by Kevin Coupe

Twenty years ago tonight, HBO premiered the first episode of “The Sopranos,” which is generally assessed as being not just one of the greatest TV series ever made, but also the series that essentially ushered in our modern era of exceptional and often unconventional television programming.

Some of how television has changed can be ascribed to technology - after all, when “The Sopranos” began, there were no streaming services, no such thing as binge-watching; you had to wait until Sunday night for a new episode, and then you talked about the travails of this upwardly mobile and stressed-out mob family with your friends and family the next morning.

But even more important, “The Sopranos” was an extraordinary piece of art and an example of how popular culture can transcend the mundane and become ambitious, complex, thoughtful and groundbreaking. (And even maddening, as debate about the final moments of “The Sopranos” final episode persists, even all these years later.)

There is a line from “The Sopranos,” written by its creator, David Chase, and uttered by Tony Soprano (the incomparable James Gandolfini, who died in 2013), that strikes me as worth mentioning here, because it sums up the kind of forward-thinking attitude that business leaders need to bring to their work.

“‘Remember when,’” he said to some of his mob buddies, “is the lowest form of conversation.”

And that’s my Eye-Opener. Bada Bing, Bada Boom.