"In our culture of hype, the currency of praise has been so de-valued that no one credits it, even when deserved. The truth is, The Sopranos, whether in one-hour shots, 13-hour seasonal chunks, or the 86-hour long-form marathon—however you want to take it—is one of the masterpieces of American popular culture, on a par with the first two Godfathers, Mean Streets, and GoodFellas—the classics of Mob cinema—or even European epics such as Luchino Visconti's The Leopard, Bernardo Bertolucci's Novecento, or, as the late New York Times critic Vincent Canby first claimed, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's monumental 15½-hour Berlin Alexanderplatz, all of which The Sopranos dwarfs in terms of length, if not scope. New York's Museum of Modern Art honored The Sopranos in February 2001, when the senior film curator, Laurence Kardish, showed the first two seasons, along with a couple of films that influenced the show—including a Laurel and Hardy picture, Saps at Sea. This was the first time an American dramatic series for television had been shown at the museum. Kardish calls the show "an extraordinary blend of great psychological insight and social cartography, zany as well as poignant and resonant." No less an authority than Norman Mailer recently gave The Sopranos high praise indeed when he favorably compared the depth of its characterizations to that achieved in novels."
In Vanity Fair