Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘Boardwalk Empire’

“Boardwalk Empire” Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on September 20, 2010

Much tamer during the day

Welcome to the world of vice, gild, and music.  (And, because it’s HBO, boobs and gore too.)

This is Atlantic City in 1920, and it is a roaring good time.  Oh yes.  The roaring 20s can roar all right.

Prohibition has just started, and Atlantic City’s treasurer, Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), is looking to make a buck.  The best way to do so in dry America?  An underground booze-supplying operation.  We see him making deals with some Chicago-based Italians and laying the groundwork for an epic money-making plot.  Undoubtedly corrupt, Nucky one minute weaves fake tales of a childhood of poverty in front of the Ladies Temperance League and then, in a cigar-filled backroom, toasts with the mayor and the City Council to the skyrocketing prices Prohibition will surely create.  Surrounded by his band of thugs, one in particular stands out.  Nucky’s driver, Jimmy Darmody, is a smart young man just back from the war, seeking a better life for his family.  His jealousy is displayed and loyalty is tested when offered a job in the FBI to help nab Nucky.  Loyalty seems to carry the day when he tells Nucky, “You can’t be half a gangster anymore.”  This after carrying out a somewhat disastrous operation to get more booze for Nucky to sell.  But hey.  You gotta love a man with initiative.  But somehow, I doubt we’ve seen the end of this struggle of Jimmy’s.

Corruption aside, Nucky isn’t all bad.  He goes out of his way to help an immigrant woman struggling with money and an abusive husband.  Just who he’ll turn out to be isn’t clear from the pilot, but Steve Buscemi is fantastic as this character.  He’s riveting and utterly believable.  I just hope we learn more about who this character is and where the soft spots in his heart lie as the episodes progress.

Like I said, the roaring twenties can roar.  And this pilot is LOUD.  I think showy is the best word for it, really.  It’s a colorful world with

Jimmy with a young Al Capone

awesome big band music run by the back room boys’ clubs.  In one representative scene, a huge ballroom of partygoers count down to Prohibition in a New Years’ Eve style.  At the stroke of midnight when Prohibition officially begins, the big band plays “Taps” in mourning of John Barleycorn.  (Complete with coffin.)  A few seconds later, the jumping dance party breaks back out as high heels, flapper dresses, and feathers fly everywhere.  (This pilot also features midget boxing and a healthy dose of vaudeville.)

But at times, I felt like the showiness of the pilot slowed down the plot.  Sometimes throughout, the 72 minute episode seemed to plod along.  To be honest, it just wasn’t that interesting of an episode.  Granted, a lot of foundation was laid down for future plotlines, but this pilot was, to be perfectly frank, nothing to write home about.  This is a show that’s going to be driven by the wheeling and dealing of gangsters, so make sure you follow the dialogue.

It was a decent pilot, but to keep me watching, Boardwalk Empire simply needs to pick up the pace.

Grade: B

Posted in CJ Cregg, Reviews | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

New on Weekends this Fall

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 6, 2010

Of course, by weekends, I don’t mean Saturday. Networks gave up on Saturday programming a long time ago. I don’t think the old Friday dumping ground counts any more, though. It looks like they’re actually trying to get viewers on Fridays. I mean, the execs have Tom Selleck and Jimmy Smits going head-to-head. Plus CBS moved CSI: New York there.

Sunday has nothing new on the networks, but two highly publicized shows on HBO and AMC.

School Pride

Basics: Reality
Twist: Communities fix schools
Stars You Know: Kym Whitley (Til Death)
Creative Team: Producers Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Denise Cramsey (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition)
Timeslot: 7:00pm (Fri)
Network: NBC
Going Against: Secret Millionaire, Medium, Human Target, Smallville
Premiere: October 15

Body of Proof

Basics: Crime Drama
Twist: Female medical examiner
Stars You Know: Dana Delaney (Desperate Housewives), Windell Middlebrooks (the guy from the High Life commercials), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager, Boston Public)
Creative Team: Producer Matthew Gross (Dirty Sexy Money)
Timeslot: 8:00pm (Fri)
Network: ABC
Going Against: CSI: New York, The Good Guys, Supernatural, Dateline NBC
Premiere: TBD

Blue Bloods

Basics: Crime Drama
Twist: Crime fighting family
Stars You Know: Tom Selleck (Magnum, PI), Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, Len Cariou (Broadway)
Creative Team: Producer Fred Keller (House, 24)
Timeslot: 9:00pm (Fri)
Network: CBS
Going Against: Outlaw, 20/20
Premiere: September 24

Outlaw

Basics: Legal Drama
Twist: Attorney is a former Supreme Court Justice
Stars You Know: Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue, The West Wing)
Creative Team: Producer John Eisendrath (Alias, Felicity)
Timeslot: 9:00pm (Fri)
Network: NBC
Going Against: Blue Bloods, 20/20
Premiere: September 15 (special day)

Boardwalk Empire

Basics: Historical Crime Drama
Twist: 1920s gangsters in Atlantic City
Stars You Know: Steve Buscemi (The Sopranos), Michael K. Williams (The Wire)
Creative Team: Director/Producer Martin Scorsese, Producer Mark Wahlberg, Produce Terence Winter (The Sopranos)
Timeslot: 8:00pm (Sun)
Network: HBO
Going Against: Dexter, Desperate Housewives, Sunday Night Football, Family Guy, Undercover Boss
Premiere: September 19

The Walking Dead

Basics: Horror Drama
Twist: Zombies on television
Stars You Know: Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually), Jon Bernthal (The Pacific), Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break)
Creative Team: Producer Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption), Producer Charles Eglee (Dexter, The Shield)
Timeslot: 9:00pm (Sun)
Network: AMC
Going Against: Brothers & Sisters, CSI: Miami, Sunday Night Football
Premiere: October 31 (six episodes only)

Posted in Mr. Feeny, Previews | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »