Television: The Best Television Of 1999

1 THE SOPRANOS This HBO drama reinvented the Mafia genre with Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini, in front), a besieged, postpatriarchal, Prozac-popping capo not truly the master of his family or his Family. But the show didn't stop there. Structured less like an episodic series than a seamless suite, it redefined TV storytelling. Watch it weekly, and it's an addictive saga; watch several at a stretch, and its rich vocabulary of metaphors and motifs submerges and resurfaces with novelistic grace.

2 FREAKS AND GEEKS (NBC) Television has rarely got adolescence as hilariously, soul-crushingly right as in this bittersweet paean to Midwestern childhood...

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