Continuing the mobster theme I started last week, I bring to your attention Boardwalk Empire, which aired on HBO from 2010 to 2015. It’s a show I’ve watched several times from start to finish, and I must say writing this is making me feel like watching it again.
Boardwalk Empire centers around Nucky Thompson (the ever-brilliant Steve Buscemi), a treasurer for Atlantic County, and his rise to power during the Prohibition era.
Without further ado, here’s 10 reasons you should absolutely drop everything and watch this show if you haven’t already:
1. The pilot was directed by Martin Scorsese, and it shows. If that’s not enough to rope you in… Well first, what’s wrong with you? And second, keep watching cause you won’t regret it. Trust me.
2. It’s beautifully shot and beautifully designed. Atlantic City of the ‘20s looks amazing, and even years after having finished it, I can still remember the boardwalk perfectly.
3. It combines real, historical figures with fictional characters, and both categories have some damn good characterization and acting. Famous people you might expect to see: Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Charlie “Lucky” Luciano (the mobster, not the meme guy), Eliot Ness, and I can’t finish the list without our main guy Enoch L. Johnson, who’s the basis of Buscemi’s character Enoch Thompson. The characters created for the show are just as real and fleshed out as the real guys, but that’s something I’ll talk about in another point-
4. THE CHARACTERS. Boy there’s so much to say about them. Honestly the entire list should just be a point for a character because there is so much thought put into them and so much to say and admire and swoon over. The cast list is extensive, but it never feels hard to keep up with. There’s distinct groups the story explores, from politicians to people of the law to mobsters to regular people. Despite using the word “regular” though, they’re anything but. The likes of Margaret and Gillian and Richard and van Alden are honestly so iconic they should get a show of their own. The tangible evolution in every single person involved in Boardwalk’s story is incredible, even if some characters change for the worse.
5. The story is great. Even if mobster dramas might not be your thing, there’s political intrigue and romance and music and police investigations and family drama. It’s got a little bit of everything in there, but the stories and styles are interwoven so well you wouldn’t even want it any other way.
6. Relationship dynamics are so much better when you have so many people to watch, and they all end up somehow connected to each other. You’ve got (bro)mance with Meyer and Charlie (which is arguably the best pair of the show, no I won’t take any criticism), weird family stuff with Gillian and her son, Jimmy (Michael Pitt, who manages to be both creepy and attractive), AMAZING dynamics between Margaret and Nucky (Margaret’s growth into the strong woman she ends up being is so satisfying to watch), and that’s just to name a few. All these relationships and perceptions characters have of each other come into play when dealing with other characters or problems.
7. Michael K. Williams is in this and if you miss The Wire’s Omar as much as I do, that means you need to watch him in this. He’s SO good.
8. It’s created by Terence Winter, whom you might know as the creator of another lil’ HBO show called The Sopranos. Enough said.
9. Story-wise, there is never a dull moment. Every event, every action, every reaction, every consequence is well earned, exciting to anticipate, and super fun to watch. It’s paced in such a way that it flows nicely from intense to calm to intense to calm, and if I’m feeling poetic enough, I could compare it to the water I keep remembering as I picture the boardwalk. When it comes to the story and plot, you’re definitely in for a treat.
10. It’s like watching a really long movie. Everything is relevant, there is no time wasted on fillers, and it really draws you in. Bingeable AF.
Since it’s concluded in 2014, I think a lot of you have already watched it because it’s been so successful and packed a ton of star power. Regardless, watched or not watched, Boardwalk Empire remains an incredible show, and one you can always just pop back on your screen when you’re feeling like treating yourself.
As always, thank you for reading, and see you next time!