How The Sopranos changed TV for ever

‘Too many characters, too many plot lines, characters who weren’t very good at their jobs, and their personal lives were a mess.’ Thus the memo to the creatives behind Hill Street Blues. ‘It was like a blueprint for what made every show successful since The Sopranos,’ Kevin Spacey giggles to Peter Biskind. ‘If the NBC executives had had their way, the road from then to now would never have been paved.’ As the quondamlead of one of that road’s biggest stones, House of Cards, Spacey can perhaps be excused his post hoc moment. Still, his big point stands. There was TV before The Sopranos and TV after The Sopranos, and

‘Good’s never going to triumph’: the makers of BBC show Industry on bad bankers

Finance in screen fiction is a realm of monsters. From Gordon Gekko in Wall Street and Patrick Bateman in American Psycho to the crazed party animals of The Wolf of Wall Street, the arena of deal-making is portrayed – particularly in America – as winner-take-all without trace of empathy or redemption. Industry – the British-made television drama that follows a group of young bankers competing on a City trading floor whose second series airs on BBC1 later this month – is a more subtle example of the genre. Its characters are not monstrous but they are all flawed, ruthlessly transactional in their dealings with each other, and frankly hard to

HBO’s The Prince should leave George alone

Last year Netflix refused to add a disclaimer to the beginning of every episode of The Crown, warning viewers that it is part fiction. HBO Max’s new cartoon The Prince, however, had no choice: the series has been sitting on the shelf so long that it was out of date before it was even broadcast, so every episode bears a warning that ‘this isn’t really the royal family. It’s like, a parody, or whatever. And certain recent events will not be reflected in this programme.’ The streaming service’s new cartoon comedy (if one can call it that) is based around an imagined child’s-eye-view of life in the palace. The protagonist

Weill’s Broadway opera is made for telly: Opera North’s Street Scene reviewed

It’s a sweltering night in Manhattan, circa 1947, and on the doorstep of a brownstone tenement three women are waiting for their menfolk to return. There’s plenty to gossip about. The Hildebrands upstairs are being evicted tomorrow, and the Buchanans are expecting a baby. And what’s the deal with Mrs Maurrant and Steve the milkman? Old Mr Kaplan reads the newspaper and denounces the bourgeoisie. A kid cadges a dime and big, kind Lippo Fiorentino arrives home from work with ice creams for everyone. At which point it becomes fairly safe to conclude that the America of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene is not the America of his Mahagonny. Forget the