I've briefly talked about my love for the TV series, Boardwalk Empire on my Youtube channel before, especially in relation to the wonderful non-fiction book that was optioned for inspiration to create the show in the first place (Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson), but I recently picked up the blu-ray box set of the show and thus it has been on my mind again, so I thought I'd take the time today to recommend it once again for those of you who haven't given it a try yet.
Boardwalk Empire was written and created by Terrence Winters and the first episode was directed by Martin Scorsese. It is set in 1920s Atlantic City and follows the story of Nucky Thompson (Steve Bescemi), a man living well outside the law and thriving because of it.
The main premise of the show revolves around prohibition and the underworld dealings that sprung up because of it. Atlantic City was a hub of criminal activity before prohibition but became even more so during that time.
Speaking of time, never have I seen a show so dedicated to getting the correct feel for a time and place. The music, the language, the costumes, the sets. All perfect.
There is very little about the show that didn't leave me something beyond impressed.
Boardwalk Empire is dark and gritty and violent, there's no getting around it but it's done with such skill and thought that I relished almost every seedy second of it.
Of course, that's not all there is to it. There is so much heart and humanity, humour and verve. I was baffled with how much I grew to adore Steve Bescemi as the wonderful anti-hero, who at times turned out to be straight up hero. Very possibly the most complicated and nuanced character I've ever seen depicted on the small screen.
That being said, all of the characters are wholly, fleshed out entities. You never quite know what to expect but rest assured, no matter how surprising, it always feels true to the development of the characters and the show as a whole.
I personally think Boardwalk Empire did an amazing job of fictionalising a time and a place and characters that really existed. It created it's own little dramitised bubble of history while keeping the integrity of all involved.
Such a wonderful production to look into if you're at all interested in prohibition era America and want truly believable and interesting characters to watch.
Just remember not to get too attached to any one person. Who knows how long they'll last in the corruption of Atlantic City in the 20s.