March 28, Television Ratings"". Los Angeles Times. March 29, 1999.
  5. ^ a b c "The Sopranos: Season 1". Metacritic. Archived from the original on July 22, 2020. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  6. ^ "The Sopranos: Season 1 (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on January 16, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  7. ^ Tucker, Ken (January 15, 1999). "The Sopranos". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 5, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017.