When it comes to TV shows I used to choose quantity over quality for some part of my teenhood. A great part of my teenhood. All my teenhood…
I’ve downloaded nauseating amounts of Friends and Desperate Housewives, stuck for the whole 8 seasons of Dexter, witnessing a promising start and a sad demise, mildly laughed at Scrubs, shuddered with laughter at Black Books and guffawed at Shameless UK, tasted a bit of Suits, but spat it right back out, worshipped Veronica Mars and wanted everything she had (from eye shadow to dark humor), drooled at The Good Wife’s outfits, rooted for Michael Bloom in Arrested Development, sighed at The New Adventures of Old Christine (and secretly hoped I’ll never be in her shoes), hummed along all the intros to A Game of Thrones, got sucked in by Hannibal’s mind games, learnt a few tricks from Lie to Me, threw gave up on The Walking Dead, chuckled at the pseudo-family friendly Modern Family, countlessly rolled my eyes at Grey’s Anatomy’s plot twists (Callie in a coma with the surgeons signing around her did it for me!), empathized with the bad guy in Breaking Bad, got into an internet search frenzy after Lost’s grand finale, got crushed by Marissa’s death in the O.C, grew up with Rory from the Gilmore Girls, picked up British slang from Skins UK, feasted my eyeballs on The Tudors, felt like going insane watching Wilfred and felt (oddly) empowered by Nancy, the recent widow who starts selling pot in Weeds. Finally, the cherry on the icing on the cake, I was thrilled and in awe of Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire since the first season to the recent last one.
Set in the Atlantic City of the Prohibition, Boardwalk Empire follows the life of Nucky Thompson, treasurer, politician, bootlegger, occasionally undercover philanthropist and romantic. This powerful drama delivers 5 exquisite seasons that are flawless from the beginning to the very end. Unlike other shows debuting strongly, Boardwalk did not flicker and die out midway. Actually, I felt the last season was impressively strong, with emotional flashbacks that helped build up the story and gave so much flavor to a few particular characters.
To me, each episode resembles a 6 months-work’s movie: the music, the costumes, the hues, the character’s acting and the camera angles create the perfect blend both audibly and visually. I feel that you could hit pause at any given time during any episode and you got yourself a painting.
I already had a soft spot for Buscemi (Ghost World, In the Soup, Paris je t’aime), and Boardwalk Empire only helped a crush develop into deep admiration both for the outstanding performances of the main characters and for the brilliancy of the producers and writers.
Of course, the pluck to write off one of your show’s most loved characters is not to be overlooked either. This is what kept the show beautiful and fresh (besides Mr. Thompson’s bright red carnation that decorated his pocket at all times): introducing new characters without the viewer actually noticing it and never lingering on one in particular for too long. However, we did notice when main-character-universally-liked-`hero Jimmy Darmody was shot dead in the middle of a deserted field. I remember finding myself on the edge of the couch, waiting for the entire scene to prove out to be someone’s dream or vision.
Boardwalk Empire exploits the story of gangsters, of Atlantic City, Chicago and New York of the 20s and 30s, delivering perfection to the small screen. There is incest and adultery, bribe and guns, seduction and pedophilia, the everlasting urge to get ahead in life, the cowards and the ambitious, the givers and the takers. Predictably enough, Boardwalk Empire didn’t have heaps of fans tuning in each Sunday evening to catch up with Nucky’s adventures in the bootlegging world. Perhaps this brings a little extra charm to this TV show that was definitely not created for the masses, but for those who value classic cinematography, classic shots, classic acting, classic flash backs tailored so finely it’s hard to believe it’s not young Buscemi playing Thompson and that maybe, just maybe the director has a time machine in his basement.