Tipping a knowing wink to Mafia pop culture and armed with a stylish mix of wickedly black humour, richly textured drama and savage violence, The Sopranos
has quickly consolidated its position as a masterpiece of modern television. Frankly, to miss it is to be denied a superior cultural treat. Pleasingly, this official guide to the show is not a bog-standard episode guide with dull analysis. Indeed, author Allen Rucker has taken the clever and witty route of presenting the world of the Sopranos as a series of FBI files, wire-tap transcripts, confidential e-mails, seized evidence and the like. Whether it be Tony's relationship with his family (or the inner workings of "his other Family"), this approach works an absolute treat and allows readers to really immerse themselves in this vivid and engaging world. It is surprisingly effective as well, with elements that are only hinted at in the show wonderfully fleshed out, such as Tony and Carmela's teenage love letters(!), how Mob money is divided and Anthony Jr's school psychology report. Only in the last section of the book do we return to reality with an interview with Sopranos' creator David Chase, an in-depth episode guide and profiles of the cast (nearly all of whom are Godfather
alumni). With such lavish and inventive attention paid to it, this guide cannot fail to please, easily enhancing your enjoyment of a show that exposes most TV as mindless dross. Can you really refuse an offer like that? --Danny Graydon
"... the best television drama ever made... richly textured comic realism of complexity and truthfulness that had never before been seen on television..." (New York Times)
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