'Boardwalk Empire' season premiere recap: 'Who Really Likes Nucky Thompson, Anyway?'

I believe in Boardwalk Empire. The first season of HBO’s ridiculously expensive Prohibition drama was a bit of a mess, but it was a sprawling, colorful, endlessly fascinating mess, featuring an overqualified cast and a few of the weirdest sequences in TV history. (Remember Agent Van Alden’s murder-by-baptism of his traitorous partner? Or any scene with Mr. Half-Face?) I’m a big fan of the HBO canon, and as I noted last seasonBoardwalk Empire carries the DNA of its forbears: The organized-crime-as-modern tragedy duet The Sopranos and The Wire, the history-class-on-acid fantasias Romeand Deadwood, even gonzo misfires like John From Cincinnati and Carnivalé.

I want the show to be as good (or, at least, as weird) as those earlier shows – to actually justify the hilariously elaborate production design. I was excited when Boardwalk’s first season ended with the implication that Nucky Thompson’s problems were just starting, since three of his closest allies – brother Eli, surrogate son Jimmy, and his mentor The Commodore -- were plotting his demise. The season premiere ran with that idea right away: We saw Chalky get attacked by the Ku Klux Klan, who are just another angry constituency in the Atlantic City schema. Read More...



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