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on 23 January 2009
There is no question that The Sopranos achieved an astounding milestone in television history. Every episode has the aura of a feature-length film, from the inter-weaving plots and interesting character arcs to the flawless wide-angle camera work.

The Sopranos rises above great television to become great art because the characters, plots, even the beautifully shot scenes of the not-so-beautiful New Jersey, become embedded in your mind. Once you're hooked, you cannot go one day without thinking about the Soprano universe and exactly what is going to happen next.

When it comes to the characters, don't be mislead: these are horrible, ruthless people who, when all is said and done, are always thinking about themselves. However...you'll like them. You'll cheer at the screen when Tony Soprano gets one over on an enemy or the Feds; you'll laugh your socks off when Silvio impersonates Michael Corleone. This is the genius of the series - here are mobsters who fight, steal and kill for a living, yet they go to PTA meetings, worry about the mortgage, put on a smile when they meet their children's friends.

The 18-rated themes of violence, sex and corruption are dealt with carefully and realistically. There are no stylised depictions of mob life - it is made clear that people fight back when someone tries to kill them, drugs and alcohol ruin lives and hardly anybody, when push comes to shove, actually likes what they sometimes have to do. The side-by-side rendering of domestic and mob life makes The Sopranos the most believable Mafia story ever committed to screen. Yes, even more so than Goodfellas of the Godfather.

The cast do the writing every inch of justice - James Gandolfini dominates every scene that Tony Soprano is in: even his breathing chews the speakers and reminds the viewer who is in charge.

Quite simply, no review can fully describe how ground-breaking, addictive and joyous The Sopranos is. Buy it, watch it and re-watch it.
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on 29 October 2009
I can't add anything new to all the praise that's been handed upon this show apart from saying that it's all deserved. Instead I'm going to talk specifically about this DVD set.

The content:
In case you were confused about which box set to get - this one is the full series over 28 discs which include all of the special features in the individual seasons.

The Packaging:
All 6 seasons are presented in 7 individual amery cases in the lovely black box - an apparent improvement over the "deluxe box set" but I'll come back to that later.

Versus the Deluxe Box Set:
There is also a deluxe box set out with 2 extra discs of extra features which are NOT included in this box set but it's composed out of a cardboard digipack case which is easier to damage and the housing for the discs leaves them open to lots of scratches.

It's also about £60 more expensive and the extra features don't seem good enough to warrant that price tag - even for a Sopranos purist.

Verdict:
In terms of value and packaging - I'd definitely recommend you go for this box set over the deluxe one - especially at the prices it's going for now but if you really want to see those extra features - here is the link for the other box set -
The Sopranos - Complete HBO Season 1-6 - Deluxe Edition [DVD] [1999]
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VINE VOICEon 27 November 2007
New Jersey mafia drama, The Sopranos, has been deluged with praise. Anyone approaching this for the first time might be expecting to have their expectations unrealistically raised - The New York Times called it possibly the finest piece of American television "in the last twenty years." However, this modern classic fully deserves every plaudit that has been laid at its door. The Sopranos is in the same rich vein of epic Italian-American storytelling as both The Godfather and Goodfellas, two classics of cinema; The Sopranos is easily a modern contemporary that can proudly take its place in the same pantheon.

The initial conceit of The Sopranos, as envisaged by creator David Chase, is that Tony Soprano, family man and Family man, is indulging in that quintessential middle class American crutch - psychotherapy. This calculating, cynical, mid-level mafia boss, is plagued by feelings of doubt and lack of self-esteem, `issues' that were inculcated in childhood and that have now blossomed in to full blown neuroses; these psychological problems are now starting to diffuse into both his personal relations with his family and his `business' decisions within organised crime.

The second conceit, one that is mostly played for laughs, is that the mobsters in The Sopranos are not only aware of films like The Godfather, they positively revel in their cinematic ancestry: mobster Silvio Dante repeatedly does terrible impressions of Al Pacino (from The Godfather Part III), other mobsters misquote or discuss various films and their similarities to the events that are happening around them; other scenes are based on sequences from Goodfellas et al but given an ironic twist. This could easily become so much post-modern rubbish in lesser hands, a one-joke routine spun out to encompass several series but this is most definitely not the case. A modern mob drama could not ignore those films previously mentioned, to do so would have been simply unrealistic; similarly, in recent FBI wiretaps, real life Mafioso have been recorded discussing The Sopranos and asking each other if it's based on them..

The writing of The Sopranos straddles that most difficult of genres, the comedy-drama. The series is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and yet at the same time we believe in the seriousness of the characters and the gravity of the dilemmas they face. Like certain other classic mob dramas, The Sopranos sucks the audience in: we cheer when Tony gets the better of his enemies, even though that means that innocent families get broken and others on the sidelines get killed. This brings us to the very essence of the entire series, articulated during a conversation betwixt Tony Sopranos' psychotherapist and her divorced husband: "Eventually, you're going to get past your psychotherapy with all its cheesy moral relativism and finally get down to good and evil. And he's evil."

As somebody who watched The Sopranos from its initial broadcast to its abrupt finale, all superlatives are fully justified. The whole six series establishes a high water mark for television. A landmark programme that redefines the medium's possibilities, each series stands alone as an epic movie. I have not singled out any particular member of cast or crew for special praise, as the entire ensemble is uniformly outstanding and all involved will probably never hit such heights again. If The Godfather and Goodfellas represent pinnacles of cinematic artistry, The Sopranos, it can now finally be written with certainty, can be added to such a rostrum. If expectations have been raised, they will be fully satisified.
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on 13 September 2014
For all of you who have wondered whether or not Season One of The Sopranos on Blu Ray would be remastered, the wait is OVER! I am here to tell you that Season One has never looked better. Not even during the original broadcast. It has been cleaned up and restored, ditching all that noise and overt amounts of grain in favor of a highly detailed and simply breathtaking version that is as sharp as it is colorful. All the beautiful high contrast scenes are rendered almost flawlessly with black levels that dig deep and shadow detail aplenty. Images and colors pop right off the screen and motion has never looked as good.

This time Season One got the AVC treatment with DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 and it looks and sounds fantastic... Season one has always been a bit problematic, video wise, but it truly shines on this set. Although the excessive noise and grain have been cleaned up, the fine detail remains.

AVC w/1080p 24 all the way on this one. Very high bit rates are provided, frequently topping off past 33 mbps. It's a textbook example of how to do home video on Blu Ray correctly. Hats off to the engineers who worked on this. Its fabulous.

Needless to say, I found the same level of quality in both picture and sound as the series progressed. I took random samplings of each season and viewed them on my LG OLED 9300 w/video output from an Oppo BDP-95. The results are absolutely stunning. HBO did not cheap out on us. They went the full route here. Excellent revised menus, great disc authoring , high quality packaging and robust media.

Sound is DTS-HD Master audio 5.1 all the way. Sounds fantastic. There is nothing bad to say about the mix and the production sound was always high quality. We get it presented to us in lossless 5.1 and it is excellent!

I Live in the USA but I bought the UK version. I am sure the video files are identical worldwide. My packaging consists of a heavy glossy cardboard outer sleeve for 6 individual amaray cases that hold each season. It is just the right amount of sturdy and convenient. All the disc cases have different art, while the discs remain the same other than printed info. It's a very nice set and looks great next to my UK Godfather Trilogy box set. My UK set includes a nice thick glossy paper booklet with color photos and artwork from the series.

Extras are plentiful and include a great featurette that was made after James Gandolfini's untimely demise. Two round table discussions, a 2 part interview with David Chase and recovered lost scenes. Plenty of disc commentaries and more.

It's The Sopranos. The Sopranos on Blu Ray. The ENTIRE series! Possibly the greatest television drama to ever have been conceived, produced and shown to the American public and the world. The box set is everything we had hoped it would be and HBO is to be commended for providing such a quality rendering of this timeless classic.

Marty G's most highest recommendation!
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on 26 November 2008
This is a review of the box set itself, since obviously the show gets 5 stars and we all know how good that is - so in response to an earlier review calling for comments on the packaging, here's my take.

There's an outer sleeve showing all the characters lined up as you can see on the product image. Inside this you pull out the oblong box which is also shown. This has the words "The Sopranos" along it. This box splits in two and reveals two sides, with 15 discs on each. Each disc is on its own sleeve and is tucked away to reveal just a number, from 1-4 (since this is how many discs are in each season - season 6 is in two parts therefore 8 discs).

My only gripe lies in the way in which the discs are stored within the sleeve. The sleeve is all just cardboard, there's no plastic holder, no fabric to stop it from scratching and no clip to make sure it stays in. To take the disc out you have to get your finger inside the sleeve and slide it out, which isn't particularly awkward but may leave you wondering if you're doing any harm to the disc. (You aren't)

Having said all of this, despite the usual faults which I thought would accompany the cardboard sleeve system - it doesn't seem to have any. There was definitely no damage in transit, I doubt they even moved because they are very secure in their sleeves. I checked every single disc and the only marks i found was a slight fingerprint which was left after I slid it out. Although I haven't done much of the sliding the discs in and out, after roughly 10 times I couldn't find any scratches on the discs, just the usual fingerprint in the same place. I'm fine with this because it can easily be removed with a cloth - whereas if there were any scratching then that's probably not reversible.

I'd say this is probably the best solution for this set since 30 discs is not to be scoffed at, and most other sets with that many would be a lot bigger. It's easy and quick to access and looks good on the shelf. Each disc has a number which is visible while it's in the sleeve, but this is just the disc number and doesn't show the season number. It would have been nice to have seen what disc and what season without having to remove the disc, but I'm fussy like that.

I can't comment on whether the set is an improvement on the individual seasons since I never owned any of them, so I couldn't even tell you if the menus have been upgraded or not. If you already have all the sets then I'm not sure it's worth over £90 just for the two bonus discs, but if you're new to the Sopranos or haven't bought the sets then I'd definitely recommend you buy this deluxe edition - especially since there doesn't even seem to be a Blu-ray on the horizon. (Sort yourself out Warner!)

I'd say it's a fabulous collection, with the only slight drawbacks being the fear of damage in the cardboard sleeves and the lack of visible season numbers in the sleeve - but don't let these put you off. All of my comments regarding the wear of the discs by removal from their sleeves and the state of them after transit is purely subjective, and it wouldn't surprise me if someone found the complete opposite to be true; but I certainly know I'm happy with it and if you're undecided I advise you to take the plunge, especially with Christmas looming.

Regarding size, it's difficult to place but I'd say smaller than an Xbox 360 but bigger than one of those big hardback books.

Someone asked about subtitles, so I've detailed them in one of the discussions below.
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on 13 September 2009
I was quite excited about this box set as I've been wanting to buy it for a long time and it doesn't disappoint. The box set contains all the episodes (including the Season 6 finale) from The Sopranos and some extras. I was glad to see the removal of some the dvd menus from the individual boxsets. Namely; the informative synopsis shown for each episode, which for me slowed down the viewing experience. Simply put, this is a more refined boxset with the emphasis on the program itself - pure magic.
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on 22 August 2009
Despite being a fan of mob movies, I never managed to catch The Sopranos when it was broadcast on TV (I'm always too busy to properly follow a TV station's schedule). Nonetheless, I heard it was a good show, so I took the plunge and purchased the complete box set.

Boy, am I glad I did.

The Sopranos is compulsive viewing. I managed to watch all six seasons over the course of one month, because when one episode finishes, you're simply dying to watch the next! Each episode is crammed with interesting characters, cutting dialogue and first-rate acting. And although classified as a TV drama, there is a lot of humour injected into each episode, so its not all downbeat and grim - you'll be laughing during scenes as well!

For fans of mob movies, The Sopranos is essential viewing. For casual fans, it still makes a great TV show. I know because my wife could care less for mob movies but even she would sit there watching episodes with me... Because its not just about the Mafia. Its about family and relationships as well - but certainly not in the "boring" way you may think it is.

Highly recommended.
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on 10 September 2014
At last, a truly AMAZING and beautiful transfer 100% worthy of this essential landmark series.

I report this as, IMHO, the pilot and earlier episodes of Season 1 in DVD format were at times a touch grainy and 'flat' - more like 'video' quality in some scenes - a factor exacerbated by the way in which 'we' are now viewing TV shows on far higher quality flat-screen TVs that reveal imperfections. Moreover, at times were some issues with the sound in terms of vocal synchronisation on DVD.

However, all of this has thankfully and gloriously been repaired and re-mastered to a level of absolute cinematic perfection.

From the iconic title scene, the picture is truly stunning and the pulsating music rich and exciting, with the anamorphic depth and colour palate of episode1, like a series of Caravaggio paintings!

This is one of the most satisfying and gorgeous transfers and Blu-ray releases I have ever had the pleasure to watch and, with it arriving yesterday, I am so besotted that I stayed in last evening and am already nearly on to S2!

A must-have IMHO for any fans of these truly brilliant series. 10/10
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on 15 September 2008
Despite being a fan of mob movies, I never managed to catch The Sopranos when it was broadcast on TV (I'm always too busy to properly follow a TV station's schedule). Nonetheless, I heard it was a good show, so I took the plunge and purchased the complete box set.

Boy, am I glad I did!

The Sopranos is compulsive viewing. I managed to watch all six seasons over the course of one month, because when one episode finishes, you're simply dying to watch the next! Each episode is crammed with interesting characters, cutting dialogue and first-rate acting. And although classified as a TV drama, there is a lot of humour injected into each episode, so its not all downbeat and grim - you'll be laughing during scenes as well!

For fans of mob movies, The Sopranos is essential viewing. For casual fans, it still makes a great TV show. I know because my wife could care less for mob movies but even she would sit there watching episodes with me... Because its not just about the Mafia. Its about family and relationships as well - but certainly not in the "boring" way you may think it is.

Highly recommended.
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on 16 May 2009
For the actual show itself, The Sopranos is undoubtedly 5 stars. Fantastic cast, great storyline's and unlike no other show to hit our screens. Each episode is like a mini-film, and the direction in certain episodes, particularly Season 3, is incredible. However, my peeve is with the boxset itself. Despite looking great with plenty of good photography splashed across the sleeves of the disc covers, in order to keep the discs in the sleeve, the geniuses thought it would be a good idea to use glue! Granted the majority are slid in as expected, 5 or 6 are held in place by some really strong glue. Subsequently, in order to get a disc out, you have to peel the disc away from the sleeve and pray for no scratches. On one particular disk, gentle prying did not work and once forced out was covered in scratches, ruining 2 episodes for me in the process. I hope, for everyone else's sake, that my boxset may well have been a freak incident, as I have not heard of many other people having a similar problem, and it should not put you off watching one of the greatest shows in history.
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