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'The Sopranos' creator David Chase says the golden age of TV is over as writers like him are told to 'dumb it down'

'The Sopranos' creator David Chase says the golden age of TV is over as writers like him are told to 'dumb it down'
  • "The Sopranos" celebrated the 25th anniversary of its 1999 premiere on HBO.

  • The show received widespread critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including 21 Emmys.

  • Creator David Chase now warns that intelligent TV writing faces an existential threat.

Twenty-five years ago, the first episode of "The Sopranos" premiered on HBO, marking the beginning of a six-season run repeatedly dubbed one of the greatest television series ever.

Now, the show's creator, David Chase, warns that the golden age of TV — that has seen series such as "The Wire" and "Breaking Bad" — may be over as smart shows face an existential threat.

In an interview with The Times, Chase provided a somber reflection on the 25th anniversary of his show, describing the era as a "25-year blip" and lamenting that he feels "increasingly bad" for talented people today.

"The Sopranos" creator expressed concerns about how streaming platforms are reverting to the old days when cable television ran ads that interfered with an episode. One of HBO's unique offerings as a subscription service at the time was allowing hourlong episodes of "The Sopranos" to run ad-free, giving a television show a cinematic quality.

"We're going back to where I was," Chase told The Times. "They're going to have commercials."

He added that he has also been told, as a writer, to "dumb it down."

As he was working on a script with screenwriter Hanna Fiddell about a prostitute forced into witness protection, Chase told The Times that he was told "the unfortunate truth" that the script was too complicated.

"Who is this all really for?" Chase said in the interview with The Times. "I guess the stockholders?"

"The Sopranos" began airing in 1999 and has since won numerous accolades, including 21 Primetime Emmy awards and five Golden Globe Awards.

But the show wasn't an instant hit with TV executives before finding a home at HBO.

Chase and Brad Grey, who was the show's producer at the time, pitched "The Sopranos" to several networks, including Fox. However, Fox eventually passed on the script, leaving the show in "development hell," Chase said in a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair.

"When I wrote the pilot script for Fox, I had a feeling that this whole thing wasn't going to happen. I knew what network television is like, and this didn't have that feeling," Chase told Vanity Fair. "Sure enough, they passed."

Chase said in the interview with The Times that, after 25 years, none of the people who turned down "The Sopranos" apologized for overlooking the show.

"Never," Chase said. "That's typical Hollywood. They never take responsibility, but load responsibility on to the talent and bury them in guilt for not 'getting' it."

Read the original article on Business Insider