Picks and Pans Review: The Sopranos
Show of the week
"My self-esteem is nonexistent right now," careworn Mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) confessed to his wife (Edie Falco) at the end of this series' first season. He wouldn't have felt so down if he'd been reading the reviews. Critics justly extolled The Sopranos for its brilliant blend of compelling drama and mordant humor, and the first three episodes of 2000 contain no signs of slippage.
As if Tony didn't have enough women making him crazy—including his mother (Nancy Marchand), who conspired to have him whacked and now claims memory loss, and his shrink (Lorraine Bracco), who's shutting her ears to his woes—the Jan. 16 season premiere brings his aging-hippie sister Janice (Aida Turturro) back to New Jersey after years of Left Coast drift. Janice is an ex-flame of vicious hood Richie Aprile (David Proval), who emerges from prison in the Jan. 30 episode and instantly aggravates Tony's agita. Again our antihero inspires abhorrence and sympathy. How can you hate a crime kingpin who admits he's "powerless" to control his teen daughter?
Bottom Line: Still TV's top "family" drama