6. Season Three
There’s loads to like in season three, particularly surrounding Ralphie Cifaretto - a truly horrible yet often funny character (“University”, a Ralphie spotlight, is breathtaking TV) - and the increased importance of the New York mob, who’ll go on to become ever more important.
It also boasts “Pine Barrens”, a strong contender for the best episode of anything ever, and the season in general is a good showcase for Christopher, whose professional success is beset by personal problems.
Season three’s lowly position is due in large part to slightly repetitive elements. Ralphie is a great foil to Tony - but we’ve seen this before in his tangles with Junior and Richie in seasons one and two respectively. It lacks the pace of season one and the great overarching story of two.
Worse still is Meadow’s love life, which takes up far too much time. Her relationships first with Noah (an insufferable character - deliberately, but still), later with Jackie Aprile jr, are good for a few laughs but aren’t what most folks watch The Sopranos for to say the least.