How Jamie-Lynn Sigler Really Felt The First Time She Watched The Sopranos

In more ways than one, "The Sopranos" paved the way for a new style of shows. But the flagship HBO show about a New Jersey Italian-American mobster with panic disorder and his family hasn't been relegated to the status of outdated pioneer that has run its course. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, viewership of the seminal show, which premiered in 1999 and ran through 2007, rose nearly 180% on HBO's streaming service, GQ reported in May 2020. In fact, "The Sopranos" was the third most-watched show of that period, behind only the much more current "Westworld" and "Game of Thrones," the report detailed.

While "The Sopranos" is in the midst of a revival, so to speak, the show took the country by storm as soon as it came out, turning the lives of its relatively unknown actors upside-down. Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who portrayed James Gandolfini's onscreen daughter, Meadow Soprano, had never done anything but musicals when she was tapped to star in the hit show, she said on "Talking Sopranos" in May 2020. 

Siegler, then 16, knew nothing about the show, except that the producers were looking for an "Italian-looking girl." "I figured because of the title that maybe it was musical and that I could pass for Italian, so I went in," Sigler, who is of Jewish and Cuban descent (via Deadline), told Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa. Even though Sigler's life was never the same after it, she never watched "The Sopranos" — that is, until the pandemic hit.

Watching The Sopranos was 'bittersweet'

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, like many of us, was hit by "The Sopranos" bug when COVID-19 saw us confined to our homes for most of 2020. For Sigler, lockdown meant a whole different thing, as she was still adapting to a new home. At the time, Sigler had just moved with her husband, baseball player Cutter Dykstra, and their two sons from California to Austin, Texas, so everything was new, she told People. Sigler saw it as the perfect opportunity to revisit her past. "I started watching 'Sopranos' for the very first time," she said. "It was bittersweet. This business can be such a grind. It's always, 'What's next?' It was nice to take a step back and appreciate."

"The Sopranos" is often hailed as the best show in TV history, including by the Writer's Guild of America and TV Guide, and Sigler is eternally grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of it. "If nothing else, I worked with the best of the best!" she told People. Even though "The Sopranos" has been done for nearly 15 years, Sigler still gets stopped by fans every once in a while — and she doesn't mind it. "It's a double-edged sword sometimes in this business because you feel like you can't get away, but when you ever get to have an opportunity to be part of something so iconic, it's pretty awesome," she said on "Harry" in 2016.