It’s fitting that the epic saga of larger-than-life mob boss Tony Soprano is packaged in a 56-page, black linen album that weighs in at 10 pounds.
The grandiosity of the HBO show is reflected in “The Sopranos: The Complete Series,” an impressively definitive anthology that comes with the equally substantial price tag of $399.99. As there are no plans for a “Sopranos” movie, this might be a fair price to fans eager for a taste of new material.
The DVD set, released Tuesday, offers an unprecedented compendium of all 86 re-mastered episodes, along with more than three hours of new bonus features. Seventeen months after the series abruptly cut to black, show creator David Chase discusses the box set’s release.
AP: Have you had a chance to review the old episodes?
Chase: No. I don’t really watch the old episodes. (When I did) either I would think that it was pure genius, or I’d start to think, “You know what? We shouldn’t have done that.” Or, “That should have been faster.” Or, “That line wasn’t funny enough.” Or, “We should have cut to a close-up.” That’s just what happens.
AP: You’ve gotten such effusive praise over the years. Vanity Fair called it “the greatest show in TV history.” Is that tough, to have this type of acclaim heaped upon something that you’ve created?
Chase: It’s very pleasant. Let me tell you. It’s really like a warm bath. But, maybe it’s just my nature ... I think it’s the nature of a lot of creative artists, that, it’s all about the process. The process is never ending if you’ve actually been involved in the making of it. You always think, “What could have been better? What should have been different?”
AP: Or, who should have been clipped, who shouldn’t have been clipped?
Chase: No. Everyone who was clipped should have been clipped (laughs).
AP: Tony’s this lovable guy, yet he’s still a complete sociopath. He did these horrible things — to the people he loved, to everybody — yet we all were rooting for him the whole time.
Chase: Well, maybe there was another reason why you were rooting for him. Tony’s reactions may have been overly severe, and his methods of dealing with (people) may have been cruel, sadistic and brutal, but it may have been that often, what Tony was responding to in that person’s behavior was correct, that he was right about what was going on.
AP: What is your next project?
Chase: I’m supposed to be writing a feature that I would write and direct and produce, for Paramount. And I’m supposed to be starting to write next week but instead, I’m here doing this because this is easier than writing. There’s one thing I’d like to say, if I could — and it hearkens back to something you asked me about Tony being such a bad guy.
AP: I think I called him a sociopath.
Chase: He is a sociopath. No doubt about it. But, a lot of people said, “You know, we thought that maybe there was a chance that Tony Soprano would turn his life around and in the end there would be some morality to it. And that in the end he would transcend his evilness.” And this, to me, is amazing because you wonder, “Do people pay attention to the story?” In Season One, the guy’s mother tried to murder him. So, he, of all people, is supposed to rise above that and be happier than he was before that happened? It doesn’t make any sense at all. He never got over that.