‘Sopranos’ stars Michael Imperioli, Steve Schirripa, and the rewatch podcast boom

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“The Sopranos” stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa. Credit: Craig Blankenhorn, HBO.

The final episode of “The Sopranos” aired more than a decade ago, but many are discovering — or re-discovering HBO’s hit series — while stuck in quarantine. The network recently made the show free to stream for the first time. Among those re-watching are actors Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti — Tony Soprano’s hothead nephew and protégé — and Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby Bacala, the not-so-bright lunky footsoldier in Tony’s crew.

The two are breaking down all 86 episodes in a new podcast called “Talking Sopranos” —and sharing behind the scenes stories.

“We haven't seen it in 20 years,” says Schirripa, who watches each TV episode twice before taping the podcast breakdown. It’s bittersweet, they say, especially in the wake of actor Jim Gandolfini’s passing.

The idea for the podcast predates the pandemic. Imperioli and Schirripa were approached by producers six months ago.

“At first we were kind of like, ‘it doesn't sound so good to me,’” says Schirripa. “But then I saw that there were a lot of podcasts out there by people that had nothing to do with the show. I said, ‘What does this guy know? You know, he's a fan. He doesn't know anything about the show. He doesn't know what went on. These are second and third hand stories that he's hearing.’”

So they decided to go forward. Then, the pandemic hit.

“Both of us said, ‘Is this really important? The world is falling apart and does this TV show mean anything?’ And we started hearing from fans and people on social media, and we decided to go ahead with it.”

Imperioli says a big reason for doing the podcast was to satiate the appetite of a huge new audience of fans who were too young to watch it the first go-around.

Why the ongoing interest?

“Not to be flippant or arrogant, but it's just really, really, really good,” says Imperioli.

Credits

Guests:
Michael Imperioli - HBO’s The Sopranos and co-hosts of the podcast “Talking Sopranos”, Steve Schirripa - HBO’s The Sopranos and co-hosts of the podcast “Talking Sopranos”

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes