TV Critic Chuck Barney talks about the impact THE SOPRANOS has had on TV…and he asked me for my take on things.
"The networks used to be so deeply afraid of offending people that what
they typically turned out was tepid and dull," Goldberg says. "’The
Sopranos’ showed that the audience is smarter and more sophisticated
than what they give them credit for. It proved that you can do a crime
show with more nuance than ‘Matlock.’"
[…]But just how "real" is television willing to get? It’s no
coincidence that most of the complex, rough-edged dramas are still
mainly the province of cable channels, which cater to more niche-type
audiences. Yes, the broadcast networks are taking more risks, but
because they’re obligated to aim for larger audiences and please
advertisers, they still tend to hew to the safe side, according to
"Just look at James Spader’s character on ‘Boston Legal.’ He started
out as a real scummy type of dirty-dealer, but he’s been softened up,
watered down and made more cuddly," he says. "Even Andy Sipowicz on
‘NYPD Blue’ started out as a despicable boozer and a bigot. But over
time, his edges were so sanded down that he became an animated
character. He might as well have been Scooby-Doo."