The Sopranos

Nothing would’ve been more satisfying than to trot out a list that strayed from the pack and didn’t end with The Sopranos; in that sense, this was a tough decision. Otherwise, though, my mind has been made up since Tony Soprano’s first panic attack. David Chase’s masterpiece meditation on the modern male (if you viewed it as just a “mobster show,” well then … good for you) brought us an iconoclastic — and, of course, iconic — protagonist whose complexity under the guise of simplicity summed up what made The Sopranos such riveting television. Two and a half years after that most polarizing of conclusions (it symbolized that we the viewers were being whacked, I tell ya!!), the decade’s best series is still the best thing on TV — it just now requires a DVD player.