In a candid interview with The Times UK, David Chase, the mastermind behind the groundbreaking series "The Sopranos," shared his critical views on the current state of television, particularly streaming services. As we mark the 25th anniversary of "The Sopranos," a show that revolutionized TV storytelling, Chase expressed concern that the industry is regressing to a less sophisticated era, akin to the pre-Sopranos landscape.
Chase, an Emmy-winning writer-producer, noted a worrying trend in the medium, with streaming platforms like Prime Video reintroducing commercials and diluting content quality. He recounted his recent experience where he was advised to simplify a project about a high-end escort, highlighting a shift towards less challenging and thought-provoking content.
According to Chase, this trend reflects a broader societal shift towards multitasking and reduced attention spans, leading to content that doesn't demand much from its audience.
TV's Golden Era Fades
The creator of "The Sopranos" lamented that the golden era of television, which followed the success of his show, seems to be fading.
He referred to this period as a "25-year blip," emphasizing that his concerns extend beyond his own work to the broader industry and the many talented creators within it. Chase feels a sense of empathy for these artists who are now navigating an increasingly challenging landscape.
Interestingly, when presented with HBO's "Succession" as an example of current sophisticated TV storytelling, Chase pointed out that it was greenlit years ago, implying that such quality is becoming rarer. He described the current state of television as "a funeral" for what was once a thriving creative field.
Chase also reflected on his pre-Sopranos days in broadcast TV, describing it as an "artistic pit" and a "repulsive" process dominated by network executives who often undermined creative integrity. His groundbreaking work with "The Sopranos" not only changed television but also served as a vindication against the networks' "decades of stupidity and greed." While Chase's perspective might seem bleak, it's worth noting that shows like FX's "Reservation Dogs," "The Bear," HBO's "White Lotus," Apple's "Severance," and Disney+'s "Andor" continue to push the boundaries of TV storytelling. These examples suggest that, despite challenges, the industry still has room for sophisticated and engaging content.