Set in the Prohibition era of the 1920s Boardwalk Empire is the story of Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, the treasurer of Atlantic County, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Due to his relationships with mobsters as well as political contacts, the Federal Government start to take an interest in him. His lavish lifestyle seems at odds with his position, and as well as his connections, there is prolific bootlegging in the area. Written by
Martin Scorsese encouraged improvisation on set during the filming of his pilot episode, something that is typical of his directing style, but very rare on scripted television. See more »
Both Western Electric and Automatic Electric candlestick telephones are shown. These were competing manufacturing companies that would not be seen in the same geographical area. The "Bell System" would use only Western Electric telephones connected to their telephone lines. Independent telephone companies would use Automatic Electric and many other manufacturers telephones connected to their telephone lines. See more »
Great pilot for a show that may run for many years.
Boardwalk Empire is a period piece set in Atlantic City at the start of prohibition. The pilot is directed by Martin Scorsese in what looks to be a very large budget, with locations and costumes all looking superb.
It focuses on Enoch 'Lucky' Thomson, played by Steve Buscemi, just as prohibition kicks in, and the start of bootlegging. Some would say a curious cast for the lead role as he is often best as a supporting character or just an out and out strange dude, but he glides through the first episode, with Scorsese choosing to show him as a man/potential gangster with a soft side, hinting at a meaner streak to come. The inevitable comparisons to Tony Soprano cannot be justified as it is just one episode and really a different kettle of fish altogether, although it is written by one of the Sopranos writers.
The supporting cast roles are all filled with established actors but with some great roles going to the younger set, notably Michael Pitt (Funny games), Stephen graham (This Is England) and Kelly MacDonald (Trainspotting) it gives a sense that it is going to run for many years as these characters develop.
As with all new series, it takes time to get the nitty gritty and give the audience a sense of belief and love for the characters. Some have said on here that the pilot is too slow, but in my opinion it moves along at a nice even pace with a great set up. The music throughout is also first class.
Time will tell if it can eclipse the dizzy heights of The Sopranos or The Wire, but judging by intent of everyone involved, it may just make the top 3!
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