Any resonant work of television becomes part of a broad cultural con-
versation, and, in my own case, I benefited immeasurably from the rich
dialogue that The Sopranos has encouraged among viewers. For their
rewarding reflections (and with special thanks to those who came to
Sunday-night Sopranos fests), I offer much gratitude to Barbara Peter-
son, Bill Peterson, Kara Kirk, Doug Thomas, Ann Chisholm, Marianne
Hirsch, Leo Spitzer, Kristin Ross, Harry Harootunian, Nick Mirzoeff,
Kathleen Wilson, Nick Couldry, Louise Edwards, Noah Isenberg,
Melanie Rehak, Tom Kemper, Alison Trope, Lesley Stern, Jeffrey Min-
son, Toby Miller, Andrew Sheppard, Jeff Sconce, Cynthia Chris, Scott
Bukatman, and Chris Anderson. Chris, Nick M., Ann, and Noah also
read the manuscript and offered supportive comment. Maurice Yaco-
war graciously gave me information on his Sopranos course, one of
the—if not the—first! My own undergraduates in a University of South-
ern California Sopranos class willingly and energetically participated
in the experiment of reflecting on a television series that was still in its
first years of broadcast.
A few lines or passages here or there are adapted from my essay,
“Cable Watching: HBO, The Sopranos and Discourses of Distinction,”
published in Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting, ed. Sarah
Banet-Weiser, Cynthia Chris, and Anthony Freitas (New York Univer-
sity Press, 2007).
Special gratitude to Allen Rucker for talking to me about his Sopranos
tie-ins and to Matt Weiner for recounting his experiences as writer for
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