‘The Sopranos’ creator David Chase suggests that TV is getting dumber
David Chase, the man behind HBO’s most iconic series, The Sopranos, has suggested that “Something is dying” with respect to contemporary television.
Criticising streaming services in particular, Chase told The Times that the 25th anniversary of The Sopranos should be seen as less of a celebration and more of “a funeral” for the industry. “We’re going back to where I was,” he added, referencing the varied quality of television back when The Sopranos debuted in 1999, “They’re going to have commercials [on streamers like Prime Video]”.
Seeing the past 25 years of television as a golden age for the industry, Chase added that much has changed in recent years that fundamentally changes how we consume media.
“We are more into multitasking,” he added, “We seem to be confused and audiences can’t keep their minds on things, so we can’t make anything that makes too much sense, takes our attention and requires an audience to focus. And as for streaming executives? It is getting worse. We’re going back to where we were”.
To highlight this, Chase explained how he recently tried to get a TV drama made about an escort yet was “told to dumb it down” by those he pitched it to.
Much has changed in the TV industry since the late 1990s, with Chase not blind to this either, adding: “Back then, the networks were in an artistic pit. A shithole. The process was repulsive. In meetings, these people would always ask to take out the one thing that made an episode worth doing. I should have quit”.
After the show came to a close in 2007, a follow-up prequel was brought to the big screen in the form of 2021’s Many Saints of Newark, yet Chae has ruled out ever returning to the world of The Sopranos again, stating, “No. The prequel was it,” in a recent interview.