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Why Mike Fleiss Is Rewatching ‘The Sopranos’

If you’ve ever wondered what TV producer Mike Fleiss has been bingeing lately, here’s the tea — he’s decided to revisit a smash-hit scripted New Jersey-based drama from the turn of the millennium. 

“What have I been watching? The Sopranos,” Fleiss admits. “It feels more real than any other scripted show, or any other reality show for that matter.” 

The show, which premiered on Jan. 10, 1999, and starred the late James Gandolfini, had a significant impact on pop culture and the television industry, influencing many of the small-screen dramas that followed. Rewatching allows fans to appreciate the elements that made it a trendsetter in narrative complexity and character depth. It’s a perfect time to revisit the landmark HBO series, especially since it just turned 25. 

Six seasons and 21 Emmy wins later, The Sopranos is still garnering critical acclaim and repeat viewings from fans like Mike Fleiss, who can’t get enough of its brilliant writing and concepts.

For Fleiss, whose name is synonymous with concocting addictive reality programming, the appeal of rewatching The Sopranos stems from its mastery of nuanced, naturalistic character-driven storytelling.

Indeed, The Sopranos was a watershed moment for entertainment, proving that long-form, cinematic storytelling could flourish on television. Creator David Chase’s magnum opus chronicled the complicated professional and personal realities of Tony Soprano, a family man who just happened to be a ruthless New Jersey mob boss.

What set the series apart was its deft exploration of morally ambiguous protagonists, pitch-black humor woven seamlessly with graphic violence, and a stark verisimilitude brought to life by perhaps the greatest assemblage of actors ever on one show. For Fleiss, it’s a master class in character immersion.

Even late-night host Seth Meyers gushed about his appreciation for the characters on The Sopranos when he had Chase on as a guest in January.

“Olivia was every writer’s favorite,” Chase said on Late Night With Seth Meyers. “And then, after she was gone, it became Junior. And I mean, everybody was great, but Junior had something going for him — and Paulie, you know.”

Mike Fleiss is also a huge fan of the character Junior and retweeted a birthday message on X, formerly known as Twitter, for Dominic Chianese, the actor who played Junior. 

In honor of its 25th anniversary, HBO released never-before-seen footage from the groundbreaking show on the streaming service Max, and a new TikTok page offers 25-second episode recaps.

Mike Fleiss, a seasoned producer in his own right, obviously has good taste when it comes to TV.

“It’s flawless,” Fleiss says of The Sopranos.