“The Sopranos” Impact Revisited at Lecture

Over 10 years ago, the season finale of “The Sopranos” shocked and enraged the world with its very last scene. A decade later, scholars, professors and critics are still reeling about its impact on television and culture. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, students and community members gathered in the Coykendall Science Building auditorium to hear a lecture and analysis of the critically acclaimed and widely known HBO television series, “The Sopranos.”

The event, “Gone but Never Forgotten: Revisiting The Sopranos a Decade after its Demise,” was organized by the Italian Studies program along with the department of languages, literatures and cultures, and sponsored by The Luigi and Anita Traverso Endowment for Italian Studies. The endowment was created and established in 2001 by New Paltz professor Giancarlo Traverso in memory of his family members.

Dr. Giancarlo Lombardi from the graduate center of City University of New York gave a scholarly and insightful lecture into the world of quality television before online streaming by looking into the past and through the lens of “The Sopranos.” 

“We can talk about good television, we can talk about quality television and we can talk about cult television,” Lombardi said. “But when we talk about quality television we wonder what that quality stands for, and it’s something we all enjoy watching. It’s not perfect, it’s not a work of art, but it works.” 

Although quality television, he said, is all relative, it is particularly found in storylines and format; what the story is about and how you choose to tell it. 

“The real marker of quality television is the kind of absorption the show commands from you as a viewer— it makes you stop and almost take notes,” Lombardi said, “which starts with the flawed characters of ‘The Sopranos’.”

From this show came the emergence of flawed protagonists– Walter White, Dexter and Don Draper are all characters we know and love because of their moral ambiguity. 

Through showing his audience a series of clips from all seasons of the show, Dr. Lombardi guided us through the cinematic hidden gems imbedded in the shows creation. 

From the very premise down to the color correction, “The Sopranos” is filled with symbolism, metaphors and themes that were not only enticing, but relatable to the times.