The highly anticipated Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark has earned positive reviews so far, but how does the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score compare to the original series? The Sopranos is widely viewed as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, with many placing it definitively in the number one spot. That’s a lot to live up to, even for a prequel written by original Sopranos creator David Chase and starring an incredible ensemble cast.
As one of the most influential series of the 21st century, The Sopranos casts a long shadow over any and all associated properties, including The Many Saints of Newark. Tony Soprano’s mob story captivated audiences from the start, delivering tension, emotion, and plenty of big twists to keep viewers on their toes. The prequel film focuses on Tony’s early years, decades before The Sopranos. While Chase still penned the script and frequent Sopranos director Alan Taylor returned to helm the project, many have wondered how it would stack up against the original HBO classic.
Going off The Many Saints of Newark’s Rotten Tomatoes score, it looks like the movie is a respectable follow-up to The Sopranos, but not quite in the same league. The prequel film currently holds a 77% fresh rating on the review aggregator, solid but not quite on par with the original series. By comparison, The Sopranos has better scores, boasting 98% for season 1, 94% percent for season 2, 100% percent for season 3, 91% percent for season 4, 92% percent for season 5, 89% percent for season 6 part I, and 84% percent for season 6 part II. Obviously, online review aggregation was less of a factor when The Sopranos was airing, and movies and shows are very different mediums. However, it’s still interesting to see how the two compare on RT.
Given how much pressure has been put on The Many Saints of Newark to deliver a Sopranos prequel worthy of the name, a 77% rating on Rotten Tomatoes is honestly pretty strong. Many critics have praised Michael Gandolfini’s performance as Tony Soprano, as well as the 1960s/1970s setting and the various connections to the original show. It may not be a whole new season or even the same energy as The Sopranos, but The Many Saints of Newark seems to be carving out a respectable space of its own.
Still, comparisons to The Sopranos will be inevitable for the new series, and many of them won’t be favorable. Chase himself has said that The Many Saints of Newark is best enjoyed as an independent movie rather than an addendum to the original HBO series. The Sopranos’ Rotten Tomatoes rankings are a testament to the series’ massive impact and stellar construction. While The Many Saints of Newark may be great in its own way, it was never going to be the same as its predecessor.