Boardwalk Empire premiered on premium cable network HBO on September 19, 2010 gathered an impressive viewing record reported at 4.8 million views in the 9pm hour, “largest premiere audience of any program in over six years,” as stated by HBO. If you weren’t one of the figures, then you must have been living under a rock.
With the names of the Academy Award Winning Director Martin Scorcese and the Emmy Award Winning Writer Terence Winter, Boardwalk Empire brings a new dimension to American television. The series is based on the novel authored by the Emmy Award Winning Screenwriter Nelson Johnson Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City. Combining the works of these three geniuses, the show definitely marks a new genre for a television Boardwalk Empire n series. The debut episode also marked as the most expensive pilot episode in television history, mounting expenses at $18 million. Industry insiders estimate a budget of $65 million for the entire first season.
The plot is set in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the prohibition era, sometime in 1920. This was the period when the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcohol were banned in the United States. It was also the time when women are getting the vote, radio broadcasting was introduced and youth ruled the society.
The drama focuses on a corrupt political figure of Atlantic City Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, played by Steve Buscemi. The character is based on Enoch L. Johnson who once became New Jersey’s political boss and racketeer. Nucky is both a politician and a gangster, equally comfortable on whichever role. Because of the strategic setting that is situated near the seaboard, the town is a place for rum-runners where Nucky takes full advantage of. Meanwhile, James “Jimmy” Darmody, billed by Michael Pitt, a returnee soldier from a great war, is eager to recoup his throne in Nucky’s organization. But as he feels things aren’t quickly moving as he would have thought, he takes matters into his own hands. Making things more interested is Nucky’s relationship with the proper and conservative Margaret Schroeder (Kelly Macdonald).
Alongside Buscemi’s noteworthy role, Boardwalk Empire is truly an ensemble piece that is supported by rich array of casts and characters. Other lead stars include Kelly Macdonald as Margaret Schroeder , Anthony Laciura as Eddie Kessler, Paul Sparks as “Mickey Doyle” Kozik, Michael Shannon as Agent Nelson Van Alden, Stephen Graham as Al Capone, Vincent Piazza as Lucky Luciano, Paz de la Huerta as Lucy Danziger , Shea Whigham as Elias “Eli” Thompson, Nucky’s brother, Aleksa Palladino as Angela Darmody, Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein, Michael Kenneth Williams as Chalky White, the de facto mayor of Chickenbone Beach, and Dabney Coleman as Commodore Louis Kaestner.
Since its premiere, the show has been receiving positive reviews from the public and notable entertainment critics. Perhaps a more appropriate description of the series would be “best of the decade”. As we have seen from the debut, casting and production, Boardwalk Empire is definitely one of the greatest series to hit television programming.