Back in 1997, then-up-and-coming actor Michael Imperioli was mulling two work offers: a cable TV show pilot and a small role in a Woody Allen film.

The script for the TV show didn’t seem so special to him. On the other hand, he had long admired Allen. He couldn’t do both and was leaning toward doing the film.

But, he says, that would have been “the dumbest mistake” of his life. The reason was simple: The TV show was “The Sopranos,” which this year is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

This undated image released by HBO shows the cast of the hit series,
This undated image released by HBO shows the cast of the hit series, “The Sopranos,” from left, Tony Sirico, Steve Van Zandt, James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli and Vincent Pastore. (Anthony Neste/HBO via AP)

The six-season show would win 21 Emmys and become the first cable series ever to win the Emmy for outstanding drama series. It also earned Imperioli an acting Emmy in 2004.

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