David Chase’s crime drama, The Sopranos, transformed “mafia movie” storytelling with its serialized style, near-perfect writing, and exceptional performances, but it’s also renowned for ushering in a brand new Golden Age of Television. This era was all about the antihero, yet before the Walter Whites and Don Drapers usurped the throne, Tony Soprano reigned as a New Jersey mobster trying to balance his family life with his…other family.
For six seasons, The Sopranos chronicled the trials and tribulations of Tony and his goombas, but Chase took his series one step further. Tony’s dual-life was sandwiched between therapy sessions with Dr. Jennifer Melfi (something Vito Corleone almost certainly wouldn’t have gone for). By focusing on these humanizing elements, Chase sculpted a three-dimensional character, revealing Tony’s many motivations for his criminal actions and peeling back his tough exterior like the layers of an onion.
The late James Gandolfini gave a true tour de force performance, earning him three Emmy awards, three Screen Actors Guild awards, and one Golden Globe. His performance, and the entire series, set the tone for what viewers would come to expect from TV shows going forward; after The Sopranos, the bar was raised to incredible new heights.
The HBO series makes for an addicting binge and you can watch The Sopranos online right now. Here’s where you can find it.
How to Watch The Sopranos Online & Stream the Complete Series
In the United States, all six seasons of The Sopranos are available on both Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Here’s how to watch via either service:
If you have Prime, or if you want to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Prime, you can watch every season of The Sopranos on your computer right here, or you can watch on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Amazon Video app.
There are two different options when signing up for Hulu:
Hulu With Live TV: If you want to go from watching Hulu’s on-demand library to watching MLB games or other live TV without changing the app, you can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV”. This option gives you access to Hulu’s extensive on-demand library, as well as a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels. It costs $39.99 per month for the plan that includes limited commercials with the on-demand content or $43.99 per month for the plan that includes no commercials with the on-demand content.
When signing up for either of the above options, you’ll also need to add the HBO add-on to watch every episode of The Sopranos. You can watch on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead
How Many Seasons of The Sopranos Are There?
There are six seasons of the HBO mafia series making for a grand total of 86 episodes.
The Sopranos Season 1
13 Episodes | January 1999 – April 1999
When we meet the DiMeo Crime Family, Capo Tony Soprano is attending therapy after suffering from multiple panic attacks due to increased stress from his life in organized crime. After the death of the crime family boss, Tony finds himself in a power struggle with his Uncle Junior. Meanwhile, Tony’s daughter Meadow preps for college and becomes aware of her father’s criminal shenanigans. When Junior plots an assassination, Tony gets wrapped up in a plot against Artie Bucco, a childhood friend and astute restaurateur.
The Sopranos Season 2
13 Episodes | January 2000 – April 2000
Season 2 revolves around Tony’s growing mistrust of Big Pussy Bonpensiero, who is later revealed to be an FBI informant. Dr. Melfi, though completely appalled by Tony’s actions, continues meeting with him while questioning their relationship and her own ethics. Tony’s sister Janice returns home, adding to Tony’s already strained relations with his mother. Meadow’s college life interferes with Tony’s crime life putting him even more on edge. Former boss Jackie Aprile’s brother Richie gets out of prison and stirs the pot even further.
The Sopranos Season 3
13 Episodes | March 2001 – May 2001
Tony’s kids suck up a lot of airtime as Meadow begins her stint at Columbia University and Anthony Jr. is constantly in trouble at school. Dr. Melfi suffers a horrifying trauma, but realizes that her time with Tony is making real progress. Tony’s nephew Christopher starts rising in the ranks when he finally becomes a made man. Tony begins one of many extramarital affairs, this time with another patient of Dr. Melfi’s.
The Sopranos Season 4
13 Episodes | September 2002 – December 2002
Tony and his wife, Carmela, are on the rocks like never before. Tony’s latest affair is with his uncle’s nurse, Svetlana, while Carmela finds herself completely in love with one of Tony’s guys, Furio Giunta. Tony’s beef with Ralph Cigarette heats up, while Uncle Junior is finally put on trial for his crimes. Christopher’s finance Adriana is forced into becoming an FBI informant which will eventually lead to dire consequences. Christopher’s heroin addiction reaches new levels.
The Sopranos Season 5
13 Episodes | March 2004 – June 2004
Tony Blundetto and Feech La Manna are released from prison and their reintegration into the family is anything but smooth. Members of the New York Lupertazzi family also are freed, causing increased tension between the New York and New Jersey families. Tony and Carmela try to figure out their arrangement as a separated couple, which has a huge impact on A.J. Uncle Junior’s mental health declines, while Adrianna’s informant guilt (and paranoia) grows by the episode.
The Sopranos Season 6
21 Episodes (12 in Part 1, 9 in Part 2) | March 2006 – June 2006, April 2007 – June 2007
After enduring a near-death experience, Tony is shaken to his core. The Soprano crime family sees the consequences of their actions when the conflict with their New York enemies intensifies. The crises keep piling up causing Tony to doubt the allegiances of some of his best and most loyal (or are they?) men. And oh my God, that series finale!
What Are the Best Episodes of The Sopranos?
The Sopranos is riddled with drama and betrayal inside and outside Tony’s crime fam, as well as in his home life. The series is a tight, salacious ride filled to the brim with murder, sex, deals gone wrong, and tons of bloody mobster violence. Here’s a list of the best episodes of The Sopranos.
Season 6, Episode 21: “Made in America”
The Sopranos went out with a bang…or ironically, without a bang? After a tumultuous series of gripping drama and violence, viewers couldn’t wait to see if the hammer was going to fall one final time on Tony Soprano. Loose ends are certainly tied up, but it was the series’ final diner scene that had everyone talking. Would Meadow get into a car accident on her way to dinner? Would an enemy come into the diner and mow down the entire Soprano family? Who’s that suspicious guy who keeps looking at Tony from the counter? The answer was: it doesn’t matter. The scene cuts to black and the audience’s ties with the family halts to a screeching stop. Ten years later, it’s a finale that people are still talking about. Did Tony die? Was he murdered? Viewers just had to learn to let him go.
Season 5, Episode 12: “Long Term Parking”
The show never hesitated to whack some of its most notable characters, but when it was Adriana’s turn, it was difficult to watch. A former drug user who had turned her life around, Adriana met the end of Silvio’s gun barrel, crawling on hands and knees begging to live. Once the family found out she was an informant, not even Chrissy could save her.
Season 3, Episode 4: “Employee of the Month”
Dr. Melfi was constantly checking herself when it came to her mob patient, Tony, but her morals and professionalism come to a head when she’s raped in a parking lot and considers throwing her principles away in lieu of vengeance. Actress Lorraine Bracco is chillingly good here, making us feel every aspect of her emotional and physical pain. It also adds a dynamic layer to the relationship between Tony and the doctor.
Season 2, Episode 13: “Funhouse”
Try to rat out Tony and you’re gonna get whacked. Big Pussy’s snitching is discovered by Tony, who decides to off Pussy on a boat over some shots of tequila. Pussy’s death showed viewers that there’s no end to what Tony is capable of, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t heartbroken about it.
Season 4, Episode 13: “Whitecaps”
It’s the final showdown between Tony and Carmela after an ex-mistress of Tony’s calls the house and spills to Carm. The confrontation gets physical, leaving us with a raw and disturbing encounter between the husband and wife. Edie Falco’s Emmy-winning performance is fearless and fiery as she stands up to her Mafioso husband knowing damn well what he’s capable of. Carmela may have played the victimized wife before, but this is the turning point that sets her on a path of self-realization.
Who Are the Actors in The Sopranos Cast?
There are many reasons why David Chase’s mob series cleaned up come awards season, and its phenomenal cast is at the very top of that list.
Gandolfini sadly passed away in 2013, six years after production on The Sopranos wrapped. While he went on to star in many films afterwards such as Welcome to the Rileys and Enough Said, Tony Soprano will forever be Gandolfini’s lasting legacy.
Carmela had quite the character arc, at first being naïve, yet complicit to her husband’s profession and extra-marital affairs, and later, becoming a woke woman. Falco proved time and time again that she could go to bat with the best of them, winning three Emmys and two Golden Globes for her performance. Falco later starred as the titular role in Nurse Jackie and appeared in movies like the criminally-underrated Landline.
Meadow, like her mother, was aware (and resentful) of her father’s criminal activity. Though Sigler is best known for The Sopranos, she has appeared in movies and also had a stint on Entourage playing herself.
A.J. was the troublemaker son of Tony and Carmela who often found himself at odds with school authority and the law.
Bracco is no stranger to the mafia genre having starred as Karen Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. More recently, she can be seen in Rizzoli & Isles and Blue Bloods.
Since The Sopranos, Imperioli has had steady TV work appearing in shows like Californication, Life on Mars, Hawaii Five-0, and Alex, Inc.
The show is littered with actors doing career-best work. Tony Sirico is a scene-stealer as Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gualtieri, Steven Van Zandt plays Tony’s second-in-command Silvio Dante, and Drea de Matteo stars as Christopher’s fiancé, the sadly doomed-from-the-start Adriana.
Who Are the Top Guest Stars on The Sopranos?
The show was filled with fun cameos and guest spots. Here’s a list of the most important guest stars on The Sopranos.
Will Arnett as Mike Waldrup
Two years before landing Arrested Development, Arnett played the husband of an FBI agent who befriended Adriana.
Annette Bening as Herself
Bening appears in one of Tony’s dreams as Meadow’s boyfriend’s mother. John Heard appears in the same scene as the dad.
Michael K. Williams as Ray Ray
Before he starred on HBO’s The Wire, Williams played Ray Ray, an ally of Jackie Jr.’s who lets him crash when he’s trying to stay hidden.
Who Are the Writers & Creators Behind The Sopranos?
David Chase: The Sopranos Creator, Writer, Director and Executive Producer
Chase wore many hats on the series. Though 30 episodes are credited to his name, Chase was also the showrunner and had a major role in all of the episodes’ scripts. After the highly talked about series finale, Chase said, “I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there.” Baller.
Matthew Weiner: The Sopranos Writer and Executive Producer
Before he created the 60’s ad agency drama Mad Men, Weiner wrote 12 episodes of The Sopranos.
Steve Buscemi: The Sopranos Director (and Guest Star!)
Buscemi directed four episodes of the show, but also guest starred as the ill-fated Tony Blundetto.
Where The Sopranos Ranks in the Television Pantheon
It is doubtful that any critic or fan would argue: The Sopranos is one of the best TV shows of all time. Its characters were three-dimensional, compelled by wavering morality and motivations but with real pathos, as evidenced by Tony’s many therapy sessions and increased sadness. His struggle between this inner turmoil and the bold Mafioso exterior he was forced to upkeep was an enthralling watch that captivated viewers and revitalized mafia fiction as we knew it.
For some reason, despite the cheating, lying and murdering, Tony Soprano was an antihero we were drawn to root for. Maybe it’s because we viewers, at some point in our lives, could relate to the stress of having a dual persona, the torment of existential angst. There were small beacons of hope sprinkled throughout that made us believe that Tony might be able to turn things around and be the man, father and husband he seemingly wanted to be. Or maybe we were a bunch of Carmelas, complicit in his evildoings, but ultimately cheering for the good in Tony anyway.
The Sopranos lit a match for television, raising the stakes and celebrating the antihero, a trend that many shows would capitalize on throughout the next couple decades. The show not only made its mark, but changed the creative direction of an entire industry.