….Is an empty one. I’m having serious withdrawals going without my daily visits to the boardwalk. Having spent most of my evenings over the past two weeks watching back to back episodes my nights seem incomplete without it. Season three can’t come quick enough, although viewing it in one out a week intervals will be intolerable. It’s just not enough!
Boardwalk Empire fast became my favourite TV drama series, in fact it was instantaneous. I was hooked from the pilot and as a result has taken over from The Killing and This is England who previously held joint first place. It will take something incredible to replace it. And as of yet I’ve seen nothing come close.
There are so many reasons why I love Boardwalk Empire but the main one is the extensive character development.
With so many characters I thought any outside those central to the story would have little exposition, depth, or get any real attention; used simply to add weight to the story. But far from it, though not every character needs an in-depth exploration or focus, the majority of characters are heavily layered, revealing pieces of themselves slowly throughout season one, two, and hopefully further in season three. It’s character driven. You invest in even the smallest and most expendable characters, sometimes devastatingly so when suddenly they’re taken from you *sad face*. I feel strongly, have been through the entire spectrum of emotions, about every character and have become extremely attached to them, enjoying the twenty-four episode journey I’ve been on with them, watching as they evolve, disappear, appear, waver from their moral compass, and change drastically. Some have come so far they are almost unrecognisable from season one, but it’s a natural progression and their transition is smooth and effortlessly palpable. It’s incredible how much has gone into delivering such complex characters immersed in their intricate storylines.
But the show stealer who drives the series is Steve Buscemi as Enoch ‘Knucky’ Thompson. Buscemi takes lead as the shows central character and is finally given the major role he so greatly deserves. It’s the greatest performance of his career. And Buscemi is not the only one worthy of praise, with a high calibre of actors that includes Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Steven Graham, Shea Whigham, and many more. But most notably is Michael Pitt who plays James Darmody, a son-like figure to Enoch whose chequered relationship is the shows main focal point. It’s a father-son relationship challenged by greed, power, and control over the Boardwalk that sees them and the rest of BE’s characters in shocking, OMG-I-did-not-see-that-coming situations. There are so many hand-slapping-open-mouth moments that you can never fully relax. I kept thinking at any minute one of these characters I’ve come to love and am so attached to is going to get killed. But it’s not all edge-of-your-seat drama, some of the shows best moments are in the intimate scenes between characters; and I don’t just mean sex which there is a lot of in series one (this dies down in season two sadly), but in moments where characters are vulnerable with one another. These are the moments you learn most about the characters. But no character is more prominent than the boardwalk itself. It’s an incredible piece of world building that, including elaborate sets, beautifully detailed costumes and other locations, cost £12.5 million to make for the pilot episode alone. It’s something to marvel at, that instantly creates an atmosphere perfectly fitting of the 1920’s American prohibition era.
A great deal of money has gone in to the series, more so than any other HBO series. Each episode (not including the £12 million pilot) cost in excess of £3 million. There’s no doubt no expense has been spared here and the results are spectacular with incredible film quality and some of the best cinematography in television, or even film. But what do you expect when legendary film director Martin Scorsese is put in the Directors chair for the pilot episode and has since had large involvement with the series as executive producer along with Mark Wahlberg, Steven Levinson, and Tim Van Patten who also directed several of the series episodes as well as The Soprano’s. But Boardwalk Empire would be nothing without its sharp script penned by Soprano’s scriptwriter Terence Winter. There’s a vast amount of talent attached to the project and it shows. I only hope that it doesn’t suffer the same fate as Rome; a successful series that got cancelled after only two series due to high production cost. I have no idea what I’ll do or what I’ll watch when Boardwalk Empire eventually comes to an end. Is it too much to ask that it doesn’t happen in my lifetime? The expression “too much of a good thing” will never apply here.
I highly recommend you watch it. In fact I urge you to. This is a show that takes risks, and makes some seriously bold choices that you’ll either love or hate but either way you’ll be hooked.