The bbc

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

People of little interest: MI5’s view of left-wing intellectuals

If MI5 had a Cold War file on you – paper in those happy days – it didn’t mean they thought you were a spy. Nor even that you were especially interesting. Files were a means of storing and retrieving information. They could be general subject files or personal files (PFs) relating to individuals. Some PF holders were secretly investigated, but many were merely monitored – i.e. information about them was collated until it was clear there was no need for further investigation. Following their seizure of power in Russia in 1917, the avowed mission of the Soviet government was to foment worldwide revolution in order to impose communism. MI5