August 21, 2011 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Having never watched The Sopranos, can I skip the first season and be able to watch the rest without feeling lost?

I've heard my friends endlessly raving over the Sopranos but I've never watched it before. So, I have now borrowed the entire DVD box-set and I watched the first 2 episodes of the first season. OMG, they were incredibly BORING.

Wondering if it's just me, I quickly scanned some reviews like televisionwithoutpity.com, and noticed that most of the first season is poorly rated, but apparently it starts getting good in the last couple of episodes season 1, then stays good from then on.

So, my questions are:
a) do you agree? Does season 1 really suck?
b) how much can I skip ahead without getting lost? must I really watch the first ten shitty hours of the show in order to get everything else?
posted by wutangclan to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The first season is indispensable (and genuinely doesn't suck). Give it a few more episodes before you give up.
posted by gerryblog at 4:41 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]

It's been a while, but I seem to remember it picked up big time around episode 4 (of season 1). I wouldn't skip any of it, but that's just me.

(For what it's worth, I'm having the same problem with The Wire. I've had all 5 seasons sitting, waiting to be watched for months, but I can't get through the first episode. The OMG CONTINUITY nerd in me won't let me skip ahead. ha.)
posted by phunniemee at 4:43 PM on August 21, 2011

Yes, for sure.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:43 PM on August 21, 2011

If you don't like the first two episodes it's probably time to move on and admit this series isn't for you. While the series matures it doesn't stray far from it's roots.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:44 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

IMHO the first and second seasons were the best, and I agree that you really do need to watch the first to properly watch the rest.

"So what, no fuckin' ziti now?"
posted by sciencejock at 4:45 PM on August 21, 2011 [5 favorites]

oh yeah. you need to watch the first season. so much is started there, so much of the foundation set.
posted by nadawi at 4:48 PM on August 21, 2011

Since much of the show revolves around Tony's mental health and his relationship with Dr. Melfi, I don't see how you could skip it.
posted by Lorin at 4:52 PM on August 21, 2011

phunniemee, the late bloomer situation is even more pronounced in The Wire. By episode six or so the series will own you.

With the Sopranos, while I remember liking the show from the starting bell, you have to remember that the first episode was shot separately (about a year before the rest). So you're basically looking at a pilot and then a second pilot.

Really, keep going, you'll be glad you did.
posted by gerryblog at 4:57 PM on August 21, 2011

First two seasons of the show are the best and it loses its way thereafter. You'd be nuts to skip it.
posted by xmutex at 4:59 PM on August 21, 2011

Yeah, not to pile on but the first season is really critical to understanding the show, and builds on itself. The stuff with his mother is really important to understanding a lot of Tony's character. It is actually my favorite season of the show. You really should watch the whole first season. cjorgensen is also correct in saying this: While the series matures it doesn't stray far from it's roots.
posted by gudrun at 5:01 PM on August 21, 2011

The show can still be very enjoyable even without knowing all the details of how the characters got to where they were. I think the season I saw most of first was season 3, and at the same time I saw a couple ones from season 6 as they aired. I didn't see any season 1 episodes until I'd already seen a bunch of other stuff in haphazard order, and then I found it interesting to see where the show came from, how much younger everyone looked, etc. Actually I don't even think I ever saw all of season 1, but I still really got into the show for a while.
posted by wondermouse at 5:05 PM on August 21, 2011

First two seasons of the show are the best and it loses its way thereafter. You'd be nuts to skip it.

Call me crazy, but I loved every season.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:12 PM on August 21, 2011

I suppose you could, but I'll nth the fact that the first season really sets up the rest of the show. You could probably follow it if you skipped straight to season two, but if you don't like the first season, there's a pretty strong chance the show's just not for you. It's not like The Wire, where the first season and a half is like a good-but-not-great (and sometimes boring) cop drama, and it doesn't become THE WIRE until the last three or four episodes of season two.

FWIW, while I like the whole show, the first season has always been my favorite.
posted by breakin' the law at 5:27 PM on August 21, 2011

Well, I'd guess the first half of the second season of The Wire is like a good-but-not-great drama about a port, but my point still holds...
posted by breakin' the law at 5:28 PM on August 21, 2011

If you are going to bother watching The Sopranos then watch all of them. The Sopranos is so much more than just the plot and you will lose a feel for all of the 1st season characterization.
posted by dgeiser13 at 6:04 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Sopranos purports to be the story of a NJ crime family of that name, but it is also the story of a psychiatrist learning about psychopathy, and coming to terms with limits of psychiatric practice and responsibility. Watch the first season, to learn exactly where Dr. Melfi starts in her journey, and to then later understand her development and the worth of conclusions she draws.
posted by paulsc at 6:27 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sopranos die-hard here. You must absolutely watch the first season. So much is established that is referenced later in the series. If you're gonna watch it, then watch it. I suppose, though, if you don't really want to watch the series but get the gist, watch this instead.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 6:56 PM on August 21, 2011

While I strongly disagree that season 1 is the best (c'mon, season 3? season 5? "Long Term Parking" is better than any single episode of The Wire, hands down), it is indispensable to understand the inner mechanisms of Tony Soprano.

That said, if you want a show where stuff happens immediately and constantly, watch The Wire. The Wire is a study in urban development and sociology, marking the traffic of large groups of people. Sopranos is a study in psychology and very specific personality types, marking the traffic of individuals orbiting around each other and sometimes colliding. There are whole seasons where basically nothing happens plot-wise, and very little mob violence occurs, but where people change imperceptibly but irrevocably. Mad Men is very similar in this respect and owes a lot to Sopranos. If you think Mad Men is boring but you love, say, Breaking Bad, then Sopranos is probably not for you.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:12 PM on August 21, 2011

Response by poster: okay, okay...I'm gonna pop a coupla uppers and try watching it again. I hold you all liable if I die of boredem :-)
posted by wutangclan at 9:45 PM on August 21, 2011

The first season is brilliant, and one of the two or three best of the entire series (the odd-numbered seasons are all the strongest, for some reason). If you don't like it, my feeling is that the series itself is just not your cup of tea.
posted by scody at 10:16 PM on August 21, 2011

Season One is indispensable.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 6:15 AM on August 22, 2011

I have no idea how you could be bored. First season is arguably the best one.
posted by agregoli at 8:16 AM on August 22, 2011

I'm not a Sopranos fan -- it's okay, but not worth the hype despite great performances -- but would say that the 1st season is very important. It's not the best (and I agree there are some slow moments), but it sets the stage for much to come.

If you don't like it by the end of the 1st season, there's no point in continuing.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:53 AM on August 22, 2011

Response by poster: Started again from the beginning. I'm hook.
posted by wutangclan at 7:53 PM on August 28, 2011

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