50 best television shows set across the United States

31 of 52

New Jersey: The Sopranos

The premise: The Sopranos helped usher in the era of peak TV, acting as one of the trailblazers in the genre that transformed television into a  more cinematic and meaningful experience. James Gandolfini played the boss of a crime family that finds himself grappling with a midlife existential crisis. He seeks the help of a professional psychiatrist and begins unpacking years and years of emotional baggage.

Meanwhile, he continues to grow his “family’s” business, becoming more and more powerful and violent as his empire expands. He also acts as the head of an actual, nuclear family, and has to sort out all sorts of familial dysfunction with his wife and two children.

The setting: New Jersey informs the identities of many of the characters on the show. They often feud with neighboring families in New York City, and Tony ran his New Jersey branch like a pretty tight ship.

The most New Jersey thing about it: Most of the show was shot in New Jersey, and some of the most famous locations in the series are actual places. The infamous Bada Bing club, from which Tony did most of the daily operations, is an actual strip club on Route 17 in Lodi, New Jersey. It’s called Satin Dolls, and was a working and functioning endeavor before the show ever came along.