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A TV Spotlight- ‘Boardwalk Empire’

September 19, 2010

It seems for TV that New Jersey is good for only two things: #1) gangsters #2)its ocean resort towns, and  Boardwalk Empire has both. Not to long ago I was having a conversation with someone about genres that you just don’t see anymore one being Westerns, and the other being Gangster era. When I say Gangster era I mean stories that take place during a specific time period, between the 1920’s and 1930’s or Prohibition era. So, when I saw the previews for Boardwalk Empire it peaked my interest.

Boardwalk Empire is based of the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson. The series was created and adapted for television by Terence Winter who is one of the series executive producers. Another executive producer and the series premiere episode director was Martin Scorsese. The series stars Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt. Buscemi plays a crooked local politician and what Pitt’s character refers to as a part-time gangster in Atlantic City. Pitt plays a war hero who is in the employment of Buscemi and his mob associates, and possible informant for the IRS. An aspect that was briefly mentioned in this first episode that I found interesting was the depiction of the IRS agents and how unfamiliar some of these guys were at this type of investigation. Because at the time the ATF was non-existent, the FBI was still a small filing department of the U.S. Department of Justice, and not what it will be or what we know it as today until after the Prohibition era.

The first episode itself serves as a basic setup for all the main players and events that will play out though the course of the series. The sets and wardrobe were top-notch, specific to the era in which the show is set, and same goes for the sound track.

The acting was solid, the story was basic, but this is only the first episode. So, if your looking for a Gangster series that is true to the era in which it’s set, but also has explicit language, sex, nudity, and violence than this is the show for you. I know I’ll be around for the next episode just to see if they can keep the quality up.

On a side note does anyone else think the only reason they (by they I mean Scorsese) cast Micheal Pitt was because they couldn’t get Leonardo DiCaprio.

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