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The Sopranos : Complete HBO Season 2 [1999] - £23.97

The second series of The Sopranos, David Chase's ultra-cool and ultra-modern take on New Jersey gangster life, matches the brilliance of the first, although it's marginally less violent, with more emphasis given to the stories and obsessions of supporting characters. Sadly, the programme-makers were forced to throttle back on the appalling struggle between gang boss Tony Soprano and his Gorgon-like Mother Livia, the very stuff of Greek theatre, following actress Nancy Marchand's unsuccessful battle against cancer. Taking up her slack, however, is Tony's big sister Janice, a New Age victim and arrant schemer and sponger, who takes up with the twitchy, Scarface-wannabe Richie Aprile, brother of former boss Jackie, out of prison and a minor pain in Tony's ass.

Other running sub-plots include the hapless efforts by Chris (Michael Imperioli) to sell his real-life Mafia story to Hollywood, the return and treachery of Big Pussy and Tony's wife Carmela's ruthlessness in placing daughter Meadow in the right college. Even with the action so dispersed, however, James Gandofini is still toweringly dominant as Tony. The genius of his performance, and of the programme-makers, is that, despite Tony being a whoring, unscrupulous, sexist boor, a crime boss and a murderer, we somehow end up feeling and rooting for him, because he's also a family man with a bratty brood to feed, who's getting his balls busted on all sides, to say nothing of keeping the government off his back. He's the kind of crime boss we'd like to feel we would be. Tony's decent Italian-American therapist Dr Melfi's (Loraine Bracco) perverse attraction with her gangster-patient reflects our own and, in her case, causes her to lose her first series cool and turn to drink this time around.

Effortlessly multi-dimensional, funny and frightening, and devoid of the sentimentality that afflicts even great American TV like The West Wing, The Sopranos is boss of bosses in its televisual era. --David Stubbs

Customer reviews (av rating: 5.0):

Rating: 5:
as good as it gets... : The Sopranos is the best TV show I've ever seen. Reviewing this particular series should substitute for sending a full review--pending the complete box set.

The 2nd series of The Sopranos is perhaps the best. It's a close run thing between this and series 5. The horror and attraction runs full tilt through each episode as T tries to hold his genetic and extended families together. The dénouement is written from a level that causes altitude sickness compared to the nonsense passing for good TV currently. 24 can go and take a running jump and Prison Break can stay in lockup.

The Sopranos is grownup TV for adults. I'm at the end of series 6 and I saw it coming--the life never ends Mr Soprano. They will always pull you back in. It's all you know. You will never leave.

Rating: 5:
BEYOND WORDS : Season two of the award winning HBO produced series lifts off from where series one landed and brings new meaning to the word stunning,this is the most vital of dramatic tv,laughs come and go in the show but the tension remains throughout and thats a credit to a team of writers who Shakespear would certainly approve off.
Where series one started off a tad slowly,series two races along in full pelt as the 13 episodes unravel and unfold with an addictive quality.For those in the dark the show centres around tony soprano who as of series two is a capo,as in mob boss,he has his associates some of whom he trusts,some of whom he shouldnt,and then he has his family,in series two his sister janice shows up and she adds to his wife,his mum who tried to have him killed in series one,his daughter and son,and they inflict as much pressure to his existence as the mob life he lives in.Then there is his therapist who goes into hiding at first but then decides to help tony after he haunts her dreams.
I dont wish to give much away,but series two delivers twists and plenty of killings and moments fit to take the breath out of your body,as usual uncle junior is a character that steals each scene that he is in and the spisode where he is under house arrest is brilliant in that its funny and claustrophobic at times.
The arrival of richie aprile is brilliant,he is a gangster that spent ten years in prison and isnt up to speed with the modern day mobsters life so everything he does is old school and while he pledges loyalty to tony,he isnt as trustworthy as one would think,we learn more about tonys family and indeed his mob family as each character gets little segments to themselves,including tonys cousin christopher who is trying to write a screenplay and heads to a director with it,we view the return of sal who fled in series one and again he isnt the loyal servant he once was either.
The show as with series one,doesnt tidy itself up at the end of an episode but and that leaves you screaming for the next episode,and with that in mid series 3 is next on my shopping list and i have expectations higher than an eagles top hat now.

Rating: 5:
"IF ONE FAMILY DOESN'T KILL HIM, THE OTHER FAMILY WILL" : After watching the whole 13 hours of the first series in 2 days, i purchased this series. I was thrilled at how brilliant it was, and subsequently, watched the whole 12 hours....in one day! Call me sad but buy this and i'll bet you you'll do the same!

It's alot darker then the first series, there's more violence too, but that just adds to the excitment! We say good bye to one of the gang (I won't tell you who), after Tony finds a wire in his bedroom. We also see the arrival, and 'bloody' exciting departure of Richie, who also get bumped off, but no by Tony... Janice also hits the scene as Tony's sister causing havoc in the household, whilst Tony blanks his mother out of his life.

The series is very funny at times, but can be moving also. the first few episodes start off alittle slow but watch a couple and you'll not stop till it's over. The final episode it great!

Please for the sake of humanity buy this series, however if you haven't seen the first series yet, make sure you watch it before you watch this, and everything will fall into place nicley!

Rating: 5:
Sopranos - Off the Scale Again!! : Brilliant!!

James Gandolfini has a charisma that leaps off the screen in a character (Tony Soprano) that evokes sympathy as well as disgust from the viewer. The fascination of Tony Soprano (JG) is absorbing and irresistable, what's he going to do next? The tension and the need to know 'what happens next' is great - serious entertainment. J.G's acting and the writing is so good that the viewer feels they get to 'know' Tony to the point of guessing how he might react to the varied situations he faces.

Like Series one, the magic starts with the punchy theme tune and continues through the episodes, the great storylines/acting carried along with great music.


Rating: 5:
It's a Family Thing... : The Sopranos is one of HBO's greatest achievements (although I admit that I think it lost some of its momentum and spark with seasons three and four). When I first saw the show, I was hooked. I'd watch anywhere from three to four episodes a day. One of the great things about first watching this show on DVD was that I could watch any number of episodes instead of just watching one per week.

"The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season" has to be my favourite season. As much as I love the first one, this was when things were really funny, intense, dramatic and involving. The season doesn't let us down when it comes to Tony having more problems than ever before. Both in his Mafia Family and his immediate family, Tony can never get a break. His wife gives him grief while his kids keep doing things that upset him. And don't get me started on his ill mother and self-centered sister. Life isn't much better in his Mafia Family when the brother of Jackie is released from prison and is giving Tony a hard time both personally and professionally. Not to mention that his long time friend, Big P. comes back from a long hiatus when he was first suspected of turning rat to the Feds. All of this leads to one incredible and unpredictable season that showcases the show like none other.

For me, this was the most entertaining season of them all. I loved the characters, the constantly changing storylines, and the personal and business life of Tony Soprano, which is superbly balanced in this season. There's still the much appreciated humor in these episodes that were found lacking in the next two seasons. It doesn't feel like a soap opera, but a more enhanced look into the Mafia world. There's plenty of action as well as dramatic storylines that will make everybody happy for the most part.

This season comes in a set of four discs, totaling at 13 episodes. The great thing about the show is that it is presented to us in a widescreen format that is enhanced for widescreen TVs. This really makes the show that more effective because you feel like you're actually watching a movie rather than a show on cable. The picture and sound quality is great and really shows. There are some nice little extras, such as featurettes, brief previews and recaps of episodes, web-links and more.

"The Sopranos: The Complete Second Season" is a bundle of laughs, suspense, drama, action and surprises. You're always on your toes and you never know what's coming next. One thing's for sure; this is the most unpredictable season out of the four seasons (the fifth one looks pretty promising thus far). While you'll want to start with the first season if you've never seen the show before, you'll know that you will have something special to look forward to once you get to the second season. In my opinion, this is where Sopranos is flawlessly at its best. -Michael Crane

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